The study demonstrates potential of the tourism industry in Australia. According to findings, most facilities and attraction sites are not fully utilised. Therefore, ACT must adopt study findings to implement the demands of various international tourists. At the same time, the focus must also address the wanting areas of customer service satisfaction.
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The research findings will address how the ACT intends to improve the level of satisfaction among diverse tourists from different parts of the world. As a tourism industry becomes competitive, there is a need for Canberra to adopt a vision of sustainable tourism development in its plan. This will address emerging challenges, and trends the industry is experiencing.
Incorporation of traditional media and new media to reach all market segments and global, targeted visitors ensures that communication and promotional strategies, will have effective results in driving the number of visitors to Canberra. Social media must incorporate all the necessary information an individual needs in order to make a decision. In fact, social media have become the cheapest and fastest way to reach a global audience effectively.
The tourism industry must address social, economic, environmental and competitive situations of the modern tourists. Tourists are most likely to demand high value for their money through customer services, products and activities they engage in while visiting. The ACT must put in place machineries in addressing challenges and encounters of different tourists such as setting up information centres, interpreters, reliable transport facilities, porters and guides.
Canberra is Australia’s capital city. The native people have lived in Canberra for more than 20,000 years. Now Canberra is a leading tourist’s destination in Australia. The city has beautiful gardens and homes, parks, dining areas, accommodation and family fun parks.
The region has natural wonders, including the wineries. Tourists experience the culture, history, landscape and gourmet specialties. Australia provides swimming, paddling, playing and fishing in the major rivers of Australia across the Murrumbidgee River Corridor.
Australia also provides the natural grounds for playing in the snowy mountain where people walk and ski in the alpine flowers so as to access the highest peak. At the same, Canberra has long and natural beaches with wildlife, water sports, fishing grounds and fresh seafood on its coast. Natives and tourists live well and share their experiences through the love for land, art, food, wine and rural walks (Australian Capital Tourism, 2010).
Background to the research
The Australian Capital Tourism (ACT) has decided to promote and boost international tourism. Therefore, it has decided to have a better understanding of the needs, wants and satisfaction levels international visitors experience while visiting various attractions in Australia. The ACT knows that tourism is a leading contributor to the economy of Australia. The ACT has realised that tourists are constantly demanding value for their money, particular high quality attraction sites.
At the same time, the focus on customers’ satisfaction has also taken centre stage in the service sector. Past studies indicate that the level of satisfaction in Australia tourism sector depends on various situational variables such as resource settings, social settings and management settings.
At the same time, these situational variables depend upon the subjective evaluations of individual visitors according to their socioeconomic characteristics, cultural characteristics, preferences, attitude, norms and experiences (Solomon, 2006). Situational variables also take into account the basic overall atmosphere, reception facilities, quality of parking facilities, provisions of information and maps, resourceful tour guides and value for money in retail products.
In view of this, the ACT plans to better understand the nature of international tourism demands, with the aim of improving varieties of attraction sites and focusing on the international tourists’ satisfaction. Therefore, this research proposal shall critically evaluate and determine most appropriate methodology for this study.
The management decision problem
The ACT management main concerns are improving the level of international tourists’ satisfaction and offer varieties of attractions for tourists. Canberra and its surrounding regions have several attraction sites. These attractions include sighting seeing native wildlife in their natural environment, natural beaches and its attractions, visits to snowy mountains and skiing and walking in the alpine flowers to the mountain peak.
The promotion must also promote the beautiful city and Australian capital, Canberra with its gardens and homes. The ACT should build a strong brand in order to position Canberra as a destination that offers value for money, experiences of the unique culture, and varieties of experiences to visitors.
The marketing campaigns are visible across the globe through traditional means such as TV commercials, print advertisement, posters, brochures and billboards. The use of Australian celebrities to endorse and promote attraction sites in Canberra will also be effective. The local movie industry should promote the beautiful scenes of Canberra as shooting sites in order to draw tourists (Parker, 2007).
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The ACT can dedicate websites to broadcasting the amazing and attraction sites of Canberra through YouTube with documentaries, Facebook, online brochures and books, iPhone applications for real-time updates and internet call centres for potential visitors to use via computers.
