Author: Chang, Ya-ping Angela
Title: The experience of pilgrimage tourists : a case of the Dajia Mazu Patrol and Pilgrimage
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2016
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tourism -- Religious aspects.
Pilgrims and pilgrimages.
Tourism -- Religious aspects -- Taiwan.
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xi, 335 pages : illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Pilgrimage is one of the ancient forms of tourism and remains a major religious feature of the contemporary world. Throughout human history, certain destinations have achieved a reputation as pilgrimage sites. Examples can be seen in the growing number of pilgrims to Mecca, Jerusalem, Ganges River in India, and Dajia, Taiwan, numbers that illustrate the surging pilgrimages. The power of religion to lure people to sacred destinations has gained considerable attention among researchers and people employed in pilgrimage tourism. Interest in this field of study grows in accordance with the religious beliefs and aspirations to perform religious services. Previous studies covered a wide range of topics from pilgrimage typology to pilgrimage destination and from pilgrim taxonomy to pilgrims' motivations. These studies have discussed the themes of pilgrimage, how the role of a pilgrimage in modifying a destination's image, distinguished the types of pilgrimage tourists, and examined the motivations for pilgrimage participation. Despite the amount of academic inquiries into pilgrimage, relatively very little attention has been paid to examining the experience and behavioral intention of pilgrimage tourists. Informed by Cognitive-Affective-Conative (CAC) approach, this study is carried out designed to fill the research gap in the context of the Dajia Mazu Patrol and Pilgrimage in Taiwan. A conceptual framework is developed to model the relationships among the major constructs. The proposed model suggests that the pilgrimage tourist experience comprises four stages: perceived service quality, pilgrimage experience, destination image, and behavioral intention. Specifically, the behavioral intentions of pilgrimage tourists are determined by the perceived service quality through experiences and destination images gained during the pilgrimage.
Three theoretical implications can be drawn from this study. First, the behavioral characteristics of pilgrimage tourists in the dynamic context are examined based on the CAC framework. Second, a pilgrimage experience scale is developed and added to the literature, and can serve as a basis for future research into pilgrimage tourists' behavioral intention. The study contributes to the literature by developing a five-dimensional measurement scale for pilgrimage experience in the context of the pilgrimage field. It confirms that the pilgrimage experience scale is a useful measurement tool for evaluating the degree of pilgrimage tourist experience in a given pilgrimage activity. Third, in contrast to the majority of previous studies that were conducted in the context of relatively mature pilgrimage sites or Western countries, this study focuses on the newly emerging pilgrimage market, namely, Chinese and folklore religion. The study contributes to the tourism industry by revealing the potential of the pilgrimage tourist market and the difference between pilgrimage tourists and general tourists. By providing a clearer picture of this niche market, the study helps pilgrimage organizers and marketers gain a better understanding of the pilgrimage tourist base. Specifically, this research can improve pilgrimage marketing strategies and systematize pilgrimage tourist intentions. Apart from discussing the theoretical and practical implications of this work, the limitation and possible future research streams of this study are also addressed.
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