Author: Poon, Chau Min
Title: Why airline transit passengers don't participate in tourism visits at transit destinations : an exploratory study
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2018
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tourists -- Psychology
Tourism -- Psychological aspects
Air travel
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: x, 177 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Over the last four decades, the liberalisation of international air services and the subsequent hubbing strategies of airlines to compete for business has led to a significant convergence of transit passengers waiting in hub airports for connecting flights. This study looked at transit passengers who took long haul flights from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere or vice versa and who stopped at en route airports in Asia to wait for connecting flights to onward destinations. The transit time between incoming and connecting flights at these en route airports often ranged between 7 and 12 hours or more, which should have produced opportunities for tourism visits to the transit destination, yet little transit tourism seemed to occur. To date, the concept of transit tourism and the consumption patterns of transit passengers at transit stops have rarely been critically examined and are only marginally understood from theoretical and empirical standpoints. By reviewing the literature and recorded documents from three fields: air transport management, transport management and tourism management, this study identified the underlying issues in developing transit tourism; and examined and analysed the factors and conditions necessary for airline transit passengers to participate in tourism visits at the transit destination. Based on the empirical results and findings from this research—which included a snowball sampling technique to access difficult-to-reach participants—the researcher developed a statistically significant model of nine predictors with a combined effect of predicting transit tourism. Starting from the basic marketing concept of AIDA, the model included an "O" for "opportunity" to explain why transit passengers do or do not visit the transit destination. Two substantial findings emerged from this research. First, transit passengers need to be made aware of the opportunity for transit tourism prior to arrival at the transit destination. Second, there is demand for a customized airport transit tour at the transit destination. When they leave the transit terminal to participate in tourism visits at the transit destination, transit passengers pass through immigration control and are converted to same-day visitors; and they assume the role of fully-fledged tourists, yielding tourist arrivals and tourism expenditure to the transit destination. The study concluded that transit tourism is an opportunity missed. The researcher thus calls for a tripartite partnership comprised of airline operators, airport operators and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) of the transit destinations to employ a common strategy to tap into the emerging transit passenger segment. This research makes a significant contribution to the industry and to the academic domain. It can be used to inform an airline's ticketing sales strategies, an airport's non-aeronautical revenue strategies, and a DMO's product development strategies to further grow tourism business. Academically, this study initiates a new line in tourism research, which should stimulate interest in further studies to improve the systematic analysis of transit tourism, a subset of urban tourism.
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