Adventure Tourism Motivation and Destination Loyalty: a Comparison of Decision and Non-Decision Makers

Shintaro Sato, Waseda University
Hany Kim, University of Queensland
Richard J. Buning, Waseda University
Munehiko Harada, Waseda University


Through a survey method, this study compares the process of how travel decision makers (DMs) and non-decision makers (Non-DMs) are motivated to travel and how they develop destination loyalty in an adventure tourism setting. The term 'DMs' refers to those individuals who make travel choices for a trip while 'Non-DMs' are those who take the trip but do not make the travel choices (e.g. family members). Data were collected from Japanese rafting tourists (N=597) in Niseko, a famous adventure sport destination. The results demonstrate that the tourism motivations of DMs and Non-DMs differ, with DMs being more likely to pursue excitement compared to Non-DMs, who tend to be more motivated by family-related needs. The findings also show that DMs' destination loyalty is predicted by rafting services and cultural aspects of the destination. However, tourist satisfaction failed to mediate the relationship between pull motivations and destination loyalty for the DM group. Furthermore, these destination attributes also predicted Non-DMs' destination loyalty indirectly through tourist satisfaction. Destination marketers in adventure tourism settings should understand that the key to successful destination marketing isto develop destination loyalty among Non-DMs by satisfying their expected destination attributes while at the same time providing extraordinary experiences that exceed the expectations of the DM.