Korea Tourism Research Association
[ Article ]
International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research - Vol. 31, No. 10, pp.45-58
ISSN: 1738-3005 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Oct 2017
Received 23 Aug 2017 Revised 09 Sep 2017 Accepted 16 Sep 2017
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21298/IJTHR.2017.10.31.10.45

Tourists’ novelty-seeking motivation in nature-based tourism destinations
: The case of Vang Vieng city in Laos

Santivong Kitouna* ; Yeong-Gug Kim
*Graduate student, Department of Tourism Administration, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341 kit24haruka@gmail.com

Correspondence to: Associate professor, Department of Tourism Administration, Kangwon National University, e-mail: yeongkim@kangwon.ac.kr

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to discover the novelty-seeking motivations that contribute to visitors’ willingness to experience nature-based tourism, to evaluate the tourists’ overall satisfaction of their visit experiences, and to find out their behavioral intentions. A survey was conducted in Vang Vieng city, Laos, with a total of 390 copies used for data analysis with SPSS 21.0. The results of the analysis showed that four factors were derived from novelty-seeking motivation in the context of nature-based tourism: novelty learning, adventure, relaxation, and boredom relief. Visitors tended to be more satisfied in Vang Vieng city from novelty learning and adventure than from relaxation and boredom relief. Furthermore, visitors intended to recommend the destination to others based predominately on novelty learning, adventure, and boredom relief as opposed to relaxation. Both academic and practical implications are also discussed.

Keywords:

Novelty seeking motivation, Satisfaction, Behavioral Intentions, Laos, Nature-based tourism

Ⅰ. Introduction

Recently, the activities of work and other daily routines associated with the people lifestyle in the modern and chaos society, thereby lead to an increasing demand for diverse forms of international tourism, which several cases are external the traditional tourist scope (Kline, 2001). Over the several decades, ecology and the general natural environment has been creating the growth of interest in those forms of tourism due to a high interaction with the natural areas (Karmakar, 2011). Some previous studies mentioned that nature - based tourism is the most rapid growing component of the tourism industry, which includes excursions to natural areas (Olson et al., 2001). Nature - based tourism also contributes to gross domestic product (GDP) essentially to the host countries (Kuenzi & McNeely, 2008). Regarding the report of the UNWTO (2015), nature - based tourism account for 20% of total international travel and it is growing continuously.

A landlocked country, which is well - known as Laos, recently reaches a large number of tourists compared to a previous decade. Based on the updated 2015 statistical report on tourism in Laos, in 2015, the number of visitor arrivals in Laos has been increased to 4,684,429 from 4,158,719 in 2014 (MICT, 2015). Nowadays, more countries in South East Asia have an open door policy in which aims to induce more tourists into their region (Yiamjanya & Wongleedee, 2014), particularly the AEC policies of ASEAN member countries formalizing regional integration and willing to transform the ASEAN nations to become as one region for free movement of services, goods, professionals, free flow of investment, so that, it is also an advantage to persuade both regional and off - regional tourists traveling to Laos. According to the geography, natural profusion, historical and cultural aspects, Laos has its unique character which could attracts many tourists in rural remote areas, especially the places that are located nearby the protected forests, caves, rivers, well-known natural tourist sites and ethnic villages, therefore, nature - based tourism site is the major segment that should be more developed and promoted. Among the famous natural touristic cities in Laos, Vang Vieng city is one of the well - known tourist destinations, many tourist activities are consisted in Vang Vieng tourism based on its natural environment (Khamsay et al., 2015), particularly the river named as “Nam Xong”, the main river of the district, which supports diverse water activities for tourists (Sosamphanh, Yongvanit, & Apichatvullop, 2013). In accordance with the tourist statistic of Vang Vieng city, the number of tourist arrivals was reported from 4468 in 1997 and it had increased constantly to 167,444 in 2013, which is contained by 70% of foreign tourists due to their visit for leisure and recreation purposes (Vangvieng Tourism Office, 2013). Consequently, it seems very obvious that nature - based tourism is the signature of Vang Vieng city.

Visitors are motivated to travel to different destinations by a variety of reasons, and their intentions and behaviors are normally influenced by more than one purpose and motive (Funk & Bruun, 2007; Prebenson, 2006). One of those important tourist’s internal drive forces is acknowledged as novelty seeking motivation, which relates to a curious drive for trying new and extraordinary things (Jang & Feng, 2007). Lee and Crompton (1992) proposed that novelty construct plays an important role in the travel destination choice process and novelty seeking is found as the crucial variable influencing to satisfaction, and behavioral intentions for both cultural and natural tourism domain (Assaker et al., 2011; Chang, Wall, & Chu, 2006; Jang & Feng, 2007). As far as the satisfaction is concerned, several tourism researches had been used the satisfaction for studying the tourists’ behavioral intentions, and it was explored that tourists are more likely to have a willingness to revisit the satisfied destinations, re-purchase the desirable tourism products, and recommend to others (Assaker et al., 2011; Chen & Tsai, 2007). Hence, understanding the motivation as well as novelty motivation can implement the market and product development, which can contribute positive experience for tourists, thereby leads to their future behavioral intentions (Kozak & Rimmington, 2000; Park & Yoon, 2009; Yoon & Uysal, 2005).

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of novelty seeking on tourist satisfaction and behavioral intentions, which its result is expected as it will be helpful in providing beneficial information to a development plan and marketing strategy for a successful nature - based tourism destination. Also, since research on the tourism impact on the physical landscape in the case of Vang Vieng city is a lack of studies toward tourist motivation and satisfaction in Vang Vieng city, Laos. Hence, Vang Vieng city was selected as the research area to study the motivation and satisfaction of nature - based tourists. Moreover, in order to keep up the number of tourist arrivals, this study will also explore which factors can enhance the tourist satisfaction and future behavioral intentions. The result is expected as it will be helpful in providing beneficial information to a development plan and marketing strategy for a successful nature - based tourism destination in the Vang Vieng city.


