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What drives senior tourists to travel to islands? The case of the Azores

Rafael Robina-Ramirez (Department of Business and Sociology, Universidad de Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain)
José Carlos da Silva Mendes (School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Azores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal) (Centre of Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)
Osvaldo Dias Lopes Silva (Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences—Campus of the University of Azores (CICS.NOVA.UAc), University of Azores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal)
Maria Teresa Pires de Medeiros (School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Azores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

ISSN: 2514-9792

Article publication date: 16 February 2023

Issue publication date: 1 December 2023

168

Abstract

Purpose

According to the theory of push and pull factors, the current work aims to present two objectives: (1) to detect what attributes drive senior tourists to travel to the Azores islands, the role played by lecturing activities (LA) as push factors and their influence on the island's offer (pull factors) are analysed; and (2) to understand the personal and contextual barriers of tourists to provide information to the agents who form part of the tourism supply process on the island.

Design/methodology/approach

The data has been processed using the statistical package SmartPLS version 26. Using an exploratory methodology based on structural equation modeling (SEM) structural equations applied to small sample sizes, a tentative model has been generated to define the drivers of tourism for elderly people who visit the islands.

Findings

The research study reveals that LA are the key factor in completing the offering of tourist destinations in the Azores. Educational packages should be made available to senior tourists. Likewise, several tourism barriers, such as flight times, cost of the trip, concern about the safety of destinations, type of accommodation, language difficulties and medical and health care should also be revised by tourism authorities and flight stakeholders with regard to the Azores Islands.

Research limitations/implications

The reduced sample has made the results impossible to show greater predictive power.

Practical implications

The role played by push factors, such as lecturing or educational activities, and pull factors, such as the tourism offering by the island, allows us to envisage educational packages based on the preferences of senior tourists, such as attending lectures on the history of the Azores, gastronomy (traditional food), active ageing flora, and interesting facts and legends of the islands.

Social implications

As a push factor, social interaction has become the main motivation among senior tourists. Such tourists have conveyed not only their desire to meet other tourists but also their interest in socialising in tourist activities, relaxing and visiting other new places.

Originality/value

Even though LA are relatively common among university students and those with bachelor's degrees, educational packages for senior tourism are now gaining in popularity. Better socio-economic conditions worldwide and easier access to education for mature people have allowed them to expand their knowledge by travelling to exotic destinations such as the Azores. This paper links that interest with barriers to travel as well as to the Azores' rich touristic offering.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors want to express gratitude to all the participants in the paper.

Citation

Robina-Ramirez, R., da Silva Mendes, J.C., Silva, O.D.L. and de Medeiros, M.T.P. (2023), "What drives senior tourists to travel to islands? The case of the Azores", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, Vol. 6 No. 5, pp. 2628-2645. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTI-07-2022-0311

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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