Tourism is used as a revenue generator in many countries. With an increased world population, tourist population has grown accordingly. People travel because of different reasons, some of which are personal, while others are job oriented. Beard and Ragheb identify the various push and pull reasons that people base their decisions on for traveling.
The push and pull reasons are usually personal, and they vary depending upon a person. He also adds that the push factors usually stimulate a person to travel, while the pull factors are the ones that contribute to the choice of the destination. Further, they identify other factors that influence people’s choice to travel, namely, the reason to meet friends and family’s members, tourism experience and, in general, aesthetic satisfaction (Beard, & Ragheb, 1983 p. 52).
This paper reviews the various literature on the personal reasons for people to travel. Moutinho classifies the factors that make a person travel in accordance with the push and the pull factors. Push factors are the factors that make a person move out of one particular place, while the pull factors are the factors that enable a person to open new destinations.
The major social factors that influence a person to travel are the person’s family, his or her friends, his/her personality (determined by culture), the expected experiences from the tour, motivation, attitude and perception the tour has made on the person, ect (Moutinho 1987, p. 37).
Internal factors that influence travelling are the socio-cultural as well as other factors that affect consumers’ decisions on consumption. The need to travel appears when the trip ends. The expectations of a tourist usually help him/her to determine his/her reasons for the tour; hence there arise motivation and desire of the person to travel.
People travel to search, explore and enhance their psychological mobility. The reasons of travelling are categorized into the general travelling reasons and the specific ones. The general reasons are the ones that the tourist could not be fully aware of, while the specific reasons are the ones that the tourist fully realizes, and are some of the basic reasons of the choice of his or her latest destination.
According to the Moutinho (1987, p. 25), cultural aspects that affect peoples’ decisions on travelling include the elements of culture, for example, the values of the people, their beliefs and attitudes of people towards things, places, issues, etc. The cultural factors determine the person’s consumer behavior, tastes and preferences.
Through socializing, people get to internalize the norms of the society they live in. The internalized norms shape a person’s perception and what they expect of the destination they would like to tour. Thus, different people with different diverse cultural backgrounds have different ways in which they perceive the tour to various resorts (Moutinho 1987, p. 30).
The social factors influencing the need to travel include the family ties, the religious factors, the ethnic background, etc. Moutinho (1987, p. 33) classifies these factors as primary or secondary, formal and informal. Personal factors that affect the choice of one’s decisions to travel are the age, economic situation, an occupation of a person, his/her character traits and his/her lifestyle.
The person’s self esteem and image are other influential factors. In other words, it is a definite picture of the person in his or her mind of how he or she sees and perceives himself or herself, and what he or she hopes to become in the future.
The self esteem of a tourist contributes to his/her choice of the destination as well as the services that are offered in the tour. The evaluation and the judgment of things are influenced by the perception and the cognition a person has. The learning and travelling experiences add to a number of personal factors (Moutinho 1987, p. 24).
A person often travels in order to learn other people’s cultures. Psychological factors are other personal issues that impact the person’s choice of a tourist destination. Understanding psychological factors is hard since psychological factors are difficult and complex. Many studies regard the following reasons for travelling as personal, namely, the need to rest, learn (for increasing knowledge), have adventures, better physical form or simply have some rest mentally and physically (Beard & Ragheb 1983, p. 219).
Previous travelling experiences
Travelling has its good as well as its bad sides. The past experience in regards to one’s travelling can either be a good or bad one, depending on the experiences the tourist has had. A tour can be advantageous to the traveler especially when the person gets fun out of it.
The tour maybe adventurous, expand one’s knowledge about some particular place, its people and their culture, etc. On the other hand, a traveler can end up being disappointed by the tour or the place of destination. The bad experiences may include robbery, for example, or there may be political instability in the country he or she travels to that may deter a person from travelling.
Unlike Murray who argues that the previous experience from travelling is only considered as a factor at the information and motivation stage, Lysonski (1989, p. 8) points out that the travelling experience should be taken as an influential variable just like others in the choice of a destination venue for travelling. Other authors like Gnoth (1997, p. 7) do count on the previous travelling experience but they count on the unpleasant experience during the previous travel that influences the decisions in regards to the traveling destination.
