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The theory of planned behavior, as earlier noted is often applied in a tourism context, linking intention, with choice of destination, and future travel behavior (Baloglu, 1998).
Tourist satisfaction, leads to increased demand and travel recommendations and hence significantly impacts behavioral intention. Satisfaction is influenced by several components, namely quality of service, attitude, motivation, and destination image (Lee, 2009).
More specifically, tourist attitude can successfully determine tourist satisfaction, and future behavior. Importantly, tourist attitude constitutes elements such as cognitive, affective, and conative respectively, with the cognition reflected in evaluative judgments concerning a trip, the affect portrayed in the preference a tourist exhibits towards visiting a destinations, and lastly, the conation refers to the behavioral intention to conduct a trip (Lee, 2009). In fact, Lee (2009) tourists who hold positive cognitive beliefs over a destination experience increased satisfaction, which leads to future, repeated travel behavior (Lee, 2009). Nevertheless, a tourist attitude towards a destination alters after the completion of the trip, and as such the destination experience predicts future travel behavioral intention (Baloglu, 1998).
Wellness Tourism Industry
Mueller and Kaufmann (2001) define wellness tourism as the act of travelling for the purpose of health sustaining or enhancing activities, including physical fitness, healthy nutrition, as well as relaxation and meditation. Nevertheless, in the academic literature one might encounter numerous terms used interchangeably, namely, health tourism, medical tourism, spa tourism, as well as well-being tourism (Voigt, Brown & Howat, 2011). In fact, Pesonen, Laukkanen and Komppula (2011) note that wellbeing tourism, although it resembles wellness tourism, it differs from wellness tourism in that the former relates to connection with nature, relaxation, and beauty treatments, whereas the latter is mostly associated with luxurious resorts, and expensive wellness offerings, targeted at high-income consumers, driven by the need for rest, relaxation, and escapism. Further, medical tourism shouldn’t be confused with wellness tourism, since medical tourism entails travelling for medical condition treatments, while health tourism as a notion, comprises both wellness and medical tourism, and spa tourism is a sub-category of wellness tourism (Voigt, Brown & Howat, 2011). In fact, the spa tourism is considered one of the most rapidly expanding subsector of health tourism, comprising a vast array of sub-categories, ranging from day spa, destination spa, hotel spa, resort spa, club spa to mineral spring spa, medical spa and cruise ship spa (Mak, Wong & Chang, 2009).
Strikingly, wellness tourism dates back as early as the ancient times, spanning across the time when the Romans and Greeks first travelled in pursuit of enhancing their health and well being, to the medical and spa tourism, of the European elite, of the 18th and 19th century (Smith & Kelly, 2006). In fact, during the 70s and 80s, health resorts or else health farms grew in popularity, attracting consumers interested in travelling for healthy nutrition and fitness activities (Stanciulescu, Diaconescu, Diaconescu, 2015).
It is important to note that the 2008 global financial crisis, impacted individuals’ psychological health condition, thus leading to a rising health consciousness among people, manifested in the growing pursuit of stress reduction activities, including, wellness tourism (Koncul, 2012).
More specifically, Csirmaz and Peto (2015) illustrate that an increased responsibility and quest for a healthy lifestyle, along with heightened stress levels and hassles of daily life are projected to fuel the development of wellness tourism in the years to come.
In particular, Vasileiou and Tsartas (2009) indicate that the spa/wellness tourism industry has grown at an exponential pace throughout the last 2 decades, catering to broader, and more diverse target markets, including, the elite upper class tourists, along with the middle and/or low tourists and younger tourists. Outstandingly, the wellness market in US is calculated at $2 trillion yearly, with offerings ranging from alternative medicine, and organic food, to yoga, spiritual and mindfulness practices, while the wellness tourism industry alone is estimated at $438.6 billion (Hudson, Thal, Cárdenas & Meng, 2017). More markedly, the wellness tourism industry constitutes roughly 6 percent of the international trips, which in turn translates to $438.6 billion in tourism expenditures, and contributes $1.3 trillion to the global economy, producing 11.7 million direct job employments (Lim, Kim & Lee, 2016).
