1 Lebanon, we were interested in the attitudes

1       
INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Background of the study

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It is in human nature to be curious
and try to figure out what lies beyond our own boundaries, and ever since the
ancient Greeks and Romans human beings have been travelling. However, over the
past decades, the tourism industry had experienced a continued progress,
increased variety, and become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in
the world. The evolving marketplace of the travel industry has started
recognizing the importance of understanding the attitudes, beliefs, and values
of today’s travelers for a more profitable, satisfactory, and higher quality of
service opportunities. Matters that will be discussed in this project are how
people’s attitudes, behavior, and knowledge influence their choice of
destination. The chosen segment is specifically the travelling attitude and
destination images of GULF consumers. Because both of us writers are originally
from Lebanon, we were interested in the attitudes of the GULF towards Lebanon
as a tourism destination, and also how Lebanon can use this knowledge to their
benefit/advantage and market Lebanon in a way making it a more welcoming/appealing
destination for GULF travelers. Because Lebanon is not a very familiar place to
most Khalijis, we would also like to see how the knowledge of the area, and the
information we provide to the respondents/participants in the empirical part of
the project can change their attitudes and perceptions about Lebanon.

 

1.2 Aims of the study and Research
questions

 

The primary aim of this study is to
examine the factors influencing the choice of holiday destination, and how
important the role of destination image is in the decision making process. The
secondary aim is to get Khaliji people’s view on Lebanon, and how to suggest
ways of improving or upgrading the marketing of Lebanon so it reaches the
requirements of the potential GULF consumers.

 The aim of the research is to enrich the GULF
people’s knowledge of Lebanon as a potential tourism destination through a
short interview.

 

 

 

 

The research questions are as
follows:

A. How does one’s attitudes,
knowledge, and behavior influence the choice of holiday destination?

B. How important is the destination
image?

C. What is the Khalihi tourists’
attitude and behavior towards Lebanon as a tourism destination?

D. How can Lebanon be marketed in a
way that reaches the requirements of the GULF tourist?

 

1.3 The structure of the Project

 

The project starts with an
introduction chapter 1 where the reasons for the research, the goal of the
research as well as the research problem are explained. Continuing the thesis
goes in to chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 for the theoretical framework. Chapter 2
explains the concept of attitude, as well as how it is formed and modified.
Chapter 3 examines first more deeply the general view of consumer behavior, and
it ends with consumer behavior in tourism. Also in this chapter, the correlation
between attitude and behavior is explained. In chapter 4, the basics of
marketing and how a destination can be marketed is studied and the
destination’s image is presented. Chapter 5 gives an intro to Lebanon briefly
as well as describes the region’s tourism elements. The second part of the project
is the research study, which consists of methodology, data collection, analysis
of data and a conclusion to the project. The project is closed with research
criticism and suggestions for further studies.

 

1.4  Restrictions within the research

 

Because of life changing
circumstances, being a full-time student as well as working led to some
restrictions on the aim, time, and the execution of the project. Originally it
was planned to do both a qualitative and quantitative research, and complete
the writing of the project by the beginning of the fall of 2017. However,
because of personal life changes causing distance between us, and lack of time
spent on the project, the work was divided in parts, and constructed together
over email and instant messaging. As mentioned we had the intention of doing a
quantitative research study, a questionnaire, but unfortunately that was left
out of the plan due to a lack of time. Another restriction was to get in to
contact with possible participants, Finnish people, for the interview as we had
no previous personal contacts with them.

