Research Tool for Estimating the Tourism Quality for Sustainable Development

Research Tool for Estimating the Tourism Quality for Sustainable Development

Felix Arion (Department of Economic Sciences, Research Laboratory “Business Administration and Rural Development,” University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Romania) and Iulia Muresan (Department of Economic Sciences, Faculty of Horticulture, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/ijsem.2012100101
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Abstract

This paper presents the design of an instrument for estimating the quality of tourism services in rural areas. For the purpose of this research the tourism services providers and tourist from Tarnava Mare Area were investigated. Both of the groups were asked to estimate the quality of the accommodation facilities and the quality of the tourist destination from their own point of view. The research method involved the use of two instruments: SERVQUAL and QUALITEST. The results of this research consist in two questionnaires, one address to the guesthouse owners, while the other is addressed to the visitors of the rural area.
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Introduction

In the last decade, the rural space was in the attention of many researches in terms of sustainable development (Jitea, 2011; Pocol, 2010). Beside the agricultural sector another important aspect that is also taken into consideration when talking about the sustainable development of rural area is tourism. Tourism development should refer to the demand, on one hand, and local strategies on the other hand. Market research need to be conducted for improving the quality of the tourist services. Specific instruments to estimate the quality of tourism destination and tourists’ services are needed to obtain proper results.

Rural tourism represents an alternative to the classic form of tourism, by offering the possibility of relaxing in a natural area, unsaturated, specific to each destination, with a large variety of tourism services and benefits (Dumitras et al., 2011).

Tourism development in rural area imposes conjugated efforts to assure services at a competitive quality for both basic and complex services. Along these efforts, it is necessary to adapt the supply to the demand. Providing quality services represents a competitive advantage for the investors and improves the profitability and the performances of the firm.

Based on the above mentioned aspects, the determination of the tourism attraction points and the estimation the quality’s level for tourism services represent the first steps in developing a strategy for rural tourism in Tarnava Mare Area.

To the objective of the research two main directions were established:

  • 1.

    To indentify of the main providers of tourism services and to establish their degree of satisfaction regarding the local action development for promoting and improving the destination imagine, and the satisfaction level about the main aspects.

  • 2.

    To conduct a research on the behavioral characteristics of the tourist and to identify their expectation from the guesthouses, and at the same time the perception of the quality services from which they benefit at the destination.

The method for data collection and processing selected for both studies was the inquiry, while the research instrument employed was the survey. The questionnaire design was based on the SERVQUAL method utilized to determine the services quality, and QUALITEST used to determine the quality of the tourism destination.

The SERVQUAL method was used for different categories of services, such as: private health care system (Butt & de Run, 2010), health and fitness sector (Soita, 2012) electronic commerce (Alzola & Robaiana, 2005), public services (Brysland & Curry, 2001), education (Shekarchizadeh et al., 2011), banking (Riadh, 2009), which was also adapted to tourism services (Bigne et al., 2003; Zhou & Pritchard, 2009), hotel industry (Devi Juwaheer, 2004).

The SERVQUAL model is discussed in different articles regarding the customers’ services satisfaction. Carlos et al. (2007) proposed a new approach of this model using a different scale to evaluate the services in rural tourism, according to their quality. The authors developed a valuable tool for the managers and administrators of tourist establishments, useful for appreciating the quality of services. Kouthouris and Alexadris (2005) used the method for estimating the quality in sport tourism industry. Bozorgi (2007) evaluated the quality of airline services. Grzinic (2007) analyzed the quality of 16 hotels from Opatijska Riviera on a sample of 253 tourists. Akbaba (2006) revealed how SERVQUAL method can be used in a business hotel in Turkey. Rozman et al. (2009) presented a method of ranking tourist farms by using a multi-criteria model based on the qualitative multi-criteria modeling methodology.

Based on previous studies it was considered necessary the development of an original model, adapted to specific realities of the studied area, which could help guesthouses managers to establish the quality of their services and the importance of local products in the development of rural tourism.

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