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|Author :||Ercan Sirakayae, Linda J. Ingram & Hwan Suk Chris Choi|
|School/Work Place :||Texas A&M University, USA (Ercan Sirakayae, Linda J. Ingram), University of Guelph, Canada (Hwan Suk Chris Choi)|
Recognizing that tools developed solely to measure perceptions of positive/negative impacts of tourism within the traditional conceptual works are insufficient, recently Choi and Sirakaya (2005) developed and tested both an innovative framework and a new measurement tool that reflects the paradigm shift toward sustainability. This new scale, termed SUS-TAS, is a gauge to be used for measuring community sentiments toward tourism development. This study is an extension of their original study that utilizes this scale as a segmentation tool among the residents of a community. As with previous attitude studies, it is hypothesized that residents’ attitudes toward sustainable tourism development will not be uniform across the population stratum.
Specifically, the purpose of this study is twofold: (1) to identify relatively homogeneous resident segments within the sustainability framework, and (2) to profile and describe these resident segments using a factor-cluster segmentation approach and test whether there are any differences between various segments of the host population with regard to its socio-economic, socio-demographic characteristics, and selected behavioral and community variables. It is anticipated that this study will provide a benchmark for longitudinal comparative studies that trace the changes of attitudes and perceptions of community residents toward sustainable tourism.
The current study differs from earlier ones in at least one important aspect. It is the first attempt to examine attitudes toward sustainable tourism development using a segmentation tool. Earlier studies have consistently used traditional approaches to resident attitudes. This study recognizes the paradigm shift in society’s attitudes toward tourism and hence uses an alternative theoretical framework as a starting point as opposed to traditional approaches that use such theories as “the social exchange theory.” As the reader will notice, the SUS-TAS scale developed by Choi and Sirakaya takes into account benefits and costs associated with tourism activity. However, it goes a step further by enhancing current conceptual frameworks by explicitly recognizing intergenerational equity, a cornerstone of the sustainability paradigm. Therefore, the results of this research will contribute to the ever-increasing body of knowledge in the area of resident attitudes toward tourism while contributing a practical instrument to be used to monitor resident attitudes on sustainability over time.
For this study, a factor-cluster segmentation approach using a list of attitudes toward sustainable tourism was employed. The use of attitudes and perceptions in identifying resident segments as part of impact studies has been reported in the literature. Although the list of empirical attitude studies is rather extensive, these studies were not reviewed for this paper. Instead, given the context of this study, more recent studies dealing specifically with attitudes of residents and how those attitudes are used to segment residents were reviewed.