The research problem and key objectives
Australian tourism sector is experiencing stiff competition from other tourists’ destinations of the world. The ACT main concern is to appeal and increase the number of international visitors to Australia. Likewise, tourism being a service industry must always maintain a higher level of visitors’ satisfactions. Therefore, this research proposal seeks to address how to increase the number of international visitors and improve on visitors’ satisfaction in Australia through the following research objectives.
- To provide a systematic and comprehensive overview of the current status of Australia tourism, with emphasis on market position, competitiveness, environmental, economic and social impacts.
- To introduce the principles of sustainable tourism development for the tourism sector future in Australia.
- To identify options for tourism development with reference to the future scenarios and Australia vision for a tourism sector.
- To address different levels and categories of visitors’ satisfaction, with the future improvements in relation to the global, national and local growth in the tourism sector of Australia.
Type of research
A survey design gives numeric accounts of the subjects’ attitudes, trends and opinions through studying a section of the population. The researcher will use the sample results to give a general claim about the study of population. The basic plan for this study is to test the current level of tourism and tourists’ satisfaction in Canberra. The research will aim to get the general impacts visits to Canberra invoke in tourists. The outcome of the research will be essential in defining the country’s vision for future tourism development.
The survey design will introduce readers to purpose and rationale of the study. Therefore, it is necessary to begin designing the survey by presenting the purpose of the research and the rationale for selecting a given design for the study.
This study generalises from a section of the participants so that the researcher can make conclusions through grouping of tourism attitudes, behaviour, trends and characteristics of their visits. The researcher likes the use of questionnaires as a method of data gathering due to its simple design and quick turnaround time in gathering data.
This proposal shall adopt the use of qualitative technique to conduct the study. The researcher shall use qualitative technique to collect data about the activities, events, occurrences and behaviour, and to seek an understanding of actions, problems, and processes in the social context of tourism. According to Bryman and Burgess, social scientists consider qualitative approaches most appropriate in the mainstream study of social events. Therefore, it is not an adjunct to quantitative works (Hall, 2004).
Identifications and definitions of study variables are necessary in any research study. These enable the researcher to relate variables with particular questions in the questionnaire. This section enables readers to evaluate and make quick relations among variables, questions of the study, and content of the survey instruments.
It shows clearly how the researcher intends to use questionnaire items. There might be a plan to use tables that link the variables, hypotheses, questions, and a given survey questionnaire. This is useful where large number of participants take part in the study.
In tourism research, there is a progressive move to provide statistical insights into issues relating to market and movement trends, income generation, quantity of consumptions among others. However, quantitative study will provide us with the data relating to human dimensions of society, which in tourism include its social and cultural implications.
Qualitative study in tourism focus on subjects in their natural settings, interpret events in reference to meanings visitors bring to them, making the problem real and gaining the emic or insiders’ views on issues of tourism (Morgan, 2004).
Conversely, quantitative studies in tourism also provide the etic or outsiders’ perspective in social studies. It seeks to highlight, and then remedy the deficiencies of in other research methods.
Type of information
This research study seeks to collect various types of information from the sample population. Firstly, there are predetermined rigid research agendas. These will address issues concerning economics, marketing and management in the survey. The researcher has already shaped the nature of the study.
Research participants will only provide the information needed. Secondly, there will studies that seek to quantify qualitative data. Surveys will generate both quantitative and qualitative data. In tourism studies, the researcher puts emphasis on the quantitative dimension of the study or attempts to quantify qualitative data in order to present a positive interpretation of the findings. He can do this by introducing scales to measure attitude, knowledge among others.
Thirdly, the study will also aim at generating tourists typologies. It will aim to conceptualise tourist as international, domestic, business visitors, age, gender, race, class among other categories. The research also aims to at generating and stereotypes various categories of tourists in terms on hosts, guests and destinations.
Data collection method
Data collection method is an essential part of any research process. This research shall adopt the use of in-depth interviews as data gathering technique. Quantitative surveys will provide us with descriptive about tourists, which might be already available from previous studies.
