Tourist Typologies and Travel Motivations

3187 Words Jan 11th, 2011 13 Pages
It could be argued that the verb “to travel” encompasses many connotations as people around the world, from different backgrounds, socio-cultural, linguistic and professional, choose to travel to a particular destination for different reasons, influenced by a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Throughout the years, many researchers in the field have sought a more academic answer to the question “Why do people travel?”

It is the aim of the present paper to critically examine different authors’ views on travel motivations and tourist typology models and discuss their practical applicability to the type of destination choice. The first part of the discussion focusing on leisure travel motivations will be based on Maslow’s hierarchy
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Several researchers have applied Maslow’s pyramid in their studies on tourism motivation (for instance, Ross, 1994; Sharpley, 1994; Page&Connell, 2006). The levels in the hierarchy, from lowest to highest, are as follows: “physiological needs (hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, air); safety needs (freedom from threat or danger, a secure, orderly and predictable environment); love needs (feelings of belonging, affectionate relationships, friendship, group membership); esteem needs (self respect, achievement, self-confidence, reputation, recognition, prestige); need for self-actualisation (self-fulfillment, realising one’s potential).” (Ross, 1994 p.18)

We are all motivated by needs and, in this respect, Maslow’s hierarchy helps to explain and understand how these needs motivate us. According to Maslow, cited in Ross (1994 p.17), the lower-order needs, the most obvious ones for survival, would have to be satisfied first before the higher-order needs could influence our behaviour. Conversely, when things contributing towards the satisfaction of our basic needs are swept off, we are no longer concerned with fulfilling our higher-order needs. Maslow’s hierarchy, while not initially intended for tourism, has been considered a useful tool for describing the needs and wants of tourists and their hosts. We shall now briefly look at what sort of needs people fulfill when
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