1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the study It is in human nature to be curiousand try to figure out what lies beyond our own boundaries, and ever since theancient Greeks and Romans human beings have been travelling. However, over thepast decades, the tourism industry had experienced a continued progress,increased variety, and become one of the fastest growing economic sectors inthe world.
The evolving marketplace of the travel industry has startedrecognizing the importance of understanding the attitudes, beliefs, and valuesof today’s travelers for a more profitable, satisfactory, and higher quality ofservice opportunities. Matters that will be discussed in this project are howpeople’s attitudes, behavior, and knowledge influence their choice ofdestination. The chosen segment is specifically the travelling attitude anddestination images of GULF consumers. Because both of us writers are originallyfrom Lebanon, we were interested in the attitudes of the GULF towards Lebanonas a tourism destination, and also how Lebanon can use this knowledge to theirbenefit/advantage and market Lebanon in a way making it a more welcoming/appealingdestination for GULF travelers.
Because Lebanon is not a very familiar place tomost Khalijis, we would also like to see how the knowledge of the area, and theinformation we provide to the respondents/participants in the empirical part ofthe project can change their attitudes and perceptions about Lebanon. 1.2 Aims of the study and Researchquestions The primary aim of this study is toexamine the factors influencing the choice of holiday destination, and howimportant the role of destination image is in the decision making process. Thesecondary aim is to get Khaliji people’s view on Lebanon, and how to suggestways of improving or upgrading the marketing of Lebanon so it reaches therequirements of the potential GULF consumers. The aim of the research is to enrich the GULFpeople’s knowledge of Lebanon as a potential tourism destination through ashort interview.
The research questions are asfollows: A. How does one’s attitudes,knowledge, and behavior influence the choice of holiday destination? B. How important is the destinationimage? C. What is the Khalihi tourists’attitude and behavior towards Lebanon as a tourism destination?D. How can Lebanon be marketed in away that reaches the requirements of the GULF tourist? 1.3 The structure of the Project The project starts with anintroduction chapter 1 where the reasons for the research, the goal of theresearch as well as the research problem are explained. Continuing the thesisgoes in to chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 for the theoretical framework.
Chapter 2explains the concept of attitude, as well as how it is formed and modified.Chapter 3 examines first more deeply the general view of consumer behavior, andit ends with consumer behavior in tourism. Also in this chapter, the correlationbetween attitude and behavior is explained. In chapter 4, the basics ofmarketing and how a destination can be marketed is studied and thedestination’s image is presented. Chapter 5 gives an intro to Lebanon brieflyas well as describes the region’s tourism elements. The second part of the projectis the research study, which consists of methodology, data collection, analysisof data and a conclusion to the project. The project is closed with researchcriticism and suggestions for further studies.
1.4 Restrictions within the research Because of life changingcircumstances, being a full-time student as well as working led to somerestrictions on the aim, time, and the execution of the project. Originally itwas planned to do both a qualitative and quantitative research, and completethe writing of the project by the beginning of the fall of 2017. However,because of personal life changes causing distance between us, and lack of timespent on the project, the work was divided in parts, and constructed togetherover email and instant messaging. As mentioned we had the intention of doing aquantitative research study, a questionnaire, but unfortunately that was leftout of the plan due to a lack of time.
Another restriction was to get in tocontact with possible participants, Finnish people, for the interview as we hadno previous personal contacts with them. 2 ATTITUDES Every day we are being asked toexpress our attitudes as a consumer, we all have a large number of attitudes towardsproducts, services, advertisements, direct mail, the Internet, and retailstores, for example. We might be asked whether we like or dislike a product(e.g.
a Sony DVD player), a service (e.g. ALFA broadband Internet service), aparticular retailer (e.g. Spinneys), and a specific direct marketer (e.g.
Aliexpress),or an advertising theme (e.g. McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ it”). In all thesecircumstances we are put in a certain position to explicit our opinion, in thiscase our attitude. (Schiffman, Kanuk – 2004, p.
251) Our everyday lives areinfluenced by attitudes, and affected in the ways which we judge, and reacttowards other people, objects, and events. The word “attitude” is often used ineveryday conversations, but few are likely able to define the precise meaningof the term. You might be asked, “What is your attitude towards foreigners”, orsomeone might nag, “Dude I don’t like your attitude”. Attitude is not a conceptthat can be easily defined, and there is no agreed precise definition of”attitude” among social psychologists.
2.1 Definitions of attitudes What are then attitudes? Asmentioned earlier, there is no agreed definition for the term attitude, anddifferent academicians and researcher have defined attitudes in various ways:the following have been listed here to show the many researchers approachtowards the term. Oxford dictionary defines attitudes as a settled way ofthinking or feeling about something – he was questioned on his attitude to SouthAfrica. This sounds simple and easy to understand but attitudes are related toa person’s thoughts and feelings which cannot be easily observed because theyare not part of the person’s physical 13 features and we do not have passage toan individual’s mind. This makes attitudes a hypothetical characteristic and,therefore, many different researchers have different definitions on the term.(Oxford dictionaries – online) Icek Ajzen, professor of Social Psychology andauthor of Attitudes, Personality, and Behavior 2nd ed. (2005), characterizesattitude as a disposition where one responds in favor or unfavorably to anobject, person, institution, or event. Chris Fill defines attitudes as,”Attitudes are learned through past experiences and serve as a link betweenthoughts and behavior”.
Attitudes are, therefore, distinguished by a preferenceor state where one is prepared to respond – because of experiences incomparable situations in the past – in a certain way to particular stimuli(Fill – 2006, p. 62) As with the interpretations mentioned above, there mightbe disagreements on the precise definition and nature of the term, but at thesame time there seems to be a general understanding that attitudes are somewhatenduring systems which influence an individual to respond in a certain way.Attitude is a predetermined behavior, and manner to respond and react torelated objects, concepts or situations, and these behaviors and reactions arecreated from previous experiences.
2.2 Formation of attitudes How do attitudes form? That issomething no one seems to neither question nor think about much. No one is bornwith an attitude, but gradually as we humans go on with our lives, attitudesstart to form. They might form from an advertisement towards a product or a brandor they might mode from a friend’s behavior.
There are many internal andexternal factors which model and create our attitudes towards an object, or inour case a destination. In one of the few theories on the formation ofattitudes, it is stated that people use observations of their own behavior todetermine what their attitudes are. Just as 14 we assume that we know theattitudes of others by watching what they do. The theory also states that wemaintain consistency by concluding that we must have a positive attitudetowards an object if we have bought it or consumed it. Thus, buying a productout of habit may result in a positive attitude towards it (Solomon, Bamossy,Askegaard, – 1999, p.
129-130). Consumers constantly form their attitudestowards known and unknown products, thus, in some cases tighten their attitudestowards a specific brand which they are satisfied and familiar with. By beingaccustomed to always purchasing and using the same brand and, of course, beingsatisfied with the products provided by the same company, consumers tend tocreate a positive attitude towards the brand which leads to a favorableattitude. Consumers often purchase new products that are associated with afavorably viewed brand name. Their favorable attitude toward the brand name isfrequently the result of repeated satisfaction with other products produced bythe same company.
(Schiffman, Kanuk – 2004, p. 265) However, sometimesattitudes follow the purchase and consumption of a product. For example, aconsumer might buy a brand name product without having a prior attitude towardit because it is the only product of its kind available (e.g. the last bottleof aspirin at a gas station). Consumers may also make trial purchases of newbrands from product categories in which they have little personal involvement.
As expected, if they find the products to be satisfactory, then they are likelyto form a favorable attitude toward it. (Schiffman, Kanuk – 2004 p. 265)