Ⅱ. Literature review

1. Nature-based tourism

Nature - based tourism is defined as travel to places where are located in the area surrounded by natural environments, and it is also recognized as one of the segments in tourism market where people travel with the main purpose of visiting a natural tourism sites (Honey, 2002). Meanwhile, since nature - based tourism is known as the simply tourism, which features nature, it contains all types of tourism where nature is the primary attraction, especially wherever the nature is in an initial or conserved state (Buckley, 2009). Hence, nature-based tourism can include activities based on: adventure and outdoor recreation; enjoyment of scenery, geology, volunteer framework in order to conservation or research; and consumptive uses (Coghlan, 2006; Kim et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2015). As such, to those foundations, the local community is often considerably incorporated in the tourism experience with its local characteristics (traditions and culture), while services and infrastructure is defined as tourism supply which effects to the local economy.

Individual nature-based tourists commonly have widely heterogeneous in their origins, interests, motivations and behaviors. In 1991, Lindberg recognized four types of nature - based tourists, namely (1) hardcore, which is described regarding to either the scientific researchers or tourist who takes part as the participation of voluntary conservation tours; (2) dedicate, which is concerned about people who travels to protected areas specifically for understanding towards local, natural and cultural field; (3) mainstream, which is described about people who visit well-known nature destinations as an uncommon trip; and, (4) Casual, which is explained as people who comprise nature-based components in the part of their travel route (Linberg, 1991). Moreover, Vespestad and Lindberg (2010) argued four ontological perspectives in the finding of nature-based tourist research. The first is about ‘genuine’ nature-based tourism experiences, where people look for their ‘true, authentic selves’. Second one depicts the nature-based experiences as ‘entertainment’, where the nature is seen as a backdrop for activities or experiences which contain the value of entertainment. Third one is explained as a ‘state of being’, which focuses on the nature - based experience rewards, especially for the tourist concerned; and the fourth defined nature-based experience as ‘social’ which give the meaning and identity to group members.

According to some researchers’ studies who specifically in tourist satisfaction in nature-based tourism elements, for instance, Tonge and Moore (2007) revealed that the physical attributes of tourism are easy to manage in order to minimize the tourist dissatisfaction. Contrarily, the components that influence tourist’s actual experience are difficult to measure and often neglected. Thus, a need for doing experiential satisfiers research focusing on the intangible aspects toward nature-based tourism is suggested (Tonge & Moore, 2007); and new concepts and methods are wanted for understanding and measurement in term of the nature-based tourists’ experiences and satisfaction (Buckley & Coghlan, 2012). Furthermore, both affective and cognitive elements are significant in modelling the satisfaction of consumers, particularly in tourism services, where the emotional factors play an important role in the tourist experience (Bigne et al., 2005; Kim et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2015).

In addition, some studies mentioned that nature-based tourism is associated with the health benefit, for instance, Heintzman (2010) reviewed the conceptual approach in term of the relationships between the spirituality and nature-based leisure, and proposed that tourists who go to natural areas are looking for spiritual outcomes related to the sense of wonder, peacefulness, and tranquility. Plus, nature-based tourism also reaches to the performative experiences based on active activities which include a challenge and skill, motivation and expectation. Those activities can provide a sense of optimal experience. The experience’s attraction is that whenever a tourist is completely participated in such activity, it can create a feeling of loss of worry and seriousness, contrasting mightily with those experiences from the routine environment particularly at work and home (Buckley & Coghlan, 2012).

Consequently, the experiences of nature-based tourist definitely depend on their perceptions or the nature constructions (Buckley & Coghlan, 2012); at the same time, those various nature constructions also make the tourist behavior, impacts and satisfaction management particularly complex (Buckley, 2009). Sometimes, the investment in environmental protection might not be always the only idea in order to boost tourist satisfaction (Kim et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2015; McCool, 2009). Thus, empirical researches on the factors and motivation which influence nature-based tourist’s dissatisfaction and satisfaction, and the ways in which these factors may influence tourist behavior, are more important and needed certainly for the tourism industry growth in the future particularly in the section of nature-based tourism (Buckley & Coghlan, 2012).

2. Tourist’s novelty seeking motivation

In the field of tourism, even though many factors certainly influence tourist behavior, however, the motivation is still considered as the reason of why tourists act in certain ways. Travel motivation is an essential point in the research of tourism towards explaining tourist behavior (Hsu & Huang, 2008; Lee et al., 2015), and it refers to a set of demand that influence people to participate in a tourism activities (Swanson & Horridge, 2006). According to the study of Tse and Crotts (2005), it indicated that one of the powerful inner force driving people to discover something surrounding the world is their own curiosity. The curiosity concept is defined as the central to motivation driving people to explore, learn, and experience. Likewise, Maslow (1970) also mentioned that curiosity is one of the fundamental cognitive needs of humans; and the study of Crompton (1979) discussed curiosity and novelty appear to be related and liked as a push factor.

Novelty seeking is a core element of travel motivation which performs as a contradiction of familiarity (Jeng & Feng, 2007; Kim et al., 2016; Lee & Han, 2005). Based on the behavioral literature, novelty seeking is related to a curiosity, sensation seeking, and exploratory drive as well. Same as the study of Faison (1977) who indicated that novel travel is a trip involved the unfamiliar and new experiences which differ from antecedent life experience. Lee and Crompton (1992) proposed that there are six dimensions of novelty construct such as change of routine, escape, thrill, adventure, surprise, and boredom alleviation. Subsequently, the published research of Jang and Feng (2007), which centered in the effects of novelty seeking and satisfaction on temporal destination revisit intention of tourists, 9 variables in the case of novelty seeking dimension were used, including “experiencing a different culture”, “local cuisine and new food”, “local craft and handwork”, “interesting and friendly local people”, “opportunity to see or experience people from different ethnic backgrounds”, “opportunity to see or experience unique aboriginal or native group”, “opportunity to increase one’s knowledge in terms of places, people, and things”, “variety of things to see and do”, and “visiting a place I can talk about when I get home”.