A more recent study by Chen and Gursoy (2001, p. 82) indicated that travelling experience has no influence on the tourists’ choice of a destination place. Tourists with a wide travel experience are more confident in the choice of their tourist destinations. Therefore, the bad or good experience that a person gets when travelling will at least contribute to the choice of his or her future destinations.
There are a host of external reasons for one’s travelling, some of which are beyond the person’s control. A good example is when a person is on a business trip. In this case the person is forced to travel to some destination he has never intended to, or in other words, he or she travels against his or her will.
However, the person has to do that because of other reasons, namely, it is one of his or her job’s responsibilities. Other people have to travel to attend to seminars, etc, for instance. There is need for such travelers to decide their destination, time to depart and come back, the duration of their stay in another country or any other resort. One more reason for travelling is travelling as a refugee. Refugees are usually forced to change their place of living by the hostile environment at their home country.
The above factors are the factors that do not depend on the person. He or she is in a position to choose a place that best suits him or her. These factors include confidence in the travel agency, comparison with the other available alternatives, and the expected risks during the journey, among many others.
According to Murray, the expected risk in the tour destination is one of the major concerns for many tourists and the countries that act as tourist destinations. The language, fashion, common borders etc., are of importance especially in the developing countries (Murray,1938, p. 76).
Moutinho (1987, p. 25) argues that for one to understand the behavior of consumers, he or she needs to understand the internal and external factors that influence their decision making. There are many other factors that influence the choice of a travelling destination; hence there is always the need to travel. They are called psychological factors, cultural factors and social factors in many other studies.
Push and pull factors
Push and pull factor basically refer to the factors that make people leave a place or the factors that can attract people to some particular place. Other authors recognize the push and pull factors that determine the travel destination of a person. The distinction is made between these factors, whereby the push factors are those that stimulate the person to see the need for travelling, while the pull factors are those that influence the destination choice of tourists.
By means of the pull factors that influence the choice of a tourist’s destination, his or her preferences, needs and choices can be known. Push factors are regarded as change of environment, education, adventure and exploration, among other factors. On the other hand,
Turnball and Uysal stress out the pull factors that attract a person to travel; they are the need to interact with friends or family members, gain experience as a tourist, study, etc. In addition to the pull factors, there should be other factors that will actually convince a person to make the desired choice (Turnball & Uysal, p. 85).
The factors that influence the choice of travelling are very important especially to the tour destination providers. Through the provision of such information, they are able to know which package is best for the tourists from different parts of the world.
Tourism management has a keen interest in the study of the diverse cultural backgrounds, the internal, personal and social factors that determine the destination. Moutinho argues that when the tourists’ social-cultural and personal internal factors are not considered, the tourist destination will no longer attract tourists hence it may close down.
He goes further to say that understanding the travel needs of a traveler requires a deep understanding of internal and external factors that influence choice of a tourist destination. Also, the external factors are of importance since they determine the type of adventure that a tourist will have to experience. The failure on the part of the management to initiate the need to travel will mean that the management is not competitive enough and it will lose the market for other tourist destinations.
However, other authors like Gnoth point out that this factor is as important as other factors considered in decision making. This study is vital because it is utilized by the industry of hospitality, which is based on the above findings to provide better and quality services to the tourists.
Beard, Jacob & Ragheb, Mounir. Measuring leisure motivation, Journal of Leisure Research, vol. 10, no. 3 (1983): pp.46-78.
Chen, Jen-Shi & Gursoy, Dogan. An Investigation of Tourist’s Destination Loyalty and Preferences, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 13, no. 2 (2001): 75-85. Print.
Gnoth, Juergen. Strengthening Tourism SME Brands, University Of Otego, Otego 1997. Print.
Lysonski, John & Woodside, Arch. Building the Theories of Decision Making by Travelers, Boston College, U.S, pp. 96-152. 1991. Print.
Moutinho, L’Equipe. Consumer Behavior in Tourism, European Journal of Tourism, vol. 21, no. 10 (1987): 5-44. Print.
Murray, Henry. Explorations in Personality, Oxford University Press, New York. 1938. Print.
Turnball, Densa & Uysal, Muzaffer. An exploratory study of German visitors to the Caribbean: Push and pull motivation, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, vol. 4, no. 2, Quarterly (1995): 219-228. Print.