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Typologies of Tourist Behaviour

Wickens (1994) (in Seaton et al., 1994)
Relatively few writers have attempted to produce typologies of tourists
visiting a particular destination. One recent exception to this situation
is that produced by Wickens in 1994 in relation to a resort on the
Chalkidiki peninsula in Greece. She based her research on Cohen’s
typology of 1972, and produced a five-group typology:
* Cultural heritage tourists are interested in the natural beauty, history
and culture of Greece. They long to experience the ‘traditional Greek
village life’ portrayed in the holiday brochures. They use the seaside resort
as a base from which to tour the attractions in the region. This
group tends to be made up of family groups and older holiday-makers.
* Ravers are attracted by the nightlife and the cheapness and availability
of alcohol. They also enjoy the sun and the beach. They tend to
swim and sunbathe in the day, and go ‘clubbing’ at night. These are
mostly young males.
* ‘Shirley Valentines’ are women on holiday with other women who
hope for romance and sexual encounters with Greek men. For these
women their holiday represents an opportunity to get away from
their everyday lives of domesticity.
* ‘Heliolatrous’ tourists are sun-worshippers whose main aim is to get
a tan. They spend much of their holiday in the open air.
* ‘Lord Byrons’ tend to return year after year to the same destination
and even the same hotel or accommodation unit. They are in love
with Greece, particularly its perceived relaxed, ‘laid back’ lifestyle.
They want to be treated as a guest not as a tourist. They are after
nostalgia and lament the impact of mass tourism on their favourite
destination.
We have just looked at a brief selection of typologies which have
been produced over the past thirty-five or so years. Many others
have been omitted because of limitations of space. However, we
have tried to offer a range of influential and less well-known typologies
from authors of different nationalities. It is now time to see
if we can identify some common threads in those which we have
discussed.

A comparison of typologies
Most of the typologies attempt to group tourists together on the basis
of their preference for particular vacation experiences in terms of:
* destinations
* activities while on holiday
* independent travel versus package holidays.
Some recognize that the motivations of tourists are tempered in reality
by the determinants that contribute to their choice of vacation, such
as disposable income.
A number of influential early typologies were not based on empirical
research but as we have seen, many of the recent typologists –
Perreault, Dorden and Dorden, Dalen, and American Express, for
example – have arisen out of empirical studies. In 1987 Plog attempted
to produce a typology of typologies. He wrote:
researchers may actually come up with fairly similar dimensions
but may label them differently. As it turns out, there possibly are
a very limited number of psychographic/personality dimensions
. . . These dimensions may be more clearly defined, or
combined in various ways, but they are covered by about eight
broad categories. (Plog, 1987)


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