In accordance with the field of nature - based tourism, some studies found that the motives of nature - based tourists are about to seek to be free, be nostalgic, be physically active, and to seek the novelty as well as to enjoy the undisturbed natural environment, escape from a bored routine, spend a good time with family and friends, and explore and experience the new learning (Kruger & Saayman, 2010). Concurrently, three main factors that motivate visitors to travel to nature - based tourism sites such as travel for novelty seeking, travel to experience recreation, and travel for escape were appeared in the study of Cheung and Fok (2014), who centered on the motivations and environmental attitudes of nature - based tourists. Furthermore, the study’s finding of Mehmetoglu and Normann (2013) study showed that novelty is one of three principal motivations for activity participating of tourist, including prestige and physical activity.

Cohen (1972) mentioned that novelty and strangeness are the significant elements in the experience of tourists, and novelty seeking is widely agreed as a crucial variable in tourist decision-making (Petrick, 2002). Similarly, Chang, Wall, and Chu (2006) who studied on novelty seeking at aboriginal attraction indicated that the novelty experience is the core for not only the authenticity of the cultural field, but also the natural scenery and well - managed environment. Moreover, regarding to the study of Assaker (2011), the novelty seeking motivation positively influences on satisfaction. In the case of if the visitor seeks novelty and subsequently the experience meets their expectations, then, they will be satisfied. In addition, a relationship between novelty-seeking and revisit intention also was found since novelty seeking is one of two possible antecedents of tourist’s revisit intentions, such as immediate intent to return (Assaker et al., 2011; Jang & Feng, 2007; Kim et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2015). Following from the stated notions, it is suggested that:

H1: The tourist’s novelty seeking motivation positively influences on tourist’s satisfaction
H2: The tourist’s novelty seeking motivation positively influences on tourist’s behavioral intentions.

3. Tourist’s satisfaction and behavioral intentions

Satisfaction is referred as an overall evaluation towards a customer’s experience with a service provider in the field of service industry (Han, Back, & Barrett, 2009). Focusing on how to reach the customer satisfaction is one of the important ways in order to succeed the business. Understanding about satisfaction can provide helpful information for either organizers or managers in order to assist them about making decisions more productively (Danaher & Haddrell, 1996). Hence, satisfaction also can be considered as an assessment towards products or services and a consequence of the customer evaluation (Jang & Feng, 2007).

Behavioral intention is a willingness of tourists to visit or revisit to a certain destination again. Then, when this willingness transforms into the action, tourist’s loyalty will. In earlier studies (Oppermann, 2000), only the behavioral approach was used to find out the destination loyalty. Nevertheless, recently, the attitudinal approach also has been acknowledged as a sufficient measure to estimate the destination loyalty (Yoon & Uysal, 2005). Plus, in these studies, destination loyalty has been measured as the revisit intention of tourist to the same place, and their intention for recommendation towards the destination to others. Additionally, Oliver (1999) revealed four stages for the loyalty of customers. First is the cognitive loyalty which means the tourists become loyal to the destination when they get the destination’s information. Second is affective loyalty which is about having a positive attitude on a particular destination. Third is behavioral intention, and the fourth is action loyalty. Consequently, comprehension towards the behavioral intention is very essential in understanding and foresight the tourist’s intention and their loyalty toward a destination in the future (Assaker et al., 2011).

Focused on the relationship between satisfaction and behavioral intention, there are many empirical evidences in the marketing research which showed that satisfaction is a significant indicator of both re-purchase and recommendation to others about the products or services (Anderson & Sullivan, 1993). Similarly, Chen and Tsai (2007) have suggested that customer satisfaction influences the behavioral intention; based on their study result, as the higher level of satisfaction as the more positive intention. In addition, in the context of tourism, some researches revealed that satisfaction positively influences on destination loyalty (Assaker et al., 2011; Yoon & Uysal, 2005) based on the facts that if the travelers are satisfied with their travel experiences, it may lead to destination loyalty as they are more likely to revisit and recommend the destinations to others. At the same time, even though Toyama & Yamada (2012) whose hypothesis was set and stated that there is no relationship between destination loyalty and tourist’s satisfaction in Takayama City, Japan, however, they finally found the significant relationship between tourist’s satisfaction and destination loyalty.

Therefore, following from this discussion, it is suggested that:

H3: The tourist’s satisfaction has a positive influence on tourist’s behavioral intention
Figure 1.

Proposed research model


Ⅲ. Methodology

1. Measurement

The survey questionnaire of this study was based on various related theories. The questionnaire was divided into five parts. Part one is personal travel information contained five questions toward travel information of respondents related to the case study as Vang Vieng such as accompanied person, a frequency of visit, a source of destination information, an average length of stay, and the experienced nature - based tourism activities. Subsequently, part two is novelty seeking motivation section contained twenty questions, which were derived and adapted from related studies specified in novelty seeking and nature - based tourism motivation. A set of twenty questions was represented in the context of novelty seeking motivation that induced tourists to travel to nature - based tourism destination. Part three is satisfaction section comprised of four questions, which is derived and adapted from related studies specified in tourist’s satisfaction, and those four questions contributed in exploring how respondents think about their trip in the Vang Vieng city. Part four is behavioral intention section contained three questions, which is derived and adapted from related studies specified in tourist’s behavioral intentions. Those three questions provided notions in term of tourist’s action (word - of -mouth and revisit intention) after their trip to Vang Vieng city (see Table 9). The last part is general information about respondent namely gender, country of origin, age, marital status, education, occupation, and incomes.

Regard to the measurement, from part two until part four, the 5 Likert scale was used, ranging from 1 represented as strongly disagree to 5 represented as strongly agree respectively, whereas part one and past five (the first and the last part), respondents were asked to mark an appropriate answer among the given choices. Moreover, the questionnaire also consisted of one additional open-ended question as it was for the respondent to offer the recommendations and suggestions.

2. Vang Vieng, Laos

Many tourist activities are consisted in Vang Vieng tourism based on its natural environment (Khamsay et al., 2015), particularly the river named as “Nam Song”, the main river of the district, which supports diverse water activities for tourists, the scenic view, limestone mountains and cliffs; and beautiful environment of the landscape. The other interesting tourism resource is there are over 30 caves, of which more than 20 caves have been opened to the tourists. Apart from those resources, the culture and lifestyle of local people which show their fine tradition and characteristic also have been become as a tourism product of Vang Vieng district (Sosamphanh et al., 2013).