2       
ATTITUDES

 

Every day we are being asked to
express our attitudes as a consumer, we all have a large number of attitudes towards
products, services, advertisements, direct mail, the Internet, and retail
stores, for example. We might be asked whether we like or dislike a product
(e.g. a Sony DVD player), a service (e.g. ALFA broadband Internet service), a
particular retailer (e.g. Spinneys), and a specific direct marketer (e.g. Aliexpress),
or an advertising theme (e.g. McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ it”). In all these
circumstances we are put in a certain position to explicit our opinion, in this
case our attitude. (Schiffman, Kanuk – 2004, p.251) Our everyday lives are
influenced by attitudes, and affected in the ways which we judge, and react
towards other people, objects, and events. The word “attitude” is often used in
everyday conversations, but few are likely able to define the precise meaning
of the term. You might be asked, “What is your attitude towards foreigners”, or
someone might nag, “Dude I don’t like your attitude”. Attitude is not a concept
that can be easily defined, and there is no agreed precise definition of
“attitude” among social psychologists.

 

2.1 Definitions of attitudes

 

What are then attitudes? As
mentioned earlier, there is no agreed definition for the term attitude, and
different academicians and researcher have defined attitudes in various ways:
the following have been listed here to show the many researchers approach
towards the term. Oxford dictionary defines attitudes as a settled way of
thinking or feeling about something – he was questioned on his attitude to South
Africa. This sounds simple and easy to understand but attitudes are related to
a person’s thoughts and feelings which cannot be easily observed because they
are not part of the person’s physical 13 features and we do not have passage to
an individual’s mind. This makes attitudes a hypothetical characteristic and,
therefore, many different researchers have different definitions on the term.
(Oxford dictionaries – online) Icek Ajzen, professor of Social Psychology and
author of Attitudes, Personality, and Behavior 2nd ed. (2005), characterizes
attitude as a disposition where one responds in favor or unfavorably to an
object, person, institution, or event. Chris Fill defines attitudes as,
“Attitudes are learned through past experiences and serve as a link between
thoughts and behavior”. Attitudes are, therefore, distinguished by a preference
or state where one is prepared to respond – because of experiences in
comparable situations in the past – in a certain way to particular stimuli
(Fill – 2006, p. 62) As with the interpretations mentioned above, there might
be disagreements on the precise definition and nature of the term, but at the
same time there seems to be a general understanding that attitudes are somewhat
enduring systems which influence an individual to respond in a certain way.
Attitude is a predetermined behavior, and manner to respond and react to
related objects, concepts or situations, and these behaviors and reactions are
created from previous experiences.

 

 

2.2 Formation of attitudes

 

How do attitudes form? That is
something no one seems to neither question nor think about much. No one is born
with an attitude, but gradually as we humans go on with our lives, attitudes
start to form. They might form from an advertisement towards a product or a brand
or they might mode from a friend’s behavior. There are many internal and
external factors which model and create our attitudes towards an object, or in
our case a destination. In one of the few theories on the formation of
attitudes, it is stated that people use observations of their own behavior to
determine what their attitudes are. Just as 14 we assume that we know the
attitudes of others by watching what they do. The theory also states that we
maintain consistency by concluding that we must have a positive attitude
towards an object if we have bought it or consumed it. Thus, buying a product
out of habit may result in a positive attitude towards it (Solomon, Bamossy,
Askegaard, – 1999, p. 129-130). Consumers constantly form their attitudes
towards known and unknown products, thus, in some cases tighten their attitudes
towards a specific brand which they are satisfied and familiar with. By being
accustomed to always purchasing and using the same brand and, of course, being
satisfied with the products provided by the same company, consumers tend to
create a positive attitude towards the brand which leads to a favorable
attitude. Consumers often purchase new products that are associated with a
favorably viewed brand name. Their favorable attitude toward the brand name is
frequently the result of repeated satisfaction with other products produced by
the same company. (Schiffman, Kanuk – 2004, p. 265) However, sometimes
attitudes follow the purchase and consumption of a product. For example, a
consumer might buy a brand name product without having a prior attitude toward
it because it is the only product of its kind available (e.g. the last bottle
of aspirin at a gas station). Consumers may also make trial purchases of new
brands from product categories in which they have little personal involvement.
As expected, if they find the products to be satisfactory, then they are likely
to form a favorable attitude toward it. (Schiffman, Kanuk – 2004 p. 265) 

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