Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Availability

Open Access Dissertation

Keywords

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (Iowa)--Public opinion; Tourists--Iowa--Attitudes;

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the characteristics of destination attractiveness of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) in Iowa using the relative attractiveness and importance of the 15 attributes identified by Gearing, Swart, and Var's (1974) scale and 3 attributes identified by Hu and Ritchie (1993). These attributes represent the overall destination attractiveness of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) in Iowa. This study focused on the perspective of visitors and tourism experts.

Fishbein's (1967) multi-attribute model was used to determine the attitudes and preferences of the participants. The model is used to measure overall destination attractiveness. To identify the characteristics of destination attractiveness, 18 attributes of destination attractiveness were generated and modified from previous studies. Six statistical methods were used to analyze the data by Excel 2007 and SPSS 18.0 as follows: frequency analysis, descriptive statistics, reliability analysis, factor analysis, independent t-test, and Kruskal-Wallis test.

Data for this study were collected using SurveyMonkey.com during the first week of the December, 2011 through the second week of February, 2012. The e-mail invitations included a web link for the survey and were sent to 400 visitors and 107 representatives of the SSNHA. The response rate was 43.25% (N= 173 visitors) and 48.59% (N= 52 representative) respectively.

This research found that an attitude toward tourists (local congeniality and treatment of tourists) ranked first for both attractiveness and importance by visitors and the representatives of the SSNHA. Among visitors, emerging from the 18 total attributes were four attractiveness and four importance factors. Between the representatives, four attractiveness and four importance factors emerged from the 18 total attributes.

This study indicated that visitors seek a nature-based atmosphere and a more rural setting in their travels through the SSNHA. Specifically, visitors sought beautiful landscapes, historical sites and museums, and history and culture that tell the story of past and present. Representatives of the SSNHA sought to explore agricultural heritage, education of past practices, as well as learn the history of the Midwest.

The results of this study provide significant messages that resident attitudes toward tourists are the most attractive and important attribute in the region. Importantly, residents in the community and professional staff members from the SSNHA could create stories that reflect the history of American agriculture and represent the people of the past and present.

This study used a large number of closed-ended questions as well as a few open-ended questions. Owing to the nature of this research, a quantitative method was used to analyze the data. Future studies need to embrace a variety of research approaches related to different methodologies in order to develop theoretical knowledge about destination attractiveness.

Year of Submission

2012

Year of Award

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Samuel V. Lankford, Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Oksana Grybovych, Committee Co-Chair

Date Original

7-2012

Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 167 pages)

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

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