Competitive Destination Planning: The Case of Costa Rica
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Liu, Zhaoping; Lo, Sara; Vasconcellos, Paula; Siguaw, Judy D.B.A.; Enz, Cathy A.
Travelers' attitudes and activities provide a strong indication of the status of a particular destination with regard to whether it is still being discovered or whether it is headed for decline. Using Stanley Plog's long-established continuum of travelers' psychographic types as matched to their preferred destinations, this study examines travelers' habits and attitudes, using a sample of U.S. tourists to Costa Rica. An analysis of that information provides inferences about Costa Rica's status on the continuum of tourism destinations. Although the respondent pool is relatively small and is self-selected, the results suggest that Costa Rica may be losing some of its cachet as a relatively unknown destination for venturesome travelers (known as Venturers, in Plog's continuum). Instead, the results give strong indication that development in Costa Rica has reached the point that the nation appeals to the broad mid-market of travelers, whom Plog dubs Mid-Centrics. While destination planners may at first applaud the increased arrival numbers of the Mid-Centrics, it soon becomes apparent that they spend less than the intrepid Venturer-type visitors, and their presence encourages the kind of rampant development that leads to a destination's decline.
tourism; Costa Rica; travelers" psychographics
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