In fact, Kickbusch (2003) states that the driving force behind the expansion of the wellness industry are the baby boomers, who reportedly have more disposable income, and time to expend on wellness products and services, followed by employers who incorporate wellness offerings in the workforce to decrease health care costs and employees’ absenteeism, and health insurance providers.
What is more, wellness consumers, within the US wellness sector, can be divided into 5 distinct segments, specifically, the “well beings”, “food actives”, “magic bullets”, the “fence sitters”, as well as the “eat drink and be merrys”, with the first three segments representing the most lucrative market potential, given that for these consumers health is vital, and as such spend a considerable amount of time and money for wellness products and services (Kickbusch, 2003) (See Figure 2.2.1. & Table 2.2.1.).
Millennials: a distinct generational cohort
Numerous authors have defined millennials as the generational cohort aged between 1980 and 2000 (Hartman & McCambridge, 2011; Moreno, F., Lafuente, & Moreno, S., 2017; Godelnik 2017; Pentescu, 2016).
In particular, millennials constitute approximately 80 million people, outnumbering previous generations by 4 million, and hence shaping the future generation of consumers and investors (Weber, 2017). More importantly, this age cohort comprises a lucrative market, which has garnered the attention of numerous consumer industries, due to the large volume millennials represent in terms of population (Mangold & Smith, 2011; Aceron, Mundo, Restar, & Villanueva, 2018). In fact, millennials’ net worth is projected to rise, in a global context, from 19$ trillion to $24 trillion from 2015 to 2020, respectively (Sofronov, 2018).
What is more, Fromm and Garton (2013) illustrate in their book that millennials, as a generation is not homogenous, but is further divided into subgroups, which in turn exhibit common habitual and behavioral patterns (See figure 2.3.1. & Table 2.3.1.).
In particular, there are 4 major philosophical paradigms ranging from postpositivism, and constructivism, to transformative, and pragmatism. More specifically, postpositivism, a philosophy based on the objective evaluation of reality is strongly associated with quantitative research, as opposed to constructivism, which subsumes subjective interpretation, and relates more to qualitative research. Transformative refers to studies undertaken within marginalized societal groups, while pragmatism, is linked with mixed research methods, and hence allows for greater flexibility (Creswell, 2013).
Accordingly, different research philosophies entail distinct research approaches. For instance, positivism is strongly associated with quantitative data collection method, and as such a deductive approach. In fact, deduction refers to a rigid, structured approach, which involves quantitative data collection method, and generalizable findings to representative samples of broader populations (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2016). Conversely, interpretivism is linked with inductive research approach, which involves qualitative data collection methods, and a flexible structured approach, without subsuming any generalizability of study results (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2016).
Table of contents :
1.2. Problem definition and purpose
1.3. Research questions
1.5. Limitations and delimitations
1.7. Key words
2. Literature Review
2.1. Theoretical Framework
2.1.1. Attitude Formation Theory
2.1.2. Tourist Attitude
2.1.3. Integrated theoretical framework
2.2. Wellness Tourism Industry
2.3.1. Millennials: a distinct generational cohort
2.3.2. Millennial Travellers
3.1. Philosophical Worldviews
3.2. Research Approach
3.2.1. Research Design
3.3. Research Method
3.3.1. Primary Data
3.3.2. Pilot Interview
3.3.3. Semi-structured Interview
3.3.4. Interview participants’ socio-demographics
3.3.6. Data Saturation
3.3.7. Secondary data
3.3.8. Data analysis
3.4. Ethical Considerations
4.1.1. Cognitive-oriented themes
4.1.2. Affective-oriented themes
4.1.3. Conative-oriented themes
5.1. Cognitive Component
5.1.2. Affective Component
5.1.3. Conative Component
6.1. Answer to the research question
6.2. Theoretical and managerial implications
6.2.1. Theoretical Implications
6.2.2. Managerial Implications
6.4. Future Research