3. Data collection

The questionnaires were handed out physically to the samples of all foreign visitors who traveling in Vang Vieng city; and those visitors were asked in advance whether they would be willing to participate as a sample for this survey. The survey was conducted during a 7 day period in January from 24th until 30th 2017. Simultaneously, a total of 400 questionnaires were distributed at the potential rally points in Vang Vieng city such as tourism sites, restaurants, and bus station. All of 400 questionnaires were collected, but 10 questionnaires were excluded due to the inadequate responses. Thus, 390 questionnaires were used in the next step as analysis process.

In this study, data were coded and analyzed after sorting the questionnaires by using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences 21.0 (SPSS 21.). As far as the data analysis is concerned, there are three major analysis steps, namely descriptive analysis or a frequency analysis was conducted to summarize features of a collection of basic information as the general characteristics and personal travel information of the sample, and a given data (variable) set; following by validity and reliability analysis as the second process, which were tested through exploratory factor analysis; and the last process is regression analysis, particularly the multiple regression was conducted in order to test the research hypotheses of the present research.


Ⅳ. Results

1. Profile of the respondents

Among the 390 respondents, the gender distribution of the respondents was quite balanced; 201 people are females and 189 people are males. The dominant age group of the respondents is 20 to 29 years old (76.2%), followed by 30 to 39 years old (64%), 50 years old and older (3.8%), and 40 to 49 years old (3.6%). Besides, the result showed that 278 respondents are single, and only 47 participants are married. In terms of the education level, 40 percent with the bachelor degree; 34.6 percent had graduated degree; and 18.2 percent with under bachelor degree. Focus on the respondent’s occupation, 37.7 percent of the overall participant did not mention their occupation, whereas 31.8 percent are students, 14.1 percent are private officers, 10 percent are business owners, 4.1 percent are government officers, and 2.3 percent are retired. In accordance with the monthly incomes, there are 180 people with less than 2000$, 91 people with 2000 to 3500$, 52 people with 3500 to 5000$, 46 people with more than 6500$, and 21 people with 5000 to 6500$ (Table. 2). Moreover, more than a half of total respondents (51.5%) are from the European continent, 31.6 percent are from the Asia and Pacific continent, 12.3 percent are from The Americas continent, and 4.6 percent are from Africa and the Middle East continent.

Demographic characteristics of respondents

Results of factor analysis

2. Validity and reliability

In order to define the underlying dimensions of the novelty seeking motivation, satisfaction, and behavioral intentions; and for the aim of reducing the amount of variables in the construct, the factor analysis was performed utilizing the method as principal component with varimax rotation (Hair et al., 2002). As a result of the factor analysis, it is elaborated and presented in the Table 3. Three parts were arranged for the exploratory factor analysis, and the result of the KMO value in each part was higher than .50, which turned out that the data was appropriate for the proposed statistical process of factor analysis (Kaiser, 1974). The first is factor analysis of novelty seeking motivation section, 2 variables in this dimension was removed since their factor loading value were less than .6, thus, 18 variables were retained. The total of variance explained is 58.53% and the KMO value is .823 with the significant value of Barlett Test of Sphericity at .000 level (sig.=.000). The eigenvalue of each factor was more than 1.0; and four factors were extracted and labeled with the logical names as novelty learning (26.496% variance), adventure (13.543% variance), relaxation (10.537% variance), and boredom relief (7.957% variance).

The result of multiple regression

It is revealed that at the nature - based tourist destination as Vang Vieng city, novelty learning, together with adventure factor will contribute to the evaluation of an overall tourist’s motivation towards novelty seeking, followed by relaxation, and boredom relief factor. Subsequently, the second is factor analysis of satisfaction section. Only one factor was extracted, which has the total of variance explained as 79.16%, the eigenvalue above 1.0 (3.166) with the KMO value is .830 and the Barlett Test of Sphericity value was statistically significant at the level of .000 (sig. = .000). The last is factor analysis of behavioral intentions section; its total of variance explained value is found at 79.19%, the eigenvalue is more than 1.0 (2.376) with the value of KMO as .721, and the significant value of Barlett Test of Sphericity at .000 level (sig.=.000); also only one factor was extracted. Moreover, the table is shown that the factor loading of each item of the three parts exceeded .6, which can be interpreted as a sufficient statistical significance variable. The results of the reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) of each factor were more than .70 as follows: novelty learning was .810; adventure was .769; relaxation was .722; boredom relief was .805; satisfaction was .909, and behavioral intention was .851. Based on the criterion of reliability analysis, which is stated that the internal consistency reliability with .7 or higher means a high level of accuracy degree, as such, those variables and factors are highly reliable.

3. The result of multiple regression

As the final step, multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine the effect of novelty seeking on satisfaction and behavioral intentions. As such, derived factors of novelty seeking motivation, satisfaction, and behavioral intentions were analyzed for testing three hypotheses belonged to this research. As shown in the Table 4, the multiple regression analysis was summarized in three parts. The first part concentrated on the regression model of satisfaction with novelty seeking, which had four factors derived from novelty seeking dimension as the independent variable, and satisfaction as the dependent variable. First of all, the R2 value of independent variables on the dependent variable was .107, it interpreted that more than 10% of the variation in overall satisfaction was explained by four factors. Afterward, the outcome indicated that both novelty learning (NL) and adventure (AT) had the statistical significance since their p-value were .000 and .047 respectively (p<.01, and p<.05), whereas relaxation (RL) had the p-value as .380 and boredom relief (BR) with the p-value as .298. The second part specified in the regression model of behavioral intentions with novelty seeking, four factors derived from novelty seeking dimension were acted as the indicators in determining the behavioral intentions. The R2 value of this model was .102, interpreted that more than 10% of the variation in behavioral intentions was explained by four factors. Subsequently, the results appeared that the p-value of BR (.003), AT (.007), and NL (.016) factor was less than .01 and .05 (p<.01 and p<.05), while the p-value of RL (.559) was higher than the standard of significant level. The last part centered on the regression model of behavioral intentions with satisfaction. In this model, satisfaction was performed as independent variable and behavioral intentions as dependent variable. In accordance with the outcome, the R2 value was .404, which is interpreted that more than 40% of the variation of behavioral intentions was explained by satisfaction. Furthermore, the p-value of this model (.000) was less than .01 (p<.01). Regarding to the summarized consequence above, therefore, both NL and AT are considered significant indicators in satisfaction level and behavioral intentions. In contrast, BR is concerned important indicator in defining the behavioral intentions but satisfaction. Moreover, tourists put relaxation as an insignificant for both satisfaction and behavioral intentions. Finally, satisfaction indicated the practical impact on tourist’s behavioral intentions. This can be concluded that H3 was accepted, while H1 and H2 were partially accepted.


