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The purpose of this research is to examine international backpacker travel behavior from pre-trip planning to the trip itself. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data from 15 international backpackers who visited and stayed at locally based budget hotels and moderate prized hostels as an inexpensive accommodation option in and around the infamous Khao San Road area in Bangkok. The data are analyzed qualitatively following a content analysis.
It was noted that backpackers opined views which emphasized that Thailand is relatively cheap to travel in and around and therefore very worthwhile. They preferred the flexible multiple-destination itinerary. These views are based on the value obtained in terms of cultural experiences and recreational attractions available, vibrant nightlife entertainment, bargain shopping, and especially making new friends. They reportedly met friendly locals, support local businesses, enjoyed varied cuisines, and stayed in comfortable accommodation facilities. Unfortunately, the study respondents did not indulge in any meaningful dialogue with Thais, aside from various commercial transactions possibly because of the language barrier. Furthermore, tourists see Khao San Road as a place of rest, relaxation and recreational activities, whereas for locals, it is a place of work. Managerial implications are drawn based on backpackers’ travel behavior. Within this context, this study provides insight for tourism businesses at the destination as they can direct their marketing campaigns aimed at matching a niche market with special needs and travel characteristics.
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