Monday, 22 July 2013

Segmentation and motivation of young UAE tourists

My research mentor Sameer Hosany periodically pushes across the corridor papers he has recently published and asks me if I can use my fast-and-furious-blog-publishing-style to shoot out a short summary piece on the paper.  This works for us in several ways, not least is the trend to attempt to measure an academics true impact via a variety of web metrics. 
Sameer Hosany in front of our Founders office space
 
The latest one is called
"When Middle East meets West: Understanding the motives
and perceptions of young tourists from United Arab Emirates"
Sameer has co-authored with Girish Prayag who is based in New Zealand.  If you have a university login you should be able to access the paper here using the DOI linkage process (if you don't, the journal website will invite you to cross its palm with a piece of gold via your credit card) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2013.05.003
 
Thanks to an extended group of airline related friends, I have been lucky enough to visit UAE (Dubai particularly), Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain and have close friends work in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Over nearly twenty years we have seen enormous changes in this region, nowhere less noticeably than the oil-less trading hub of Dubai.   Whilst many states have populations inflated by up to three times by expatriate migrant workers, it is important to note their particular habits e.g. South and South East Asian workers would have an annual return flight home contracted into their working arrangements and European families would temporarily return north during the hottest summer months and often follow Christian school related holiday travel patterns. It is also interesting to understand the tourism needs of the indigenous populations, particularly as many benefit from the highest per capita incomes in the world in a cultural context that has seen significant change. 
 
I think this paper makes for an interesting read, particularly if you are thinking about studying for a masters degree programme that requires a dissertation, or are just about to embark on writing a dissertation.  Essentially Prayag and Hosany (2014) identified limited research had taken place amongst young tourists from the Middle East and used the popular push/pull motivation theory framework and  market segmentation to generate some interesting findings that are particular to these outbound tourists.  I have seen a number of related studies that look at Chinese tourists and this work has helped identify the particular unsatisfied needs the worlds most populous and fast growing economy.  They aim to provide tourism entities with useful customer insights on how they can change their offering to better match the requirements of growing tourism markets.  So much for Ivory Tower academic research !
 
In our bit of academia (travel related) the peer reviewed journal Tourism Management is one of the two specialist journals that carries the top ranking, thus Girish and Sameer's publication is to be commended.  But please don't ask me how you can be published in the future - as I write we are mid-way through 2013.  And no, - to the best of my knowledge they are not time travellers either !!  I guess American car manufacturers will have been marketing the 2014 Beetle for a while now and my favourite monthly magazine VW Campers and Bus (like many monthly titles) often goes on sale a full six weeks ahead of the stated month, hence giving the product an extended shelf life.  I am hoping to feature in a peer-reviewed publication or two in 2014 myself, along with colleagues Hosany and Brown.  (About island tourism and VW camper vans.)  Watch this space. 
 
Please note spelling bees out there - future football world cup and natural gas rich state Qatar, the Sunderland manufactured Nissan cross-over car Qashqai and Australian Airline QANTAS are rare examples of Q spellings that are not followed with a U.  That's all I have to say on the matter.