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Satisfaction Factors That Predict Loyalty in Ecotourism
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Recently, foreign tourists have revealed a growing interest for natural environment enjoyment. Results show three satisfaction factors in ecotourism: “nature and culture”, “infrastructure”, and “service”, where “nature and culture” was the most influential predictor of tourists’ loyalty. The entry also found a positive correlation between satisfaction and loyalty in ecotourism. 

satisfaction loyalty ecotourism foreign tourist Costa Rica
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Subjects: Anthropology
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View Times: 132
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Time: 19 Apr 2022
Table of Contents

    1. Introduction

    Visitor satisfaction is a vital aspect of national park marketing and management practice [1][2]. Therefore, understanding the importance of satisfaction allows managers to provide facilities and services according to the expectations of visitors [3][4][5]. In this sense, ecotourists tend to show significant levels of perceived satisfaction with the experiences lived during an ecotourism visit [6][7][8][9]. In addition, marketing approaches, which consider tourism satisfaction and behavioral intentions, remain an essential area for research in tourism studies [10].
    Ecotourism includes contact with nature, culture, agriculture, wildlife, and adventure activities [11]. Ecotourism areas have become important destinations due to their efficiency in protecting the environment and supporting education, recreation, and job creation [12]. The growing popularity of ecotourism around the world has encouraged tourist destinations to receive more and more tourists who like contact with nature and are willing to comply with the protection regulations of the chosen natural space [13]. Ecotourists search for nature and culture in a national park with their family and friends [14]. Managers must realize the economic importance of meeting the needs of visitors and providing them with memorable experiences [15]. Hence, satisfaction is often an important goal that park managers seek to achieve [5]. Likewise, mega faunas and impressive ecosystems are attributes of satisfaction in ecotourism [16][17][18]
    Inbound tourism encompasses the activities carried out by a non-resident visitor in the country of reference as part of an inbound tourist trip World Tourism Organization UNWTO [19]. In this sense, foreign tourists play an important role in national economies [20]. Therefore, the entry of foreign tourists to countries can play an effective role in increasing income exchange, creating new and more employment opportunities and fertilizing the tourism industry, and consequently, can promote quality of life and accelerate the country’s development process [21].
    Satisfaction factors are vital studies around the world, because the study of satisfaction in foreign tourists is an important indicator to analyze the return of foreign tourists, an important indicator in national economies. 

    2. Study Area

    In particular, the Arenal National Park is selected, because it is one of the parks with the most visits nationwide and it is considered a natural laboratory and the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica, since its characteristics make it a wetland of international importance (Figure 1).
    Figure 1. The geographic location of protected areas: Arenal Volcano National Park and Caño Negro Mixed National Wildlife Refuge (Costa Rica).

    3. Relationship of Satisfaction Factors with Return Intentions

    To analyze the most important predictors in return intentions, a stepwise multiple regression was used, which included the satisfaction factors that were significant for the model. The results are presented in Table 1.
    Table 1. Relationship of satisfaction factors with return intentions (Multiple regression).
    Satisfaction Factors Beta t Sig. Tolerance
    Nature and culture 0.227 3.716 0.000 1.000
    Infrastructure 0.171 2.807 0.005 1.000
    Services 0.165 2.703 0.007 1.000
    (Constant)   43.846 0.000  
    Adj. R² 0.096      
    F statistic 9.637      
    Sig. 0.000      
    Durbin–Watson 1.428      

    According to Table 2, the three satisfaction factors seemed to predict return intentions. The F test was significant (p < 0.05), indicating a real relationship between significant predictors and return intentions. Furthermore, the tolerance values indicated that there was no multicollinearity between the independent variables. Likewise, the Durbin–Watson statistic reached a value of 1.43, which suggests the absence of auto-correlation in the errors and confirms the suitability of the model. The satisfaction factor “Nature and culture” was the most significant predictor in return intentions (Beta = 0.227, p < 0.05), followed by the satisfaction factor “Infrastructure” (Beta = 0.171, p < 0.05).

