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Article

Traveler Motivation and Destination Loyalty: Visiting Sacred Places in Central Asia

by 1,* and 2,3
1
Bang College of Business, KIMEP University, Abay Ave 2, Almaty 050010, Kazakhstan
2
Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), Macau
3
Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT), Griffith University, Nathan Campus, QLD 4111, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Tour. Hosp. 2021, 2(1), 1-14; https://doi.org/10.3390/tourhosp2010001
Received: 12 November 2020 / Revised: 11 December 2020 / Accepted: 14 December 2020 / Published: 28 December 2020
Visiting sacred spaces is becoming a growing trend in tourism in the Central Asian region. Sacred sites are said to have the power to heal the body, enlighten the mind, and inspire the heart. This study explored the motivations for visiting sacred spaces among tourists from three Central Asian countries—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The study used a sequential mixed methods research design. In the first stage, a general list of motivations was produced, based on the analysis of 14 semi-structured interviews. The second stage quantitative survey was conducted with a sample of 211 tourists from Central Asia. Data collection took place during tours to sacred sites in the city of Turkestan in South Kazakhstan. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and regression analysis. The relationships between motivation factors and destination loyalty were tested. The results show that among the five motivational factors identified in this study, only three (Spiritual and Religious Motives, Cultural and Historical Motives, and Wellness and Healing) have a significant relationship with sacred site destination loyalty. The remaining two factors (Nature, Fun, and Social Contact) have not been proven to have a significant relationship with destination loyalty. The study adds value to the literature on traveling to religious sites, especially those in formerly atheist countries, and provides recommendations to practitioners and policymakers to enable them to develop a niche tourism area by segmenting tourists’ motivations and destination loyalty in their sacred places. It also contributes to the diversification of tourism products in those destinations that have historical religious heritage resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: traveler wellness motivation; destination loyalty; sacred places; spiritual tourism traveler wellness motivation; destination loyalty; sacred places; spiritual tourism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rybina, L.; Lee, T.J. Traveler Motivation and Destination Loyalty: Visiting Sacred Places in Central Asia. Tour. Hosp. 2021, 2, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.3390/tourhosp2010001

AMA Style

Rybina L, Lee TJ. Traveler Motivation and Destination Loyalty: Visiting Sacred Places in Central Asia. Tourism and Hospitality. 2021; 2(1):1-14. https://doi.org/10.3390/tourhosp2010001

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rybina, Liza, and Timothy J. Lee. 2021. "Traveler Motivation and Destination Loyalty: Visiting Sacred Places in Central Asia" Tourism and Hospitality 2, no. 1: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.3390/tourhosp2010001

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