Title: Towards understanding youth travel experiences in cultural heritage destinations: an integrated framework of youth cultural tourists' behaviour

Authors: Nikolaos Boukas

Addresses: Center for Sustainable Management of Tourism, Sport and Events (CESMATSE), European University Cyprus, 6 Diogenes Street, Engomi, P.O. Box 22006, 1516 Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract: This paper explores the travel experiences of youth tourists in cultural heritage destinations, focusing on how their perceptions and motivation affect their travel behaviour. Although, several studies have been conducted to examine the travel experience of youth tourists, the literature that focuses on youth visitors' motivation and perceptions towards cultural heritage and cultural destinations is limited. However, youth cultural travel is of great significance and youth tourists constitute an important segment for cultural destinations. In this context, more emphasis on studying their motivation and perceptions for cultural destinations is needed in order to explore and understand their behaviour. This study based on semi-structured interviews with youth cultural tourists of the archaeological site of Delphi, Greece, identifies the factors such as the individual background, ethnic origin, family/social context, education, and marketing that influence youth cultural tourists. The study demonstrates that, despite the obvious presence of youth people in cultural heritage destinations, not all youth cultural tourists are similar. The paper suggests a framework that analyses youth cultural tourist behaviour according to their shaped motivation and identifies two types of youth cultural tourists: a) general youth cultural tourists; b) specific youth cultural tourists.

Keywords: youth cultural tourists; tourist motivation; tourist perceptions; tourist behaviour; cultural tourism; cultural heritage; travel experiences; cultural destinations; archaeological sites; Delphi; individual background; ethnicity; family; social context; education; marketing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2013.054402

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2013 Vol.3 No.1, pp.3 - 27

Received: 16 Mar 2012
Accepted: 20 Aug 2012

Published online: 12 Jul 2014 *

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