KEYWORDS

tourism attractiveness, tourist motivation, tourist experience, satisfaction, revisit intention.

INTRODUCTION

The enhancement in economic growth and national income in Taiwan in recent years as well as the 2-day weekend implemented in 2001 have caused a transformation in the lifestyle of Taiwanese people. Under the increase of both national income and leisure time, Taiwanese people’s needs for leisure activities and their emphasis on health have grown; these factors have increased their intention to engage in leisure activities. Statistics from the Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Traffic and Communication indicate that the average number of trips per person increased from 4.01 in 1999 to 5.26 in 2001. Moreover, the total number of domestic trips taken by citizens increased from approximately 72.7 million to approximately 97.4 million, showing a growth rate of 34.1%. In 2007, the item reached approximately 110.2 million [1], confirming that people have gradually placed greater emphasis on arranging trips and other leisure activities.

Sports tourism comprises various outdoor adventurous activities (e.g., rafting, river trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, sea kayaking, and paragliding), and this industry has grown substantially in Taiwan. In the Investigation of Trips Taken by Citizens in 2005 [2], the Tourism Bureau showed that 9.3% of citizens who took domestic trips on weekends took them for the purpose of sports vacations. Although the figure was 2.8% lower in 2005 than that observed in 2004, the decrease was mainly caused by typhoon warnings issued on weekends, which lowered intentions to take domestic trips. Moreover, in the Investigation of Trips Taken by Citizens in 2006 [3] released by the Tourism Bureau, most citizens (61%) took trips for the reason of purely sightseeing, followed by visiting friends and families (22%) and sports vacations (7%). In summary, people who took trips for the purposes of sightseeing, resting, and vacationing increased by 5% from 2005 to 2006. These statistics show that sightseeing trips that focus on sports vacations, namely sports tourism, have become one of the popular travel activities among Taiwanese people on 2-day weekends.

Tourism attractiveness refers to the unique incentives (sightseeing value or leisure activities) of a place or event that attract tourists to pay a visit. Cheng and Chen (2007) claimed that attractiveness functions as a key factor in encouraging tourists to participate in sightseeing and leisure activities [4]. Lew (1987) indicated that the attractiveness of a tourist site includes the landscape of the destination, the participation of tourists, their memories, and the services and facilities that satisfy their needs [5]. Bigné and Andreu (2004) maintained that the unique appeal of a tourist area serves as a key factor in generating tourist visits [6]. Liu and Shih (2009) found that the attractiveness of festivals enhances tourist revisit intentions [7]. In summary, the attractiveness of a tourist site to tourists comprises the scenery, participation, memories, and both services and facilities that satisfy their needs; a combination of these factors boosts tourist revisit intentions. Huang (2002) investigated the relationship between museum attractiveness and Tourist motivation, finding that exhibitions that have an educational function (e.g., a series of science exploration camps and scientific demonstrations on the life of fireflies in summer) can attract both children and adults [8]. The first research objective of the present study was to investigate Tourist motivation and revisit intentions in the context of sports tourism from the perspective of tourism attractiveness.

According to Moutinho (2000), motivation is a state of need or a condition that drives individuals toward certain types of action that are considered likely to bring satisfaction [9]. When individuals with relatively high levels of need participate in experiential activities, they derive relatively great psychological benefits because their personal needs are satisfied; consequently, they evaluate such experiences as being more satisfactory. Shang (2009) found that when students show learning motivation toward the content of experiential education courses, they derive benefits such as joyful learning through fun teaching programs [10]. Shen, Tseng, and Hsiao (2009) determined that different tourists have distinct motivations for sightseeing, further verifying that tourist motivation influences travel experience [11]. Lin, Lin, and Zhao (2006) found that combining various types of sightseeing activities increases tourist motivation and participation intentions [12]. For example, integrating bicycle-riding and religious sightseeing activities raises tourist intentions, further increasing their participation. Chang (2008) maintained that the windsurfers’ motivation to participate influences their intention to participate [13]; in other words, the greater the motivation a windsurfer has, the greater his or her intention to participate becomes. Therefore, the second research objective of the present study was to explore tourist experiences and revisit intentions regarding sports tourism from the perspective of Tourist motivation.

