The traditional marketplace : creating memorable, engaging and authentic cultural consumption experience
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Creating memorable experiences and offering unique services have become pivotal in the tourism industry in order to enhance competitiveness and sustainable success. The extant literature has recognised the fundamental change in contemporary consumers’ behaviour. Hence, experiences have been increasingly evolving in the tourism industry. In exploring the current developments and future directions in the tourism literature, this thesis offers a theoretically rich and well-validated conceptual model, particularly in a culturally specific field. In doing so, this thesis sheds light on three stages of the cultural consumption experience by integrating the consumer-based model of authenticity with the value creation theory. More broadly, this thesis integrated cultural motivation, sociability, host sincerity, object-based and existential authenticity, tourist engagement, perceived value, and memorable tourism experience into the consumer-based model of authenticity and embedded them into the larger perspective of service logic in a Turkish heritage context. In particular, the conceptual model proposed that sincere host-guest interactions, perceived authenticity and tourists’ engagement are influenced by cultural motivation and sociability, impacting upon perceived value and memorable tourism experience. To provide a holistic understanding of interrelationships between three stages of the consumption experience, data was collected in two sequential phases. The first phase consisted of a qualitative research approach that involves semi-structured interviews, personal observations, and field notes. In Phase II, data was collected through a questionnaire to provide a wider perspective and analysed using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM). Qualitative findings contributed to the factors shaping overall heritage experiences. The findings of the data supported the conceptual model in determining the pre/on-site/post phases of the heritage consumption experience. Following this, quantitative results show that the hitherto separate concepts make a substantial contribution to the consumer-based model of authenticity. In particular, the quantitative data demonstrate the interrelationship between these factors, offering complementary ways of understanding the phenomenon within the non-Western service industry. More broadly, this thesis identifies components and issues that are significant for tourists visiting heritage destinations and attractions. The findings of this thesis could have practical implications for planners, destination managers and tourism policy-makers to develop competitive advantage and sustainable success.