For deep knowledge and understanding of tourists’ experiences, the researcher will use in-depth method. In-depth interviews enable the researcher to collect data related to experiences and meanings of tourism visits. Tourism research must focus on investigating the meaning of visits for individuals in order to get deep knowledge for various visit patterns, with the aim of understanding why and how different people view tourism (Faulkner, 2002).
In-depth interviews are the appropriate method to accomplish the aim of collecting qualitative, experiential data. Tourism scholars note that at the root of in-depth interview is an interest in understanding the experience of other people and the meaning people make of their experiences. Using in-depth interviews will also enable the researcher to adopt an inductive process in order to identify patterns in the collected data. This leads to development of grounded theory based on tourists’ actual experiences (Beall, 2010).
The research sampling technique takes into account the target population and its key characteristics. Sampling technique will also identify sampling frame and justify the chosen technique, and make assumptions. This research shall adopt purposive sampling. The researcher already has a sample in mind. The researcher has a predefined group of tourists he is seeking to participate in the survey.
The first criterion is that the participant must meet the criteria of being an international tourist. Purposive sampling is vital in situations where the researcher must reach the targeted tourists quickly, and in situations whereby proportionality is not important part of the research concern. Purposive sampling will enable the researcher to get the opinions of the targeted tourists (Jupp, 2006).
The aim of this purposive sampling is to include all views and opinions of the participants. Therefore, the sampling method will be heterogeneity or diversity. The global approach in tourism studies makes the researcher focus more on ideas and disregard concerns for average or modal occurrences. At the same, the research interest is to sample ideas and not people. Therefore, in order to obtain broad categories of ideas and sets of data, the researcher must include all the diverse range of tourists to participate in the survey.
The survey intendeds to include youths ranging between the age of 15 years to 30 years old. This group will give their experience to cool tourists’ sites in Canberra, and to determine the effectiveness of social media in promotion of Canberra as the ultimate destination of tourist attraction.
The survey will also focus on families. Their views will enable the researcher to determine what scenes in Canberra families mostly visit. At the same time, they will also provide their experiences in relation to the level of services and satisfaction.
Canberra also positions itself as a business destination. Business tourists may have opportunities to give the experiences with the facilities, usage and comparisons to others in different parts of the world they have visited.
Another mandatory target population will involve tourists of all ages under the categories of things to do and see. Canberra boasts of amusement sites, food, wine, entertainment and nightlife, museums and galleries, natural attractions, outdoor and nature, precincts and shopping malls.
This category is important since it covers almost all the tourist destinations in Canberra and all manner of tourists. All these categories of target samples must take into account the background information such as age, economic activities, education, and employment status of tourist (Pearce, 2009).
Plan for data analysis
The progress of data collection in the study samples lead to identifications of various themes in the data, which are vital for developing theoretical sampling in the selection of the later participants.
The diversity of participants will result into a collection of data with the fascinating insights into varied ways in which tourists define and experience Canberra. This will further give the researcher many intriguing tourists’ experiences to illustrate the findings.
The researcher must put a plan of data analysis in place before deciding on research design. After the interview, the research will conduct verification of the collected data for accuracy and clean irrelevant data. There will also be constant comparison of data as a continuous process. The constant comparison of data works well with grounded theory.
The process begins during the interview stage whereby the researcher incorporates the emerging patterns into the later interviews in order to substantiate their relevance to other individuals. The concept aims at working towards theoretical saturation whereby the patterns in the data have all been explored so that any theory generated from the data is as comprehensive as possible.
Achievement of saturation leads to application of constant techniques to analyse the data. First, the researcher does the open coding, whereby he classifies the behaviour into broad categories, then the data analysis continues (Sapsford and Jupp, 2006). Further, the researcher will refine the categories by means of axial coding and selective coding.
The researcher uses manual coding to develop themes of open, axial, and selective coding. The initial stage involves brainstorming of ideas, and then compares and contrasts the themes. The value of this method lies in the collaborative work of data analysis taken simultaneously by two analysts. This gives room for comparison and contrast of themes that emerge from data collected, and acceptance or rejection of these ideas reflecting the experiences of tourists.
The researcher can develop different themes depending on the nature of the respondents selected. For instance, international tourists may exhibit cross-cultural differences with regard to their preferences. This will enable the researcher to identify, explore and develop a wide range of ideas during data analysis and interpretation. The researcher can identify the similarities and differences among various tourists from different parts of the world (Monippally, 2010).