Experience comprises psychological feelings and physiological sensations. Through voluntarily participating in certain activities in leisure time, individuals can acquire experiences as an intrinsic reward. Lin, Tsai, and Chiou (2007) found that by providing tourists with a unique emotional experience, bed and breakfast services influence tourist revisit intentions [14]. Shen et al. (2009) found that tourist experiences with food and beverage influence their revisit intention [11]. Sung and Lei (2009) indicated that tourist revisit intentions increase when strong perceptions (e.g., field, psychological, and self-experiences) are involved in the overall travel experience [15]. Thus, the third research objective focused on discussing tourist revisit intentions toward sports tourism from the viewpoint of tourist experience.

Scholars have investigated the field of sports tourism from various perspectives: the types of sports tourism [16], management strategies [17], development of sports tourism [15], development of the local community [18], and experiential value [19]. However, few studies have comprehensively discussed the attractiveness of the external environment, the internal participation motivation, and experiential perceptions. Therefore, the present study developed an integrative framework of revisit intentions in the context of sports tourism. The results can serve as a reference for related decision-making authorities regarding future sports tourism-related planning.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Terminology

Sports tourism

Sports tourism refers to travel activities that integrate sports with tourism. Hall (1992) defined sports tourism as a type of travel activities that involve leaving the residence or working area for non-work-related reasons; moreover, the travel itinerary includes sports playing, sports watching, or visiting sports-related facilities [20].

Tourism attractiveness

Lew (1987) indicated that the attractiveness of a tourist site consists of the landscape of the destination, the participation of tourists, their memories, as well as services and facilities that satisfy their needs [5]. Dalen (1989) investigated consumer knowledge on tourism attractiveness, indicating that product plans, advertising, and marketing strategies all function as key factors influencing the impression and attractiveness perceived by tourists [21]

Tourist motivation

Motivation refers to an internal drive that initiates and directs behavior such as interests or attitudes that reduce any perceived psychological imbalance. Motivation can stimulate individuals to initiate actions that satisfy their specific needs [22]. Crompton and Mckay (1997) noted that in tourism studies, few joyous trips are the result of a single motivation; tourist motivation can include multiple subitems. Consequently, multidimensional motivations are more in line with the actual situation [23].

Tourist experience

Driver and Tocher (1970) claimed that experience comprises psychological feelings and physiological sensations [24]. Through voluntarily participating in certain activities in leisure time, individuals can acquire experiences as an intrinsic reward. Clawson and Knetsch (1969) indicated that on-site experience is the most valuable type participants can obtain in all experiential activities [25].

Revisit intentions

Revisit intentions refer to an individual’s subjective judgement on his or her future actions or specific actions or behaviors consumers can implement regarding an attitudinal target [26]. In summary, an intention refers to the propensity of a person to take certain actions, and can be adopted to predict human behavior. Folkes (1988) claimed that an intention refers to the subjective judgements of individuals regarding the propensity of the actions they are likely to take in the future [27].

Literature review on the influence of tourism attractiveness on revisit intentions

Tourism attractiveness refers to the unique incentives (sightseeing value or leisure activities) of a place or event that attracts tourists to visit. Bigné and Andreu (2004) found that tourism attractiveness in recreational areas drives tourists to visit [6]. Chapman, Uggerslev, Carroll, Piasentin, and Jones (2005) maintained that an organization’s attractiveness enhances the work intentions of its staff [28]. Liu and Shih (2009) found that the attractiveness of festivals raises tourist revisit intentions [7]. The attractiveness of a tourist site to tourists comprises the scenery, participation, their memories, as well as services and facilities that satisfy their needs; a combination of these factors boosts tourist revisit intentions. Chou (2008) specified that the recreational appeal of a recreational area affects tourist revisit intentions [29]. On the basis of this discussion, the following hypothesis is proposed:

H1: Tourism attractiveness has a significant effect on revisit intentions.

