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International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism

Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth

This highly accessible and comprehensive Handbook presents a cutting edge discussion of the state of tourism economics and its likely directions in future research. Leading researchers in the field explore a wide range of topics including: demand and forecasting, supply, transport, taxation and infrastructure, evaluation and application for policy-making. Each chapter includes a discussion of its relevance and importance to the tourism economics literature, an overview of its main contributions and themes, a critical evaluation of existing literature and an outline of issues for further conceptual and applied research.
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Chapter 2: Microfoundations of Tourist Choice

Andreas Papatheodorou


Andreas Papatheodorou Introduction The knowledge of the formation mechanisms and determinant factors of tourist choice is of primary importance for all tourism stakeholders. From an inner psychological perspective, tourists need to know themselves better, become more informed about the process of decision making and choose destinations and tourist activities that will hopefully increase their utility and prosperity. From the supply side, the deciphering of tourism choice can help service providers and destination policy makers to design appropriate marketing and advertising campaigns for specific consumer target groups. It can also assist them to manage the quality of their product integrally and face periods of crisis in tourism successfully. Similarly, theoreticians should be knowledgeable of tourist choice factors to produce robust econometric models and forecasts that can facilitate resort planners (among other stakeholders) in their long-term projections and decisions: unless accurate, the planning exercise may fail to improve the resort to the detriment of the environment (natural and built), the local community and of course the end users of tourism. It is not surprising, therefore, that tourism choice and its microfoundations have received substantial attention by researchers in social sciences from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. As in most cases with tourism, researchers are predominantly interested in applying the principles of their discipline to explain tourist choices. The economists would mainly focus on rational behaviour and utility maximisation issues, the geographers would examine tourist flows in space, the psychologists would discuss motivation while other social scientists would highlight socio-cultural...

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