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Assessment of travel motivators and visitor satisfaction in urban destinations: case of limbe, Fako division Cameroon

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The purpose of this paper is to understand travel motivators for proper planning of urban tourism development in Limbe. In line with the purpose, the following objectives were targeted in the study: To examine the socio-demographic characteristics of guests visiting Limbe, to analyze various travel motivators of guests in Limbe, to determine the relationship between travel motivators and visitor satisfaction in Limbe, to investigate problems faced in the effective management of travel behaviour amongst tourism/service providers in Limbe and to propose ways of better integrating travel motivators in the planning of urban tourism development in Limbe. To achieve these objectives, the study was guided by the following hypotheses: Socio-demographic characteristics of visitors in Limbe influence their travel motivators and satisfaction with the urban destination in Limbe. The second hypothesis was stated as: There is an association between visitors’ travel motivators and satisfaction in urban destinations in Limbe. The empirical review of this study was divided into themes culled from the specific objectives. The data collected for this research included primary and secondary data. The primary data collection instruments include a 5 point Likert scale questionnaire for guests of the tourist destinations in Limbe and an interview guide for management staff. A total of 80 questionnaires were administered to the guests using the accidental or man-in-the-street sampling technique while a purposive technique was used to collect data from a total of 10 management staff of touristic sites in Limbe. The data analysis involved descriptive and inferential statistics. The descriptive statistics included: frequency analysis, percentages and charts. The inferential statistics involved tests of associations or significant differences of which the Chi-Square non­parametric test (for the case of one nominal and one ordinal variable) and the Cramer’s V test (for the case of two nominal variables). All statistical results in the study were presented with 95% Confidence. Findings generally revealed that the socio-economic characteristics of visitors in Limbe do not have an influence on their travel motivators and satisfaction in urban destinations in Limbe as a result, the null hypothesis was accepted. The results further revealed that the motives of tourists travelling to Limbe were to rest and relax, to participate in exciting cultural activities, and to partake in enriching and learning experiences, social interaction and certain personal values. These results confirmed motives identified by previous research studies. The study concluded that tourism marketers are required to do research continuously to determine tourists‟ travel behaviour to Limbe

Keywords: Tourist motivators, Guests satisfaction, Travel behaviour



1.1 Background of the Study

According to Wilkerson (2003), travel dates back to empire Era, which stretched from the time of the Egyptians to the Greeks and finally came to an end with the fall of the Roman Empire. During this time, people began traveling in large numbers for governmental, commercial, educational, and religious purposes out of both necessity and pleasure. The Egyptian Kingdoms (4850–715 b.c.) were the first known civilization to have consolidated governmental functions at centralized locations. As travel became commonplace, basic necessities such as food and lodging had to be provided. Several factors combined to encourage travel during the height of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Empires. Large numbers of travelers began to seek out enjoyable experiences in new locations. The most notable group of these travelers, because of their numbers, was the Greeks. As centers of governmental activities, these city-states became attractions in themselves. They offered visitors a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy themselves while away from home. Shopping, eating, drinking, gaming, and watching spectator sports and theatrical performances are just a few of the many activities that grew out of travel and evolved into the more encompassing aspects of tourism.

Travel almost disappeared during the Middle Ages (5th–14th centuries a.d.). As the dominance of the Roman Empire crumbled, travel became dangerous and sporadic. This breakdown in a previously organized and controlled society resulted in the fragmentation of transportation systems, currencies, and languages, making travel a difficult and sometimes dangerous experience. The idea of traveling for the sake of experiences and learning could probably be attributed to the first recorded “tourist”. Cyriacus of Ancona journey took him around the Mediterranean Sea in a quest to learn more about and experience Greek and Roman History. The desire to learn from and experience other cultures heightened awareness of the educational benefits to be gained from travel and led to the Grand Tour Era (Wilkerson, 2003).

The Grand Tour Era (1613–1785), which marked the height of luxurious travel and tourism activities, originated with the wealthy English and soon spread and became fashionable among other individuals who had time and money. Travel, and the knowledge provided by these travels, became a status symbol representing the ultimate in social and educational experiences. Grand Tour participants traveled throughout Europe, seeking to experience the cultures of the “civilized world” and acquire knowledge through the arts and sciences of the countries they visited. Their travels took them to a variety of locations in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany for extended periods of time, often stretching over many years (Wilkerson, 2003).