Literature review on the influence of tourism attractiveness on tourist motivation

Huang (2002) investigated the relationship between museum attractiveness and tourist motivation, finding that exhibitions that have an educational function (e.g., a series of science exploration camps and scientific demonstrations on the life of fireflies in summer) can attract both children and adults [8]. Cheng and Chen (2007) claimed that attractiveness functions as a key factor that encourages tourists to participate in sightseeing and leisure activities [4]. Kao (2008) specified that the attractiveness derived from local festival-based activities comprises cultural activities and services as well as natural scenery and farming activities (i.e., activities related to primary industries); all these factors influence tourist participation motivation [30]. In addition, Huang and Chang (2008) verified that attractiveness influences motivation [31]. Accordingly, the following hypothesis is proposed:

H2: Tourism attractiveness has a significant effect on tourist motivation

Literature review on the influence of tourist motivation on tourist experience

According to Moutinho (2000), motivation is a state of need or a condition that drives an individual toward certain types of action that are seen as likely to bring satisfaction [9]. When subjects with relatively high levels of need participate in experiential activities, relatively higher psychological benefits are generated because personal needs are satisfied; consequently, these subjects evaluate the experience more favorably. Chang (2008) found that the internal motivation for hikers on leisure activities affects their recreational experience [32]. Shang (2009) found that when students show learning motivations for the contents of experiential education courses, they receive benefits such as joyful learning through fun teaching programs [10]. Shen et al. (2009) determined that tourists of different types exhibit distinct motivations for sightseeing, further verifying that tourist motivation influences travel experience [11]. Therefore, this study proposed the following hypothesis:

H3: Tourist motivation has a significant effect on tourist experience.

Literature review on the influence of tourist motivation on revisit intention

Lin et al. (2006) found that the combination of various types of sightseeing activity increases tourist motivation and participation intention [12]. In other words, integrating bicycle-riding and religious sightseeing activities raises tourist intention, further leading to increased participation. Pi, Kuo, and Liu (2007) determined the motivation of recreational divers in volunteering influences their intention of volunteering [33]. Wu and Liu (2008) indicated that tourist motivation in purchasing souvenirs determines their purchase intention [34]. Chang (2008) maintained that the windsurfers’ motivation to participate influences their intention to participate [13]; in other words, the greater motivation a windsurfer has, the greater his/her intention to participate becomes. Therefore, this study proposed the following hypothesis:

H4: Tourist motivation has a significant effect on revisit intention.

Literature review on the influence of tourist experience on revisit intention

Lin et al. (2007) found that by providing tourists with a unique emotional experience, bed and breakfast services influence tourist revisit intentions [14]. Shen et al. (2009) indicated that tourist experiences with food and beverages influence their revisit intentions [11]. Chang and Huang (2009) verified that the level of service experience perceived by tourists influences their future revisit intentions [35]. Sung and Lei (2009) indicated that tourist revisit intentions increase when strong perceptions (e.g., field, psychological, and self-experiences) are involved in the overall travel experience [15]. From this discussion, this study proposes the following hypothesis:

H5: Tourist experience has a significant effect on revisit intention.

METHODOLOGY

Research framework

The five hypotheses are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Research framework

Sampling methods

This study focused on researching six sports: sailing, surfing, river trekking, canoe, bungee jumping, and mountain climbing. Through convenience sampling, research participants were recruited from tourists who had participated in at least one sports tourism program involving one of the aforementioned sports. The author first explained the research project to the interviewees. After interviewee consent were obtained, an interview-based questionnaire survey was administered to the interviewees.

Questionnaire design

The questionnaire adopted in this study comprised five parts, namely tourism attractiveness, tourist motivation, tourist experience, revisit intention, and the demographic information of the interviewees.

