Tourist motivations for small european cities

Our latest article has just been published in the journal Sustainability. It is open-access, meaning anyone can read it with no paywall. In the article, we propose a new fuzzy-logic model for analysing tourist motivations, which shows how they can change across different age groups. The research was carried out in Novi Sad, in Serbia, which is typical of many small European cities who are trying to develop sustainable urban tourism by attracting different age-groups. Hopefully, the findings of our research will be useful for other cities facing similar issues. You can read the whole article here, and the abstract is below.

“Tourist motivation, as a core of travel behavior, significantly influences consumer intentions and has attracted academic attention for decades. A plethora of studies analyse sets of internal and external motivators, while methodologies that exclusively focus on a single factor, such as age, that can sometimes have a determining influence in multi-attraction destinations, are less prevalent. This study introduces a fuzzy logic approach to develop a new model for analysing the internal motivations of different-aged consumers in multi-attraction urban destinations. Fuzzy models, as a mathematical means of representing vagueness and imprecise information, have the capability of recognizing, representing, manipulating, interpreting, and utilizing data and information, which typically for urban tourist motivations, are vague and lack certainty. This research tests the model in a real-life setting, using the example of Novi Sad, a mid-sized European city, which is typical of many similar cities who are attempting to develop sustainable tourism by attracting older tourists. The new model shows how tourist motivations for multi-attraction destinations are affected by age, through a specially developed m-file for MATLAB, so that it can be applied and tested in other tourism contexts. Theoretical and practical implications for sustainable destination management and marketing are described.”

Urban Tourist Motivations: Why Visit Ljubljana?

Together with my colleagues Sanja Bozic, Miroslav Vujicic and Tamara Jovanovic from the University of Novi Sad, we have recently published an article in the International Journal of Tourism Cities that investigates urban tourists’ motivations for visiting Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.  You can read the article here.  If you would like to read it and don’t have access, please get in touch.  The abstract of the article is below:

The city of Ljubljana

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a new perspective on urban tourist motivations by applying the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model to help to understand how tourists make decisions about which destinations to visit.

Design/methodology/approach – This study was based on 30 one-hour-long structured interviews with visitors to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. Respondents were asked to express their preferences between different pull-factor motives for their visit, using Saaty’s scale, and further qualitative data were collected to examine these preferences in more depth.

Findings – The results of this study indicate that the most relevant criteria and thus predominant factors in motivation for visits to Ljubljana are the Cultural and Nightlife pull factors, while religious and business motives are the lowest ranked factors. The paper argues that the results show the value of applying the AHP model to understand the role of pull factors in urban tourism destination choice.

Research limitations/implications – As a single-destination case study, it is important that the findings of this research are evaluated against similar studies in other cities. A limitation of this research is the fact that sub motives within major groups of pull-factor motives have not been explored in this study and this should be the subject of future, more detailed research.

Originality/value – This research shows the value of applying an under-used methodology to understand urban tourist motivations and knowledge gained through applying this method will be of value to destination marketing organisations as well as to researchers conducting future studies.