The Mobility Era (1800–1944) was characterized by increased travel to new and familiar locations, both near and far. Tourism industry activities began to increase as new roads, stagecoaches, passenger trains, and sailing ships became common sights in the early 1800s Thomas Cook (1808–1892) can be credited with finally bringing travel to the general public by introducing the tour package. In 1841, he organized the first tour for a group of 570 people to attend a temperance rally in Leicester, England. For the price of a shilling (12 pence), his customers boarded a chartered train for the trip from Loughborough, complete with a picnic lunch and brass band. The immediate success of his first venture and the demand for more assistance in making travel arrangements led Cook into the full-time business of providing travel services. But the means of mobility and an interest in seeing new places were not enough. The seeds of mass tourism were planted during the first half of the 20th century when industrialists such as George Westinghouse created the paid vacation, believing that annual breaks from work for employees would increase productivity. The working and middle classes in industrialized countries thus were given the financial means and the time to satisfy their newfound wanderlust. Indeed, at the dawn of the 21st century, most workers in virtually all industrialized nations have several weeks of vacation time that they may choose to spend traveling. Mass tourism received an additional boost after World War II (which ended in 1945). While early travel tended to be slower, more dangerous, and more dominated by trade, religion and migration, cultural and technological advances over many years have tended to mean that travel has become easier and more accessible (Wilkerson, 2003).

Travel motivation is commonly acknowledged as a crucial concept to most tourism professionals and theorists (Brunner, 2016). Travel motivation has been known as a driving force behind understanding behavior: identifying travel patterns, understanding tourists’ travel decisions consumption behavior and in developing more effective strategies and policies to increase demand for tourism (Brunner, 2016). Researchers around the globe have applied travel motivation to determine individual’s satisfaction level. Despite climate change, temperature increases, and travelers’ awareness of the negative impacts of pollution, mainstream tourism remains on the increase in urban tourism destinations. However, the growth of tourism, the development of transport, technology, and economies has increased travel motivations, and new lifestyles as well as values have brought world travel to a new frontier. Tourism explores new horizons and spreads travel around “unknown opportunities, bringing new opportunities and to satisfy visitors’ needs and travel motivations (Lec, 2015).

Wijaya (2019) found that activities such as nightlife, exotic atmospheres, and amusement or theme parks play an important role in the travel motivations of tourists in the United States of America. Also, nostalgia was identified as one of the main motivators of tourist choices to destination. Other factors for travel motivations in US include: “relaxation/hobbies,” “novelty,” “enhancement of kinship relations,” “escape” and “prestige”. Tourist who go to the US get a lot satisfaction visiting exotic destinations

In Western Europe, where the rural destinations are perceived as a source of aesthetically pleasing landscapes and the possibility to admire the natural environment, the fauna and flora and most of all for the tranquility. It became obvious that the motivations to choose rural tourism destinations are related to the natural or anthropic resources of each country or by the cultural context (Crompton, 2016).

Moshin et al (2017), investigated the motivations of tourists who traveled to Northern Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, establishing eight motivational “Push” factors, emotion, knowledge and education, relaxation, achievement, family union, escape, safety and fun, and observation far from home. They also identified nine “Pull” motivational factors, which include modern atmosphere and activities, ample space and activities, small size and reliability, natural climate, landscape, different culture, cleanliness and shopping, nightlife and local cuisine, exciting city and towns, and aquatic activities. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, tourists travel to the coastal zone parts of a day, for weekends, for short vacations, and for prolonged stays. Depending on the circumstances, they may travel alone, with family, or in groups. They may stay in coastal tourism accommodations ranging from small residences and camping sites rented out as opportunities arise, to single bed-and-breakfast and hotel rooms, to luxury suites in resort enclaves. Some tourism activities in this area is organized for a special purpose such as ecotourism, adventure tourism, scientific tourism, and dive tourism (Daud and Razana, 2012).