  • Tourism attractiveness: These items adopted from Fan-Chiang (2003) [36] to evaluate attractiveness on a Likert scale
  • Tourist motivation: These items were adopted from Manfredo, Driver, and Tarrant (1996) [37] to evaluate motivation on a Likert scale.
  • Tourist experience: These items were adopted from Manfredo et al. (1996) [37] to evaluate experience on a Likert scale
  • Revisit intention: These items were adopted form Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman (1996) [38] to evaluate revisit intentions on a Likert scale.
  • Demographic information of the interviewees: This section includes demographic information such as the name, age, marital status, educational attainment, and occupation of the interviewees, as well as the types and number of specified sports they have participated in.

Data analysis

This study investigated the relationships among the tourism attractiveness, tourist experience, tourist motivation, and tourist revisit intentions in sport-tourism-based programs. Statistical analyses were conducted to test the research hypotheses, which were developed on the basis of the proposed research framework.

Descriptive statistics

This study distributed 300 questionnaires; 295 were returned (valid return rate, 98%). The results of the analysis are shown in Table 1.

First, a simple descriptive analysis was conducted on the demographic variables. Table 1 shows that regarding the occupation of the sampled participants, the largest group of participants (25.8%) worked in the service industry, followed by students (24.7%); military personnel, police, civil servants, and teachers (24.7%); manufacturing and business sectors (14.6%); and others (10.2%). In terms of sex, most of the participants were male (56.9%). Most of the interviewees (50.8%) were 21–30 years old. Regarding the type of sports they participated in, mountaineering accounted for the greatest proportion (49.2%). For educational attainment, the largest proportion of the sample (23.4%) were senior high school graduates. As for the number of times they had been participating in sports tourism, most of the interviewees (45.4%) had participated more than three times.

Table 1

Analysis of descriptive statistics

Variable ; n % Variable ; n %
Sex Male 168 56.9 Types of sports tourism Sailing 10 3.4
; Female 127 43.1 ; Surfing 25 8.5
Age (years) 21-30 150 50.8 ; River trekking 22 7.5
; 31-40 61 20.7 ; Canoeing 17 5.8
; 41-50 52 17.6 ; Bungee jump 14 4.7
; Above 51 32 10.8 ; Mountaineering 145 49.2
Occupation Student 73 24.7 ; Others 62 21
; Manufacturing and business 43 14.6 Educational attainment Junior high school 12 4.1
; Service 76 25.8 ; Senior high school 69 23.4
; Military personnel, police, civil servants, and teachers 73 24.7 ; College and vocational school 56 19
; Others 30 10.2 ; University 133 45.1
Times of Participation First time 116 39.3 ; Graduate school 25 8.5
; Second time 45 15.3 ; ; ; ;
; More than three times 134 45.4 ; ; ;

Testing the reliability and validity of the assessment model

This study adopted PLS Graph 3.0 to perform partial least square (PLS) analysis, and used bootstrapping (500 resamples) to test the level of significance of the paths in the structural model. A total of 305 valid questionnaires were returned, exceeding the minimum size of sample required by PLS, which is 30. Consequently, PLS was considered suitable for testing the model. Table 2 shows the means, standard deviations, and the factor loadings of the various items; the factor loading of most items exceeds 0.6.

Table 2

Test results of the assessment model

Construct Mean SD Factor loading
Tourism attractiveness ; ; ;
Relaxation-oriented experiences 4.124 0.534 0.836
Environmental education 3.688 0.652 0.814
Highly accessible geographically 3.404 0.783 0.635
Recreational space 3.942 0.612 0.779
Tourist motivation ; ; ;
Goal achievement 3.187 0.63 0.75
Relaxation 3.841 0.714 0.635
Socializing 3.66 0.677 0.75
Learning 3.55 0.701 0.783
Fitness maintenance 4.116 0.606 0.689
Tourist experience ; ; ;
Interactive 1.275 0.196 0.766
Psychological 3.848 0.582 0.78
Physiological 3.704 0.55 0.636
Safety-based 3.703 0.67 0.719
Revisit intentions ; ; ;
Intention to participate 3.671 0.62 1

The internal consistency of a construct assesses the composite reliability of multiple variables. According to Fornell and Larcker (1981) [39] and Nunnally (1978) [40], the suggested composite reliability should be higher than 0.7 to ensure the measurements achieve internal consistency. Convergent validity refers to the degree to which multiple measures of constructs are consistent. The average variance extracted (AVE) from individual construct must exceed 0.5 to be considered as showing adequate convergent validity [39]. When variables attain adequate factor loadings (> 0.5) on the constructs under measurement, convergent validity is achieved [40]. For the results of internal consistency and convergence validity in the present study, the composite reliability of all constructs was higher than the threshold value of 0.7, indicating that the assessment instrument designed in the present study exhibited adequate internal consistency.