V. Discussion and conclusions

The study’s findings revealed partial support that four factors of novelty seeking collectively provide some measurements of the tourist’s satisfaction and behavioral intentions. It turns out that the factors representing a judgment towards novelty learning and adventure are major indicators of the overall satisfaction. These notions is consistent with previous studies, which explored that novelty has an effect on the satisfaction formation, and its value in an adventure tourism context was defined as a significant predictor of satisfaction (Toyama & Yamada, 2012; Williams & Soutar, 2009). Additionally, the positive finding towards tourist satisfaction is presumed to be influenced by the attractive natural tourism activities in terms of discovery and adventure due to the reason that Vang Vieng city is located in environmental geography with natural profusion, and comprised of nature - based tourism activities diversely. Most of the visitors experienced their travel and activities satisfactory based upon their internal motives both novelty learning and adventure in Vang Vieng city. Hence, it reinforces to the study of Arowosafe and Emmanuel (2014) whose results explained that natural tourism activities go far in determining the level of tourist satisfaction, and it could be possible to identify that Vang Vieng city is the place where tourists could satisfy their needs in relation to seek and learn something new, and try something adventurously.

On the other hand, the relaxation and boredom relief factor appeared to have an insignificant effect on the satisfaction. The findings of this study contradicted with the previous research, whose study result found that factor included by relaxation was identified as the most influential motivation on the degree of satisfaction, and the most noteworthy motivation for traveling was a desire to escape from the every routine and bore (Yoon & Uysal, 2005). Tourists seem to have a negative perspective as well as the feeling of disappointment with their travel experience toward relaxation and boredom relief. Since the supplementary comments obtained from respondents mentioned about the overflow of tourists is the main point causing various problems (crowed, noise, dirty, expensive, low quantity and quality of tourism service, etc.), thus, the unsatisfied situation might be occurred from an inefficient destination management of both private and public agents in controlling and solving the obstacles, which then interfere both relaxation and boredom relief desires of visitors during their traveling in Vang Vieng city. Concurrently, the findings also found that the sample group of younger people, who aged between 20 - 29 years old, was the largest group. It has been argued in several previous researches that the variables of socio - demographic effect on behavior such as motivation and satisfaction indirectly (Lee et al., 2004), also young tourists and socially oriented risk takers are generally having a high intention to purchase the products and attend the learning, adventure, and hunting activities of nature-based tourism (Tangeland, Vennesland, & Nybakk, 2013). Consequently, tourism planner and business should consider about a productive tourism plan and focus on young tourists when they segment the tourism market.

Previous published researchers have been found customer (tourist) satisfaction as a mediator of the relationship between tourist motivation and their behavior intentions. Tourists are more likely and tend to have such behavior as word - of - mouth (WOM) communication, recommendation, and repeat travel the visited destinations if they had been experienced traveling through their own internal motives and expectations satisfactory (Toyama & Yamada, 2012; Yoon & Uysal, 2005). Regarding those notions, so that, tourists would have behavioral intentions toward Vang Vieng city due to their satisfied novelty learning and adventure such as satisfaction in terms of learning local culture, food, people, experience new and different things, doing activities adventurously, experience the excitement, etc. Meanwhile, since the relaxation factor showed unimportantly on satisfaction, and it was also summarized above about the respondents’ expressed negative comment, thus, it definitely performed as an insignificant factor influencing to behavioral intentions. The notion supports the study of Hartley and Harrison (2009), who also pointed that relax motivation is not significantly related to the future intentions of eco -tourists. Surprisingly, this current study’s findings explored the boredom relief factor essentially influenced on behavioral intentions dimension involved by WOM and revisit intention, but satisfaction dimension. Although tourists did not satisfy their traveling, in any case, it could be assumed that tourists might prefer to say something good about the place, and recommend to potential visitors in terms of another different activity to relieve the boredom. Notwithstanding, as a matter of fact, no matter how satisfying the experience at a previously traveled destination, visitors prefer to seek and visit new destinations (Assaker et al., 2011). Consequently, in this study’s case, tourists would rather have intention in WOM communication than revisiting intention.

Further, the present study confirmed that the satisfaction of tourists in Vang Vieng city has a positive and significant power in their behavioral intentions (H3 was accepted). It indicated that satisfaction affects revisit intention, which is consistent with several previous studies that specify the role of customer (tourist) satisfaction on the behavior of repeat travelers (Assaker et al., 2011; Jang & Feng, 2007; Yoon & Uysal, 2005). Tourists will probably return to visit again if they are extremely satisfied with their previous visitation in a certain destination. As well as the word - of - mouth (WOM) communication, the findings also reported that satisfaction related to the WOM intention, which is conformed to previous studies that emphasize the function of customer satisfaction in WOM communication in tourism industry. If the travel experience is positive, it could be expected that the tourists are more likely in willingness to tell and recommend the other people (Huang, Weiler, & Assaker, 2015; Toyama & Yamada, 2012).