    4. Relationship of General Satisfaction with the Loyalty Variables

    A multiple stepwise regression was used to analyze the relationship of general satisfaction with the loyalty variables. The results are presented in Table 2.
    Table 2. Relationship of general satisfaction with the loyalty variables.
    Variable Return Intentions Recommendation Intentions Say Positive Things about Destination
    Beta T Sig. Beta t Sig. Beta t Sig.
    Overall satisfaction 0.513 9.317 0.000 0.732 16.763 0.000 0.709 15.696 0.000
    (Constant)   −0.197 0.844   2.487 0.014   5.681 0.000
    Adj. R² 0.260     Adj. R2 0.533   Adj. R2 0.500  
    F statistic 86.799     F statistic 281.004   F statistic 246.379  
    Sig. 0.000     Sig. 0.000   Sig. 0.000  
    Durbin–Watson 86.799     Durbin–Watson 1.858   Durbin–Watson 2.024  
    Tolerance 1.000     Tolerance 1.000   Tolerance 1.000  

    5. Research Findings

    The first satisfaction factor was “Nature and Culture”, whose results were similar to the study by Tsiotsou and Va-sioti [22], who found the factor “satisfaction with the landscape”. Another result related to nature was found in the study by Meng et al. [23], who found the satisfaction factor in “natural landscapes”. Another study related to nature was that of Xu et al. [24], who identified “satisfaction with the natural environment”. The second factor found in this entry was “infrastructure.” Infrastructure-related results were found in the study by Lee [25], who called it “recreational facilities”, while “Service” was the third satisfaction factor in the present study, finding similar results with the service in the study by Tsiotsou and Vasioti [22], who found the factors “satisfaction with food” and “satisfaction with food excursion”. Furthermore, similar results were found with the service in the study by Meng et al. [23], who called the factor “friendly services/quality”. Another study related to service was that of Chan et al. [26], who found that the quality of the service has a significant and positive impact on satisfaction.

    6. Conclusions

    In ecotourism, the study of satisfaction is essential for identifying the factors that deeply influence the loyalty of tourists. Hence, with proper planning, the service can be improved to achieve greater satisfaction and return of tourists. As a result, the destination and its community will benefit, with higher income and employment.
    “Nature and culture”, “infrastructure”, and “service” are the three satisfaction factors found in ecotourism. The satisfaction factor “nature and culture” and the satisfaction factor “services” are the ones that greatly influence the intentions to recommend and the intentions to say positive things about the destination, while the satisfaction factors “nature and culture” and “infrastructure” are the ones that considerably influence the return of tourists. Moreover, the satisfaction factor “nature and culture” is the main predictor in the loyalty of tourists; this means that the natural and cultural heritage of the protected areas should be preserved to increase the level of tourists’ loyalty to the destination. Moreover, general satisfaction influences return and recommendation intentions and saying positive things about the destination.
    Regarding the practical implications, ecotourism companies must plan strategies to improve the conservation and care of the natural and cultural heritage of protected areas. For this, activities that improve the conservation of natural and cultural heritage must be organized. It is necessary to counteract the effects on the natural heritage, take care of natural species, improve compliance with environmental regulations, and reduce pollution and the misuse of natural resources. Likewise, companies must conserve cultural heritage, with an emphasis on maintaining and restoring cultural wealth. In addition, traffic signs, parking lots, infrastructure, and accommodation should be improved; in this way, the level of satisfaction of foreign tourists will be improved. For this, strategies can be implemented that improve the facilities of the accommodation in terms of furnishings and decoration that can give a better comfort to foreign tourists. On the other hand, the service and gastronomy of restaurants, guided tours, and complementary leisure activities can be promoted. For this, the quality of food, furniture, and equipment in restaurants can be improved, which can provide a better experience for tourists through better quality food and a more comfortable and pleasant establishment, notably improving the service and consequently the satisfaction of foreign tourists. Likewise, service trainings can be implemented for guides, which improve the expectations of tourists in relation to environmental and cultural information and education.

    References

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    Subjects: Anthropology
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    View Times: 132
    Revisions: 2 times (View History)
    Update Time: 19 Apr 2022
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      Carvache-Franco, W. Satisfaction Factors That Predict Loyalty in Ecotourism. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/18181 (accessed on 01 December 2022).
      Carvache-Franco W. Satisfaction Factors That Predict Loyalty in Ecotourism. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/18181. Accessed December 01, 2022.
      Carvache-Franco, Wilmer. "Satisfaction Factors That Predict Loyalty in Ecotourism," Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/18181 (accessed December 01, 2022).
      Carvache-Franco, W. (2022, January 13). Satisfaction Factors That Predict Loyalty in Ecotourism. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/18181
      Carvache-Franco, Wilmer. ''Satisfaction Factors That Predict Loyalty in Ecotourism.'' Encyclopedia. Web. 13 January, 2022.
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