Table 3

Results of first-order convergent validity

Composite Reliability AVE Cronbach Alpha
Tourism attractiveness 0.852 0.593 0.763
Tourist motivation 0.845 0.523 0.768
Tourist experience 0.817 0.529 0.64
Revisit intentions 1 1 0

Discriminant validity assesses the level of discrimination the measurements exhibit regarding various constructs. The size of the correlation between a variable and the other variables in the same construct should be larger than the correlation with other variables in other constructs. To achieve discriminant validity, the square root of the AVE of an individual construct should be greater than the covariance of that construct and other constructs in the model [41]. Table 3 presents a correlation matrix of all the constructs investigated in this study. The diagonal values are the average square roots of each construct. Table 4 shows that the correlation coefficients of two random constructs are lower than the average square root of the measurements in either construct, indicating that the variables of all the constructs in the assessment model are mutually independent. Consequently, most of the questionnaire constructs in the present study exhibit sufficient discriminant validity

Table 4

Results of discriminant validity of the first-order factor mode

Attraction Motivation Experience Intention
Attraction 0.77 ; ; ;
Motivation 0.483 0.724 ; ;
Experience 0.462 0.71 0.727 ;
Intention 0.309 0.458 0.508 1

Note: The values on the diagonal are the square root of AVE of that construct.

Testing the research model

The statistical method adopted in this study, PLS, could not be applied to test statistical significance, nor could it be used to estimate the confidence intervals of the path coefficients. Therefore, to perform a significance test of the estimated paths, the bootstrapping method suggested by Bollen and Stine (1992) [42] was adopted in the present study to test the hypotheses. The PLS did not include the estimation of goodness of fit index (GFI) because Chin (1998) [41] considered that GFI measures only the fitness level of parameter estimates and sample covariance, and that it is unrelated to the predictive power of latent variables. Therefore, Chin determined that R 2 is the main indicator of the quality of a model. Figure 2 shows the results of the present study: Tourism attractiveness explained 22.3% of the variance in tourist motivation; tourist motivation and tourist experience together explained 55.3% of the variance in revisit intentions; and tourism attractiveness, tourist motivation, and tourist experience explained 27.6% of the variance in revisit intentions.

Figure 2: Results of model analysis

Testing the research

Table 5 presents the test results of the path coefficient analysis of the sports tourism. Detailed explanations of the results are provided as follows:

  • The influence of tourism attractiveness on revisit intentions (H1): Figure 2 shows that the path coefficient of tourism attractiveness to revisit intentions is 0.066 (t = 1.432). Thus, H1 is not supported.
  • The influence of tourism attractiveness on tourist motivation (H2): Figure 2 shows that the path coefficient of tourism attractiveness to tourist motivation is 0.483 (t = 9.189). Thus, H2 is supported. This result suggests that when recreational areas have the functions of relaxation and environmental education, tourists are motivated to participate in tourism activities (e.g., learning sports skills).
  • The influence of tourist motivation on tourist experience (H3): Figure 2 shows that the path coefficient of tourism attractiveness to tourist experience is 0.744 (t = 24.853). Thus, H3 is supported. This result indicates that when tourists hold a positive attitude toward learning skills in sports tourism activities, their assessment of the psychological experience of the activity is satisfactory.
  • The influence of tourist motivation on revisit intentions (H4): Figure 2 shows that the path coefficient of tourist motivation to revisit intentions is 0.160 (t = 1.894). Thus, H4 is supported. This result demonstrates that when tourists hold a positive attitude toward learning skills in sports tourism, they have higher revisit intentions.
  • The influence of tourist experience on revisit intentions (H5): Figure 2 shows that the path coefficient of tourist motivation to revisit intentions is 0.358 (t = 4.367). Thus, H5 is supported. This result shows that when tourists derived positive psychological experiences in sports tourism, they have higher revisit intentions.

