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Tourism experiences, memorability and behavioural intentions : a study of tourists in Sardinia, Italy

Sthapit, E ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1650-3900, Del Chiappa, G, Coudounaris, DN and Björk, P (2020) Tourism experiences, memorability and behavioural intentions : a study of tourists in Sardinia, Italy. Tourism Review, 75 (3). pp. 533-558. ISSN 0251-3102

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to test Kim et al.’s (2012) seven-dimension memorable tourism experience (MTE) scale in a new context and with a new sample. In addition, the study aims to test for causes or relationships between satisfaction, MTE dimensions, co-creative tourism experiences and memorability, as well as the mediating effect of memorability on tourists’ behavioural intention. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a cross-sectional survey design using a questionnaire to collect data. Three trained interviewers questioned international travellers in the boarding area in Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport while they were waiting to board their flights home. The interviewers also distributed and administered the questionnaires. The questionnaire was in English. Data collection was carried out from August to October 2017. Findings: In terms of the theoretical implications of this study, its findings result in a different MTE construct than that of Kim et al.’s (2012) study. Although they discuss seven important experiential tourism factors that are likely to affect the memorability of a person’s experience, what emerges from the present research is that satisfaction, novelty, refreshment, involvement and knowledge significantly influence the memorability of a tourist’s experience. Research limitations/implications: This study has some limitations. First, it is highly site-specific and based on a convenience sample, rendering the findings non-generalizable to either the destination under investigation or any other tourism destination. Further studies should be conducted in other Mediterranean cities to generalise the significance of these findings. Although English can be considered the primary international language, the fact that the survey has been written only in English could have excluded non-English speakers from participating in the study. In addition, the study has not considered national domestic tourists. In the future, translating the survey into different languages and interviewing domestic tourists visiting the island might be useful. Practical implications: Tourism service providers could gather feedback forms from tourists to measure and improve their satisfaction. Additionally, the multiplicity of actors involved in the tourism sector should coordinate and cooperate with one another to create tourism experiences that result in high overall visitor satisfaction. Tourism service providers could also offer new and diverse encounters, for example, the chance to attend local festivals to arouse curiosity, as studies suggest that such novel activities make the experiences particularly memorable. Public officials should also focus on site rejuvenation to appeal to novelty seekers who have visited previously. Originality/value: Overall, the study highlights the discrepancies in the effects of satisfaction, MTE dimensions and co-creative tourism experience on the memorability of a trip experience in relation to previous studies. The results of the analysis refute the assumption that the seven MTE dimensions are representative across a variety of destination-specific tourist experiences. Besides the identified five dimensions, opening up the discussion on other factors that might influence the memorability of tourists’ experiences presents an updated agenda.

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