An Examination of Effects of Self-Concept, Destination Personality, and SC-DP Congruence on Tourist Behavior

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Virginia Tech

Factors influencing tourist behavior have been a focal point in tourism research for decades. Efforts to unveil the determinants that shape travel behavior stem not only from pure academic interest, but from practical business considerations (Pizam & Mansfeld, 1999). Destination personality, self-concept, and congruence between self-concept and destination personality (SC-DP congruence) are among the factors that are believed to influence tourist behavior. However, little research has been undertaken to understand the impact of these factors on tourist behavior. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects destination personality, self-concept and SC-DP congruence on tourist behavior.

A theoretical model that attempts to investigate the influence of destination personality, self-concept, and SC-DP congruence on tourist behavior was developed and tested empirically. Specifically, the model proposed that tourist behavior is affected by destination personality, self-concept, and SC-DP congruence. Particularly, self-concept consists of four aspects, including actual self-concept, ideal self-concept, social self-concept, and ideal social self-concept; hence SC-DP congruence also includes fours such facets. Furthermore, tourist involvement is examined to see whether it would moderate the relationship between SC-DP congruence and tourist behavior.

Data were collected using an online panel survey in December 2008. A total of 663 usable responses were obtained. Pearson correlation, structural equation modeling (SEM), and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to test the hypotheses. For the SEM analysis, the sample was randomly split into two groups. One was used to test the model and the other was used for model validation.

The findings suggested significant influences of destination personality, self-concept, and SC-DP congruence on tourist behavior. Findings of this study also showed that there are significant and positive relationships between destination personality and self-concept. However, tourist involvement was found to have no moderating effect on the relationship between SC-DP congruence and tourist behavior. The study also provided managerial implications for destination marketers based on the research results.

Destination Personality, Self-Concept, Self-Congruence, Tourist Behavior, Tourist Involvement