Table 5

Testing results of the Hypotheses

Hypothesis Content Testing results
H1 Tourism attractiveness significantly influences revisit intentions Not supported
H2 Tourism attractiveness significantly influences tourist motivation Supported
H3 Tourist motivation significantly influences tourist experience Supported
H4 Tourist motivation significantly influences revisit intentions Supported
H5 Tourist experience significantly influences Revisit intentions Supported

Path analysis

Asher (1983) considered that the influences among variables can be direct, indirect, or spurious effects [43]. Direct effects refer to independent variables directly influencing dependent variables without the intervention of other intermediary variables. Indirect effects refer to the influence of independent variables on dependent variables being generated through the mediation of intermediary variables. Spurious effects refer to a third variable or a combination of variables simultaneously influencing two variables directly or indirectly. Although spurious effects are part of the causal relationship, their influence is relatively small. Therefore, the path analysis mainly investigated the results of the direct and indirect effects, which have a relatively larger effect.

Tourist motivation

Tourism attractiveness directly influenced tourist motivation; the path coefficient was 0.483. In other words, when recreational parks provide relaxation-oriented and environmental experiences, tourists become motivated to participate in tourism activities (e.g., learning sports skills).

Tourist experience

Tourist motivation directly influenced tourist experience; the influence coefficient was 0.744. This result shows that when tourists have a positive attitude toward learning skills, their assessment of the psychological experience derived from participating in the activities of sports tourism programs is favorable. In addition, tourism attractiveness indirectly influenced tourist experience; the influence coefficient was 0.129. This result shows that when tourists perceive recreational parks as providing relaxation-oriented and environmental experiences, their assessment of the psychological experience in these parks is favorable.

Revisit intentions

Both tourist motivation and tourist experience directly influenced revisit intentions; tourist experience exerted a greater influence: the coefficient was 0.358. This result implies that after participating in sports tourism-based activities, tourist have higher revisit intentions if they obtain psychological satisfaction in the games, interact with their friends or people with similar interests, and feel safe about the activity instructor and equipment. In addition, tourism attractiveness and tourist motivation indirectly affected revisit intentions. Between these two influencing variables, tourist motivation has the larger effect: the coefficient is 0.266. In other words, when tourists hold a positive attitude toward learning skills, they have higher revisit intentions.

Table 6

Effect analysis

Path Direct effect Indirect effect ; Total effect
; ; Tourist motivation Tourist experience ;
Tourism attractiveness significantly influenced revisit intention ; 0.077 0.129 0.206
Tourism attractiveness significantly influenced tourist motivation 0.483 ; ; 0.483
Tourist motivation significantly influenced tourist experience 0.744 ; ; 0.744
Tourist motivation significantly influenced revisit intentions 0.16 ; 0.266 0.426
Tourist experience significantly influenced revisit intentions 0.358 ; ; 0.358

Conclusions and suggestions

This study investigated the relationship of the mutual influence between the tourism attractiveness and tourist revisit intentions in the context of sports tourism participation. In summary, the present study determined that in addition to the factors of tourist experience, such as fun, and adventurousness and interactivity of sports tourism, the motivation for sports tourism is another key factor that enhances tourist revisit intentions. Motivation comprises goal achievement, relaxation, socializing with people with the same interests, skill learning, and fitness maintenance. All these subitems enable tourists to derive a positive psychological experience and interact with fellow participants. Therefore, this study suggests that in developing sports tourism programs, related authorities can specify the level of difficulty of activities according to the types of participants, thus enabling participants to make friends with others who share similar interests and to increase the interaction among participants (e.g., by arranging activities such as mountaineering, sailing, surfing, river trekking, canoeing, and bungee jumping). Providing tourists with multiple options enables them to select activities they prefer to participate in, further enhancing their revisit intentions.