Novelty motivation has been appearing as a significant, positive and direct antecedent of visitor’s future intentions, especially revisit intention (Assaker, Vinzi, and O’Connor, 2011; Jang and Feng, 2007; Toyama and Yamada, 2012). In particular, there is no doubt if this study demonstrates that the novelty learning and adventure factor play a crucial role in tourist behavioral intentions, because of their noteworthy effects on tourist satisfaction. Past researchers have been found customer (tourist) satisfaction as a mediator of the relationship between tourist motivation and their behavior intentions. Tourists are more likely and tend to have such behavior as WOM communication, recommendation, and repeat travel the visited destinations if they had been experienced traveling through their own internal motives and expectations satisfactory (Toyama and Yamada, 2012; Yoon and Uysal, 2005). Regarding those notions, so that, tourists would have behavioral intentions toward Vang Vieng city due to their satisfied novelty learning and adventure such as satisfaction in terms of learning local culture, food, people, experience new and different things, doing activities adventurously, experience the excitement, etc. Meanwhile, since the relaxation factor showed unimportantly on satisfaction, and it was also summarized above about the respondents’ expressed negative comment, thus, it definitely performed as an insignificant factor influencing to behavioral intentions. The notion supports the study of Hartley and Harrison (2009), who also pointed that relax motivation is not significantly related to the future intentions of eco - tourists. Surprisingly, this current study’s findings explored the boredom relief factor essentially influenced on behavioral intentions dimension involved by WOM and revisit intention, but satisfaction dimension. Although tourists did not satisfy their traveling, in any case, it could be assumed that tourists might prefer to say something good about the place, and recommend to potential visitors in terms of another different activity to relieve the boredom. Notwithstanding, as a matter of fact, no matter how satisfying the experience at a previously traveled destination, visitors prefer to seek and visit new destinations (Assaker, Vinzi, & O’Connor, 2011). Consequently, in this study’s case, tourists would rather have intention in WOM communication than revisiting intention.

For the practical implication, it is suggested that the managers of a tourist destination, as well as a Vang Vieng city, should have a coordination and cooperation among those actors closely and continuously in order to produce and enhance a positive travel experience, which results in a high level of overall tourist satisfaction, thereby positively causes the tourist behavioral intentions in the future. Firstly, the managers, marketers or those who may concern in tourism development have to design a productive plan to attract the novelty seekers both who have not visited and who have visited, and also a careful plan of tourism and infrastructure development in order to protect the value of natural resources. Secondly, since the findings found both relaxation and boredom relief as the weakest factor among the four factors of novelty, the places where tourists can relax and relief the boredom should be developed and maintained in particular the natural attractions, and the man - made phenomenon. Thirdly, the places, where novelty and adventure activities are established, should be improved by developing and inventing the old - new features of adventure products and packages or creating the events and programs that offer novelty and adventure activities based on the seasoning in order to appeal more visitors to experience and learning. Fourthly, business offering the activity products in terms of nature - based tourism should consider a combination of psychographic and demographic variables when they segment the tourism market, as well as the case of this study, because the young tourist group was appeared as the greatest group who traveling in Vang Vieng city, and seems to have a positive intention in purchasing the products of nature - based tourism, so that, businesses should focus on the group of young tourist when they market and develop the tourism products. Fifthly, the hospitality services, including accommodations, and food and beverage services should have both quality and quantity to supply the tourists’ needs. Sixthly, the communication and transportation in the city should be amended, and serve with the reasonable fees, especially the transportation to the tourist sites. Lastly, cleanness and safety should be arranged in the Vang Vieng city.

These are some limitations and suggestions for future research as follows. The study seems to have an opportunity to provide a complex result due to the diverse origin countries of the respondents, who perhaps have several constraints on satisfaction of traveling in Vang Vieng city and behavioral intentions, namely constraint towards condition of culture, expenditure, etc. Therefore, the future research could also repeats the study with tourists from different countries, and then compares the findings across the continents, or compares the findings based upon tourist’s socio - demographic profile (gender, ages, education, religion, etc.). Also, the survey was performed in January only. It may refer to potentials of confounding influences in the results based upon the assumption that travel motivations visiting Vang Vieng city might be different across different months. Thus, further research should spend periods of the survey and/or reflect the difference of a variety of travel motivations visiting Vang Vieng city might be different across different months. Moreover, since the tourism in Vang Vieng city is driven by the domestic and international visitors, so that, involving the domestic visitors as study samples will definitely help the researchers to get more samples, thereby raise the confidence degree of the study. Afterward, the future researcher could also compare the result between the domestic and international respondents.

