Antecedents of Behavioral Intention Towards Sustainable Tourism Destination: Case Study of Isfahan, Iran

Antecedents of Behavioral Intention Towards Sustainable Tourism Destination: Case Study of Isfahan, Iran

Sahar Hosseinikhah Choshaly (Islamic Azad University – Lahijan, Iran) and Marva Mirabolghasemi (Islamic Azad University – Lahijan, Iran)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7253-4.ch006

Abstract

Tourism is one of the most important aspects for the development of the service sector and today is indeed an activity of considerable global economic importance. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the factors of environmental attitude, motivation, word-of-mouth, belief, and familiarity to predict the tourists' intention to select sustainable tourist destination in Isfahan province, which is one of the tourist attractions in Iran. This chapter is one of the first to develop and empirically test a model in the context of sustainable tourist destination in Iran using variables such as belief and familiarity.The respondents include 150 local tourists at different tourism locations in Isfahan state. This study uses a non-probability convenience sampling approach. Data is analyzed using SPSS and smart PLS software. The results indicate that the most influential factors that affect sustainable tourism destination in this case study are familiarity, environmental attitude, and motivation.
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Introduction

Tourism plays an important role in the development of the service sector and is considered as an important activity in global economics. Over the past 20 years, tourism has moved towards sustainable development. There are many tourism types which are divided by tourists’ travel goals; for example: business, tourism, ecotourism, health tourism, history tourism, rural tourism, conference tourism, cultural tourism etc. (Kahle-Piasecki, 2013). Ecotourism is considered as the origin of sustainable tourism. Sustainability in tourism includes fulfilling the requirements of visitors and host group as well as protecting and improving the tourism attraction as a part of a national economic resource (Swarbrooke,1999). For the economy of each country, tourism is considered as a high-income, safe, and clean industry. Therefore, it will be beneficial to develop the tourism sector in foreign and domestic dimensions (Papoli Yazdi and Saqai., 2006). Although the tendencies and awareness of tourists towards sustainable tourism are increasing, the number of individuals who participate in sustainable tourism remains are relatively low (Daud & Rahman, 2011). Considering the development in the tourism industry as well as changes in the climate and global environment has led to increase the number of tourists. Therefore, the issue of sustainability in tourism needs important strategies and actions (Farid et al., 2016). Tourism development can create positive changes through the ideas of sustainable tourism. In today’s world, sustainable tourism has become a major concern in different countries. Sustainable tourism development has attracted attention of many researchers in tourism studies (Bramwell &Lane, 2012).

Iran is one of the countries with many historical sites and heritage. Many domestic and international tourists are visiting Isfahan annually because of its tourism facilities and hospitable nature (Moharramnejad, Rahnamai, & Dorbeikii, 2013). Therefore, Isfahan requires tourism management and sustainable development (Moghimehfar& Nasr-Esfahani, 2011). Prayag et al. (2013) mentioned that one of the factors that influence the selection of sustainable destination is behavioural intention. Research in the area of behavioural intention is very important as an important predictor of tourist loyalty. The understanding tourists’ behavioural intention for planning to perform a certain behaviour is one the fundamental issues for destination managers because loyal visitors could provide more revenue and minimize the costs (Pratminingsih, Rudatin, & Rimenta, 2014). Researchers have shown that several factors such as motivation, satisfaction and destination loyalty factors are predictors of behavioural intention towards sustainable tourism (Chiu et al., 2016; Mohamad et al., 2011). Word-of-mouth (WOM) has been recognized as a significant factor that impacts on behavioural intention (Canny, 2013). Several studies posit that motivation and a positive recommendation from WOM have been identified by visitors (Mohd Isa & Ramli, 2014). Previous studies, mostly focused on examining service quality attributes and tourists’ destination loyalty (Akroush et al., 2016). However, these factors have not been examined within the concept of behavioural intention towards sustainable tourism in Iran. Moreover, prior studies on tourist intention did not examine the impact of personal factors such as belief and familiarity. Thus the main objective of this study is to examine attitudinal factors (attitude, motivation, word of mouth, belief, and familiarity) influencing behavioural intention towards sustainable tourism in Isfahan.

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