Tourist perceptions and decision-making
Studies of tourist decision-making reveal aspects such as the expectation and availability of attractions at a destination (a pull factor). These aspects result in the likelihood of travel. Tourists' perceptions of destinations produce 'images' of the destination that may be organic images (based on the tourists' experience and general knowledge) or induced (the result of deliberate marketing and promotion).
Researchers from Lincoln University surveyed 731 visitors to Christchurch, both domestic and international in origin, over the period 2002/2003. The objective of this research was to provide base data on the decision-making process of visitors to Christchurch, focusing in particular on information sources and timing of itinerary planning. The Lincoln University survey investigated visitor characteristics (e.g. age, gender, country of origin) and included questions on knowledge of Christchurch, perceived information needs and decision-making processes.
In total, 54 per cent of those people surveyed were female, while the remaining 46 per cent were male. The age distribution of the survey samples is shown in Table 8. This survey sample included a lower than expected number of domestic visitors (see Table 9), which is a possible reflection of the sample sites (primarily in the central city). The implication is that domestic visitors to Christchurch do not appear to frequent the major tourist sites visited by international visitors where the sampling occurred.
Nature of visitor sample
Table 8. Age distribution of visitors to Christchurch
|15 - 19
|20 - 24
|25 - 29
|30 - 34
|25 - 39
|40 - 44
|45 - 49
|50 - 54
|55 - 50
|60 - 64
|65 - 69
Table 9. Nationality of visitors to Christchurch
|Country/region of origin
Table 11. Visitors’ planning of New Zealand itinerary
|Mainly at home
|Mainly while travelling in New Zealand
|Half and half
Table 12. Influences on visitors’ decision to travel to Christchurch
|Advice from friends and family
|Not visited Christchurch before
|Previous visit to Christchurch
Note: Multiple responses obtained. Percentages do not total 100%.
Moore, K., Simmons, D.G. and Fairweather, J.R. (2003). Visitors to Christchurch: Characteristics and Decision Making. Tourism Recreation Research and Education Centre (TRREC), Lincoln University, Report No. 32.
Sleeman, R. and Simmons, D.G. (2003). Christchurch and Canterbury Visitor Profile and Forecasts. Tourism Recreation Research and Education Centre (TRREC), Lincoln University, Report No. 30.
- Study Table 9. What percentage of the visitors were from Europe? What percentage of visitors were from Asia? Suggest reasons why so many come from Europe with so few from Asia, Australia and USA.
- Study Table 12. You are a member of the New Zealand Tourism Board. Make recommendations based on this Table for publicity to encourage more visitors to Christchurch. Set priorities for expenditure on publicity and produce and action plan for the Board.
- Suggest reasons why an overwhelming proportion (89.9%) of respondents made the decision to travel to Christchurch while at home.