References

  • Anderson, E. W., & Sullivan, M. W., (1993), The antecedents and consequences of customer satisfaction for firms, Marketing science, 12(2), p125-143. [https://doi.org/10.1287/mksc.12.2.125]
  • Arowosafe, F. C., & Emmanuel, A. A., (2014), Investigating indicators for tourist satisfaction at mole national park, Ghana, American Journal of Tourism Management, 3(1A), p1-6.
  • Assaker, G., Vinzi, V. E., & O’Connor, P., (2011), Examining the effect of novelty seeking, satisfaction, and destination image on tourists’ return pattern, Tourism Management, 32(4), p890-901.
  • Bigne, J. E., Andreu, L., & Gnoth, J., (2005), The theme park experience: An analysis of pleasure arousal and satisfaction, Tourism Management, 26, p833-844.
  • Buckley, R., & Coghlan, A., (2012), Nature-based tourism in breadth and depth, In T.V. Singh (Ed.), Critical debates in tourism 57, p304-307, Bristol, Channel View.
  • Buckley, R. C., (2009), Ecotourism: Principles and Practices, Wallingford, CAB International, p368.
  • Chang, J., Wall, G., & Chu, S. T. T., (2006), Novelty seeking at aboriginal attractions, Annals of Tourism Research, 33(3), p729-747. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2006.03.013]
  • Chen, C. F., & Tsai, D., (2007), How destination image and evaluative factors affect behavioral intentions?, Tourism management, 28, p1115-1122. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2006.07.007]
  • Cheung, L. T., & Fok, L., (2014), The motivations and environmental attitudes of nature-based visitors to protected areas in Hong Kong, International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 21(1), p28-38. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2013.832711]
  • Coghlan, A., (2006), Volunteer tourism as an emerging trend or as expansion of ecotourism? A look at potential clients’ perception of volunteer tourism organizations, International Journal of Nonprofit Volunteer Sector Marketing, 11, p225-237.
  • Cohen, E., (1972), Toward a Sociology of International Tourism, Social Research, 39, p164-182.
  • Crompton, J., (1979), Motivations for pleasure vacation, Annals of Tourism Research, 6(4), p408-424. [https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(79)90004-5]
  • Danaher, P. J., & Haddrell, V., (1996), A comparison of question scales used for measuring customer satisfaction, International Journal of Service Industry Management, 7, p4-26. [https://doi.org/10.1108/09564239610129922]
  • Faison, E., (1977), The neglected variety drive: A useful concept for consumer behavior, Journal of Consumer Research, 4, p172-175. [https://doi.org/10.1086/208693]
  • Funk, D. C., & Bruun, T. J., (2007), The role of socio-psychological and culture education motives in marketing international sport tourism: A cross-cultural perspective, Tourism Management, 28(3), p806-819. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2006.05.011]
  • Han, H., Back, K. J., & Barrett, B., (2009), Influencing factors on restaurant customers’ revisit intention, International Journal of Hospitality Management, 28, p563-572.
  • Hair, Jr., J. F., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L., & Black, W.C., (2002), Multivariate Data Analysis (6th Edition), Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall.
  • Hartley, N., & Harrison, P., (2009), An exploration of motives for attending Australian ecotourism locations and their influence on future intentions, In ANZMAC 2009: Sustainable Management and Marketing, Monash University.
  • Heintzman, P., (2010), Nature-based recreation and spirituality, Leisure Sciences, 32, p72-89.
  • Honey, M., (2002), Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice, Washington, DC, Island Press.
  • Hsu, C. H. C., & Huang, S., (2008), Travel motivation: a critical review of the concept’s development, In A. Woodside, & D. Martin (Ed), Tourism management: analysis, behavior and strategy, p14-27, Oxfordshire, CABI. [https://doi.org/10.1079/9781845933234.0014]
  • Huang, S., Weiler, B., & Assaker, G., (2015), Effects of interpretive guiding outcomes on tourist satisfaction and behavioral intention, Journal of Travel Research, 54(3), p344-358. [https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287513517426]
  • Jang, S. S., & Feng, R., (2007), Temporal destination revisit intention: The effects of novelty seeking and satisfaction, Tourism Management, 28(2), p580-590.
  • Karmakar, M., (2011), Ecotourism and its impact on the regional economy - a study of north Bengal (India), Tourismos, 6(1), p251-270.
  • Khamsay, P., Takahashi, Y., Nomura, H., & Yabe, M., (2015), Economic valuation of river conservation towards international tourists’ preferences and willingness to pay for ecofriendly services of hotel industry: A case study of Namxong river in Vangvieng district, Laos, Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 7(12), p897. [https://doi.org/10.4236/jwarp.2015.712074]
  • Kim, J., Chang, M., & Kim, D., (2016), Effects of food involvement and novelty seeking on culinary tourism behavior and intension of revisiting the jeonju bibimbab food festival, International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 30(6), p71-84. [https://doi.org/10.21298/ijthr.2016.06.30.6.71]
  • Kozak, M., & Rimmington, M., (2000), Tourist satisfaction with Mallorca, Spain, as an off-season holiday destination, Journal of Travel Research, 38(3), p260-269. [https://doi.org/10.1177/004728750003800308]
  • Kruger, M., & Saayman, M., (2010), Travel motivation of tourists to Tsitsikamma and Kruger national parks, SA Journal of Wildlife Research, 40(1), p93-102.
  • Kuenzi, C., & McNeely, J., (2008), Nature-based tourism, In O. Renn, & K. Walker (eds), Global Risk Governance, Netherlands, Springer, p155-178.
  • Lee, T.H., & Crompton, J., (1992), Measuring novelty seeking in tourism, Annals of Tourism Research, 19, p732-751. [https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(92)90064-v]
  • Lee, C., Lee, Y.K., & Wicks, B. E., (2004), Segmentation of festival motivation by nationality and satisfaction, Tourism Management, 25(1), p61-70. [https://doi.org/10.1016/s0261-5177(03)00060-8]
  • Lee, C., Reisinger, Y., & Lee, J., (2015), Examining visitor motivations for Mega-Events, International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 29(10), p5-17.
  • Lee, S., Jeon, S., & Kim, D., (2011), The impact of tour quality and tourist satisfaction on tourist loyalty: The case of Chinese tourists in Korea, Tourism Management, 32(5), p1115-1124. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2010.09.016]
  • Lee, T., & Han, H., (2005), Comparative study on the brand value of tourist destinations based on the level of desire for novelty-focusing on the Japanese outbound tourists, International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19(1), p231-247.
  • Maslow, A., (1970), Motivation and Personality (2nd ed), New York, Harper & Row.
  • McCool, S. F., (2009), Constructing partnerships for protected area tourism planning in an era of change and messiness, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 17, p133-148. [https://doi.org/10.1080/09669580802495733]
  • Mehmetoglu, M., & Normann, Ø., (2013), The link between travel motives and activities in nature-based tourism, Tourism Review, 68(2), p3-13. [https://doi.org/10.1108/tr-02-2013-0004]
  • Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT), Tourism Research Division, (2015), 2015 Statistical Tourism in Laos.
  • Oliver, R. L., (1999), Whence consumer loyalty?, The Journal of Marketing, p33-44.
  • Olson, D., et al. , (2001), Terrestrial ecoregions of the world: A new map of life on earth, BioScience, 51(11), p933-938. [https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0933:teotwa]2.0.co;2]
  • Oppermann, M., (2000), Tourism destination loyalty, Journal of Travel Research, 39(1), p78-84.
  • Park, D. B., & Yoon, Y. S., (2009), Segmentation by motivation in rural tourism: A Korean case study, Tourism management, 30(1), p99-108. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2008.03.011]
  • Petrick, J. F., (2002), An examination of golf vacationers' novelty, Annals of Tourism Research, 29(2), p384-400. [https://doi.org/10.1016/s0160-7383(01)00040-8]
  • Sosamphanh, B., Yongvanit, S., & Apichatvullop, Y., (2013), The Impact of Tourism on an Urban Community in Vang Vieng District, Lao PDR, 26, p27-37.
  • Swanson, K., & Horridge, P., (2006), Travel motivations as souvenir purchase indicators, Tourism Management, 27(4), p671-683. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2005.03.001]
  • Tangeland, T., Vennesland, B., & Nybakk, E., (2013), Second-home owners' intention to purchase nature-based tourism activity products-A Norwegian case study, Tourism Management, 36, p364-376. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012.10.006]
  • Tonge, J., & Moore, S. A., (2007), Importance-satisfaction analysis for marine-park Hinterlands: A western Australian case study, Tourism Management, 28, p768-776. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2006.05.007]
  • Toyama, M., & Yamada, Y., (2012), The relationships among tourist novelty, familiarity, satisfaction, and destination loyalty, International Journal of Marketing Studies, 4(6), p10-18.
  • Tse, P., & Crotts, J. C., (2005), Antecedents of novelty seeking: International visitors’ propensity to experiment across Hong Kong's culinary traditions, Tourism Management, 26(6), p965-968. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2004.07.002]
  • UNWTO, (2015), Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, UNEP, (2015), A Practical Guide to Good Practice for Tropical Forest-Based Tours, http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/sites/default/files/publication/pdf/good_practice.pdf.
  • Vang Vieng Tourism Office, (2013), Statistics Report on Tourism in 2013.
  • Vespestad, M., & Lindberg, F., (2010), Understanding nature-based tourist experiences: An ontological approach, Current Issues in Tourism, iFirst article, p1-18.
  • Williams, P., & Soutar, G. N., (2009), Value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions in an adventure tourism context, Annals of Tourism Research, 36(3), p413-438. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2009.02.002]
  • Yiamjanya, S., & Wongleedee, K., (2014), International tourists’ travel motivation by push-pull factors and the decision making for selecting Thailand as destination choice. World academy of science, engineering and technology, International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering, 8(5), p1348-1353.
  • Yoon, Y., & Uysal, M., (2005), An examination of the effects of motivational and satisfaction on destination loyalty: A structural model, Tourism Management, 26, p45-56. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2003.08.016]

