The Youth Tourism Market: A Structural Equation Model of Determinants and Impacts of Social Interactions
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The supply of enriching tourism experiences is a crucial factor for the competitiveness of tourism destinations. Satisfying encounters among visitors and between hosts and visitors can have an important role creating rewarding and memorable tourism experiences. The youth tourism market is a very important tourism segment that is in the beginning of a long travel career. However, the literature regarding the intensity and nature of social encounters in this market is very limited. Moreover, few studies analyse the factors influencing the intensity of social encounters of visitors with hosts and other visitors during a trip and the outcomes of these encounters. This paper extends the literature in this field analysing the relationship between travel motivations, intensity of encounters and outcomes of these encounters in the youth tourism market. A questionnaire survey was carried out among the students of a Portuguese university (N = 399). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS_SEM) were used. Results reveal that the interaction of young visitors with host and other visitors during tourism trips is still low. Motivations are important determinants of these interactions, with motivations to increase knowledge being the most likely to induce interaction. Nevertheless, close interactions with visitors and contacts with residents to obtain information are the most powerful in increasing positive outcomes of interaction. Findings also remark that the intensity of interaction has more impact in increasing the positive outcomes of the interaction than in decreasing the negative ones. The paper ends with some theoretical and practical implications.
This work was financially supported by the research unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policy (project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-008540), funded by FEDER funds through COMPETE 2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI)—and by national funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.
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