Tourism service quality and destination loyalty – the mediating role of destination image from international tourists’ perspectives
Article publication date: 18 April 2016
The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between tourism service quality and destination loyalty through investigating the mediation effect of destination image in the Dead Sea tourism destination, Jordan, from international tourists perspectives. The paper also investigates the tourism service quality dimensions from international tourists’ viewpoints.
A structured and self-administered survey was used targeting international tourists who were visiting the Dead Sea tourism destination, Jordan. The authors delivered 300 questionnaires to international tourists from which 237 were retained and valid for the analysis. A series of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed to assess the research constructs dimensions, unidimensionality, validity and composite reliability. Structural path analysis was also used to test the hypothesised relationships of the research model.
The empirical findings indicate that tourism service quality is, in fact, a four-dimensional (4D) construct as opposed to five as proposed by the original hypothesised model. The 4D model consists of four facets: assurance-responsiveness, tangible facilities-empathy, reliability and reliability-quality of directions. Also, the results indicate that brand image loaded onto two dimensions named as “physical environment” and “people characteristics”. The structural findings indicate that the four dimensions of tourism service quality have positively and significantly affected destination image. Further, brand image has positively and significantly affected destination loyalty. Finally, destination image fully mediates the relationship between tourism service quality and destination loyalty.
This paper has examined only five dimensions of tourism service quality that affected destination loyalty directly and indirectly; meanwhile, other service quality dimensions such as technical quality may affect both destination image and destination loyalty. Further, destination image is the only mediator investigated in this paper. Other consumer-based brand equity factors such as brand salience my act as another mediator. Also, this paper investigated international tourists’ perspectives in the Dead Sea tourism destination only, which means that its generalisation to other tourism destinations is limited. Therefore, comparative studies inside and outside Jordan’s tourism destinations are potential areas of future research. Other limitations and future research areas are also outlined.
The paper highlights the strategic importance of brand image on the relationship between tourism service quality and destination loyalty. Tourism service quality acts as an antecedent to brand image and the later is essential to destination loyalty. In other words, brand image of the physical environment and people friendless and kindness are the critical linkage that create destination loyalty. Further, an integrated model of tourism service quality, destination image and destination loyalty is required by tourism organisations operating in the Dead Sea destination to win international tourists again.
This paper represents one of the very few attempts that investigate tourism service quality and destination loyalty through understanding the mediating role of brand image in the Dead Sea destination. Accordingly, it should shed more light into the strategic role of brand image dimensions and how they affect destination loyalty. Further, the paper is the first of its kind to investigate an integrated model of tourism service quality and destination loyalty from international tourist perspectives in Jordan. The main issue here is that tourism organisations operating in the Dead Sea tourism destination have now valuable empirical evidence concerning the drivers of destination loyalty in an integrated manner.
Akroush, M.N., Jraisat, L.E., Kurdieh, D.J., AL-Faouri, R.N. and Qatu, L.T. (2016), "Tourism service quality and destination loyalty – the mediating role of destination image from international tourists’ perspectives", Tourism Review, Vol. 71 No. 1, pp. 18-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-11-2014-0057
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