Figure 1.

Figure 1.
Proposed research model

Table 1.

Demographic characteristics of respondents

Demographic Frequency Percent (%)
Gender Female 201 51.5
Male 189 48.5
Age group 20 - 29 years old 297 76.2
30 - 39 years old 64 16.4
40 - 49 years old 14 3.6
Above 50 years 15 3.8
Marital Status Single 278 71.3
Married 47 12.1
Other 65 16.5
Education Under bachelor 71 18.2
Bachelor 156 40.0
Graduated school 135 34.6
Other 28 7.2
Occupation Student 124 31.8
Government officer 16 4.1
Private officer 55 14.1
Business owner 39 10.0
Retired 9 2.3
Other 147 37.7
Incomes (per month) ($) Less than 2000 180 46.2
2000 - 3500 91 23.3
3500 - 5000 52 13.3
5000 - 6500 21 5.4
More than 6500 46 11.8
Number of respondents 390 100

Table 2.

Results of factor analysis

Factors and items Factor
loading
Eigen
value
Variance
%
Cronbach’s
alpha
Novelty learning
I want to experience the different local culture and custom. .796 4.769 26.496 .810
I would like to meet new and interesting people. .715
I would like to try a new taste of local cuisine and food. .699
I want to experience the new and different things. .692
I would like to experience unique aboriginal or native group. .645
I would like to increase knowledge about places, people and things of the nature destinations where I can explore the unknown on my trip. .600
Adventure
I enjoy doing activities that offer thrills. .817 2.438 13.543 .769
I feel a forceful urge to explore the unknown on vacation. .731
I enjoy experiencing a sense of danger on a trip. .676
I want to experience the excitement on my vacation. .651
I like to discover adventure based on nature on my vacation. .640
Relaxation
I want to enjoy and view the scenic beauty of nature. .763 1.897 10.537 .722
I want to return to the nature experiences. .754
I want to relax and experience the tranquility and peace among the natural environment. .735
I like to find myself at the nature destinations where I can discover new things. .624
Boredom relief
I want to have a vacation in order to relieve boredom. .861 1.432 7.957 .805
I like to go to the nature destination for my vacation in order to get rid of the rut. .842
I want to travel due to the boredom from the same routine work. .784
Satisfaction
This trip was good. .922 3.166 79.16 .909
This trip was satisfying. .912
This trip was enjoyable. .902
This trip was interesting. .819
Behavioral intention I would say good thing about this place. .910 2.376 79.19 .851
I will recommend this place to others. .906
I would like to return to this place again in the future .852
Total of variance (%)=79.19
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy=.721
Bartlett’s test of sphericity=.000

Table 3.

The result of multiple regression

Hypothesis Model Std. error Std. beta coefficients t-value
Notes: *p<.05, **p<.01, NL: Novelty learning, AT: Adventure, RL: Relaxation, BR: Boredom relief, SA: Satisfaction, BI: Behavioral intentions
H1 (Constant)
NL
AT
RL
BR
.341
.067
.052
.070
.036

.239
.101
.047
.053
6.879
4.289**
1.967*
.879
1.042
(R)=.327; (R2)=.107; Dependent variable: Satisfaction (SA)
H2 (Constant)
NL
AT
RL
BR
.397
.078
.061
.081
.042

.135
.144
.031
.153
5.185
2.419*
2.713**
.585
3.007**
(R)=.319; (R2)=.102; Dependent variable: Behavioral intentions (BI)
H3 (Constant)
SA
.204
.045

.635
4.788**
16.204**
(R)=.635; (R2)=.404; Dependent variable: Behavioral intentions (BI)