Main Article Content
This research examines (1) the image, satisfaction, familiarity, perceived value, and loyalty to travel destinations of Thai and foreign tourists. Using structural equation modeling (SEM) as grounded in a research framework, the researcher also compares (2) Thai, Chinese and other Asian, and European and American tourists through successive applications of SEM called multi-group analysis.
In this research investigation, the researcher employed both qualitative and quantitative research methods. In the quantitative phase of research, the researcher collected germane data from three nationality groups: Thai, Chinese and other Asian, European and American. The total sample was 544 tourists. These tourists had visited Thai seacoast provinces more than once. Phuket, Phang-Nga, Chon Buri, and Surat Thani were randomly selected as provinces to be investigated.
In the quantitative phase, the research instrument was a five-rating scale questionnaire
In addition, insofar as concerns the quantitative phase, the researcher analyzed the data collected in terms of percentage, mean (M), and standard deviation (SD) and he coefficient of variation (CV). CV was applied in lieu of SD - CV is also the SD but with relative to M so that it can be interpreted through exact thresholds. Finally, multi-group analysis of SEM were employed for three models by nationality groups. In the qualitative phase of research, nine key informants from the tourism industry were interviewed by means of the semi-structured in-depth interview method and analyzed by mean of content analysis.
It was found that for all three SEM models, perceived value influenced destination loyalty at the highest level. Next in descending order were tourist satisfaction, destination image, and destination familiarity. Although the pattern of these models are similar, the size of path coefficients can differ. Nevertheless, this still means that the analysis of tourists of any nationality revealed there were similar factors influencing their decision to revisit the same tourist destinations. The qualitative research results confirmed the facts disclosed in the quan-titative phase of research.
The findings of both quantitative and qualitative investigation allowed the framing of a grounded theory synthesized from data and information as : “Perceived value is the factor that changes the relationship between tourism resources and tourism destination loyalty
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