Threats to validity
The researcher must take note of several threats to validity that affect the research outcome. Therefore, the researcher should identify threats to validity and connect them to the research design. Internal threats in tourism research include the experience of tourist participants that threaten the ability of the researcher to make accurate inferences using the data of the study.
Threats come from the use of irrelevant procedures such as adjusting questions during survey. Occasionally, participants may also cause a threat to validity. They may change their view during the study.
Researcher must also identify threats to external validity. The researcher may draw incorrect conclusion from the sample population, past and future trends of tourism development in Canberra. The researcher may generalise above the population under study to include other international tourists not interested in Canberra.
Likewise, there are also threats that may influence conclusion due to disregards of statistical processes, poor analysis, and use of inaccurate data. The researcher can avoid these threats through wide use of available literature.
The scientific rigour in the analysis of data must demonstrate and reflect true accounts of tourists and their experiences. This must ensure the credibility of the data collected. This method should allow the researcher to generate a grounded theory from the data collected rather than impose his own.
This helps to eliminate biases during data analysis. The nature of this method will allow the sign to make recommendations based on the actual accounts and experiences of tourists. The researcher may adopt the use of data analysis tools such as computer programmes e.g. SPSS and Excel depending on his level of expertise (Pallant, 2005). The use of SPSS will be appropriate since the research design will use a single-subject design.
There will be graphs and charts to provide presentation and analysis of target behaviour, treatment of observations, and units of trends and time tourists’ activities. There will also be tests of statistical significance, which the researcher will use to compare the mean, median and frequencies of the sample tourists.
Conclusions and recommendations
Tourism in Canberra is a major foreign earner in Australia. Therefore, the ACT must give tourism industry attention it deserves by addressing the dynamics of the global tourism trends and visitors’ satisfaction. Conducting a market research will give valuable insights, which ACT must incorporate in its future development of the tourism sector.
ACT should focus on the provision of quality but affordable services to tourists. Affordable services will ensure that Canberra is globally competitive in the tourism industry. ACT must provide better facilities particularly for visitors who may experience language difficulties through information centres. This is the first stage in attracting visitors from all over the world. Customers’ satisfaction must focus on both local and international tourists.
ACT should also pay close attention to emerging social media as a significant channel of communication to reach youth tourists. Better understanding the potential of this segment in tourism through what the studies say they want is improving their favourite places such as beaches, high-energy involving activities such as skiing, racing among other.
The research findings on the current status of Australia tourism with special attention to its position of competitiveness, economic, social and environmental impacts must be given priority. Modern customers have become environmental-conscious and would not like a country, which does not take measures to protect its environment. At the same time, results on social, economic and competitiveness impacts of global tourism must provide necessity to fill the gap for future improvements.
ACT must incorporate the principle of sustainable tourism development in its future plan to make the industry viable. This may cover a wide range of areas from the products and services Canberra offers its visitors to the utilisation of such products and services. Addressing the future of tourism in Canberra must take into the country’s vision for the tourism industry.
The authorities have not necessarily match the growth on the amount of tourism research by a concomitant increase in the quality of research in the field. While researchers have made progress over the last decade, many of the criticisms raised in terms of the degree of methodological sophistication and the lack of a strong theoretical base are still useful. There is a growing need to study tourism further as new issues and problems appear. The increasing significant of the sector enlarges its social, economical, environmental and political environment. However, there is a need to understand the phenomenon by addressing the quality of the research researchers’ conduct and how they can improve it.
This course has satisfied my expectations and provided me with valuable knowledge in conducting market research to address the various challenges of the global markets. International issues and applications of various theories and practices to support different behaviour of diverse consumers help students to understand the behaviour of consumers toward certain products and services.
At the same time, the fundamental lessons the course has provided regarding cultural orientations and their influence on consumer behaviour form a basis for understanding cross-cultural markets.
Market research provides valuable knowledge in how to design and conduct market research. Likewise, the research expertise the students gain will enable students to apply it in a real world where such knowledge is useful in solving future emerging trends in marketing.
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