Essay on Motivation and Tourism

It is known that motivation plays an important role in any sphere of human activity, including tourism industry. According to Sue Beeton, “tourism motivation remains the most complex, fascinating and at times, misunderstood area of tourism” (2006: 36). The term motivation can be defined as “the reason to act or behave in a certain way”; or as “the individual’s driving force that impels to action” (Duhme, 2012: 18). It is very important to mention that motivation can be viewed as a dynamic concept that can be changed over a certain period of time.

In order to find out what makes people travel, it is necessary to refer to the major factors that can increase motivation of tourists (Mansfeld & Pizam, 1999, Holden, 2005). Graham Dann was one of the first experts who clarified the “order of importance between push and pull factors in tourism travel by downplaying the predominant pull effect of attractions as being of lesser importance” (Ivanovic, 2009: 266). Dann argued that although this or that resort provides a number of attractions for tourists, the potential decision of tourists to visit this or that resort is focused on his prior need for travel. It means that both the “need” and “motivation” play an important role in tourism travel. For example, a person is ready to go travelling because he has a need for a break due to stress or depression. In accordance with Dann, “need is regarded as the push factor for any type of tourism” (Ivanovic , 2009: 267). In case the need does not exist as a push factor, the motivation for this type of travel cannot develop. It means that there is no motivation without need for travel, but the “need” does not depend on motivation. In accordance with Milena Ivanovic, “first, a person becomes aware of the existence of a “need”, than need becomes a “want”, and want leads to motivation (2009: 267).  In addition, Dann argues that pull factors also are of great importance as they create pull motivations which consist of “the appealing attributes of a destination that an individual is seeking (weather, beaches, cleanliness, recreation facilities, cultural attractions, nature, shopping, etc.)” (Beeton, 2006: 36). The major categories of travel motivation include: “motivation as a fantasy, motivation as a purpose, motivation and tourist experiences, motivational typologies, destination pull in response to motivational push, travel as a response to what is lacking, motivation as auto-definition and meaning” (Mansfeld, & Pizam,1999: 9).

Moreover, Dann’s motivational theory was supported by Crompton, who referred to it through the prism of socio-psychological continuum. Crompton is sure that the tourist’s desire to escape is closely connected with the desire for prestige and fitness, or to spend time with friends and family members. In accordance with Crompton, there are seven motives that can be used to better understand Dann’s push motivations (anomies and ego-enhancement). These motives include: relaxation, prestige, exploration and evaluation of self, escaped from routine environment, less constrained behavior, enhancement of kinship relations, and social interaction (Beeton, 2006: 37). There are two more significant motives that can be viewed as push factors: education and novelty.

However, the push-pull motivational theory can be explained in a different way in marketing terms. It means that “push” motivations direct the tourism product through to the customer via the distribution channels of tourism industry, such as travel agencies, booking services, etc., while “pull” motivations are based on the end-users desire to purchase the travel product which is pulled through the distribution system of tourism industry (Beeton, 2006: 37).

Besides Dann and Crompton, tourism motivation was discussed by a number of other experts, who proposed their motivational theories. Maslow’s pyramid of need proves the fact that motivation for any type of tourism can arise from the tourist’s needs. This theory of tourism motivation helps to better understand the link between motivation for tourism and needs for tourism. According to Maslow there are five major classes of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, love/belonging needs, esteem needs, self-actualization needs. It is clear that culturally motivated tourism travel results from the needs of tourists. It is found that “the need that develops into motivation for cultural travel is sourced mainly from the social need and the need for self-actualization” (Ivanovic, 2009: 267).

Pearce and Caltabiano developed another tourism motivational theory ”“ the Travel Career Ladder which also helps to study tourists’ motivation. This theory is focused on Maslow’s pyramid of needs and the concept of a career in tourism industry. In this theory, motivations are divided into five levels, starting with “fulfilling relaxation needs, and then going to safety needs, relationship needs, self-esteem and development needs and self-actualization needs” (Duhme, 2012:21). It means that people have a so-called travel career; their motivations can change according to their life span and their travel experience. With more experience in tourism, people want to satisfy higher needs.

To sum up, motivation for tourism should be analyzed and discussed in contemporary tourism marketing literature. It is very important to take into consideration Dann’s tourism motivational theory which gives explanation to why people travel, why they choose this or that destination, etc., as well as the theory of Crompton. It is necessary to remember that tourism motivation is fundamental in tourism development. Tourism motivation study helps to market and manage tourism in today’s competitive environment.


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