Implications of Long Haul Travel on the Marketing of International Tourism
MetadataShow full item record
Tracking studies conducted by the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) over the last decade have revealed that Australia has a high ranking as a desired destination among US residents. However prior to the peaked effect of the Olympics, this desire had not translated into increasing numbers of visitor arrivals from the US. As travel to Australia from the US is time consuming and involves extremes of physical distance, it would be to Australia's advantage to understand better the dimensions and ramifications of long haul travel with regard to destination choice. This thesis has two objectives: to assess the extent to which a destination being a long haul from its target market affects the choice of this destination; and to consider the marketing implications of the above with a focus on the selection of Australia, as compared to competitive destinations, by the US holiday market. Data were collected from two samples: the West Coast of the US and the East Coast of Australia. The instrument for the US sample collected information on the respondents' choice set structure, attribute importance in selecting a long haul destination, perceptions of the long haul destinations of Australia and Italy, and sociodemographics. The instrument for the Australian sample collected information on the respondents' choice set structure, attribute importance for both long haul and short haul destination selection, perceptions of the long haul destination of the US and the short haul destination of New Zealand, and sociodemographics. This data were then used to test nine hypotheses designed to give insight into the research objectives. The results indicate that tourists place differing degrees of importance on attributes of a long haul destination as compared to a short haul destination for a vacation. It also demonstrates that tourists' perceptions of the distance to destinations are often highly inaccurate and that this inaccuracy is related neither to actual distance nor choice set placement. The cognitive distance is however directly related to perceptions of cost of travelling to the destination. A conundrum was also established in that the distance to Australia was overestimated and related positively with the choice of the destination. Yet at the same time the overestimation led to increasing perceptions of cost, travel time and risk, which indirectly had a negative impact on the choice of the destination. This far-off allure was not evident for the equidistant competitor, Italy, where the cognitive distance was underestimated. It was also found US respondent's place differing importance on the attributes they seek in a long haul destination as compared to the Australian respondents. Notably, the US market places a significantly higher importance on distance, even though their estimation of the distance between Australia and the US did not differ from the Australian estimate. Marketing implications for Australia as a long haul destination were then considered with an emphasis on redefining vacation distances in tourists' minds without relinquishing the far-off allure. The relationship between cognitive distance and perceptions of cost and time in comparison to competitors were driving the need for redefining distance. Emphasis was placed on delivering information to tourists during their decision process when their involvement and information processing was highest. Direction was also given for future research that would be useful for travel marketers in gaining additional insight into their long haul target markets.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Tourism and Hotel Management
Long haul travel
United States vacation market