In China, factors such as enlightenment, freedom, shopping, diverse attractions, culture connections, sport facilities and wildlife play a crucial role in the motivation of foreign tourists (Liu et al, (2017). According to Wijaya (2019), the different cultural background of the people Indonesia would greatly motivate people to visit a foreign country such as Australians travel to Indonesian. Scenic beauty and wildlife remain major tourism attractions and a major tourist motivator (ecotourism) for both international and national tourists in South Africa who make up 80% of the tourist numbers (Kim, & Jang, 2018). However, South Africa is one of many countries or destinations worldwide that offers this type of tourism product which influence tourists’ preferences and can predict holiday choice, shedding light on the type of experience, destination, or activity tourists want.

Tanzania is famously known for tourist attractions and home to the famous Roof of Africa, the Mount Kilimanjaro. Following these attractions, Tanzania has pulled thousands of international visitors from different parts of the world, thereby making the country be known as one of the competitive tourist destinations in sub-Saharan Africa (Mkumbo, 2010). The WTTC (2017) projects a rising trend by 6.8% in 2017 of 2,267,000 international tourists to Tanzania. On the other hand, the arrivals of domestic tourists to various tourist attractions in the country are not in the same pace as international travel market. Factors such as limited promotion, awareness, low income, inadequate information, media usage, marketing and service quality challenges such as infrastructure and trained staff have been reported to be among the factors affecting the performance of domestic tourism in Tanzania.

Our different ways of life and cultural backgrounds have been seen to motivate the minds of many people to seek out novelty and experience new things in Cameroon. Cameroon is commonly known as “Africa in miniature” due, to its different diversities such as natural features, which include fauna and flora, beaches, mountains, rainforests savannas and its cultural diversity which makes it a touristic destination for national and international tourists. Today, many people travel not only for leisure and pleasure but to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of their various destinations. The multicultural aspect of Cameroon has enabled tourists to visit the country, thus making it famous (Dai and Zhang, 2019).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Among all tourism destinations in the country, Limbe has an outstandingly unlimited diversity. Limbe has a vast attractive landscape and diverse scenery, mountains, lakes, beaches, wildlife and sunshine making it a diversified and incomparable environment anywhere in the world (Ma et al, 2018). These striking tourism features are however hard-pressed by quite a lot of setbacks. Most problems are infrastructural inadequacies as well as absence of up-to-date basic services capable of safeguarding the needed progress. There are a variety of shortages of some basic services in these tourism destinations. Most of these setbacks are insecurity, transportation, electricity supply, and poor waste management at the touristic site, financial constraints, managerial problems of sites, neglect of customs and traditions, urbanization and political instability. These challenges has led to unrealized tourism potentials caused by neglect of basic services.

Factors such as lack of trained manpower, weak institutional framework for tourisms planning and political turmoil are responsible for stagnation in the development of tourism in this area. In addition, there is lack of coordinated destination publicity and marketing promotion as well as very limited published data and non-prioritization of the tourism destination. The problem of “Generalization Effects” is a major hindrance in tourism destinations in Limbe. Tourists generalize a phenomenon in one particular area to the whole region. That is, a bad experience in one touristic destination gives the tourist the perception that all the destinations in the country are similar as a result retard their motivation for repeat visit (Hansan et al, 2018).

Previous studies have presented the relationship between destination image and tourist experience, tourist loyalty, and satisfaction by direct pathway. However, there exists a lack of studies that investigates the influence of tourists taste, preferences, and needs on destinations product development. There is little research regarding travel motivators and visitors’ satisfaction in urban destinations.  Added to this is the fact that never before has this type of research been conducted in the urban destinations of Limbe. Therefore, this study intends to uncover the missing gap by examining the travel motivators and visitors’ satisfaction in urban tourism destinations in Limbe.

1.3 Research Questions

This study is guided by the following questions:

1.3.1 General Question

How can an understanding of travel motivations help in the proper planning of urban tourism development in Limbe?

1.3.2 Specific Questions

  1. What are the socio-demographic characteristics of guests visiting Limbe?
  2. What are the various travel motivators of guests in Limbe?
  3. How is the relationship between travel motivators and visitor’s satisfaction in Limbe?
  4. What are the problems faced in the effective management of travel behavior amongst tourism service providers in Limbe?
  5. How can travel motivators be better interpreted?



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