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The rejuvenation of mature destinations: developing a Destination Viability Model for Association Conference tourism.

Cassar, J., 2021. The rejuvenation of mature destinations: developing a Destination Viability Model for Association Conference tourism. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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As tourist destinations evolve, they reach a point of maturity and potentially decline, whereby rejuvenation becomes desirable. While various strategies may be utilised to achieve rejuvenation, this research identifies diversification as the most appropriate. Diversification requires identifying an ideal tourism sector that can be added to a destination’s portfolio. Having analysed the benefits and consequences of conference tourism, it was identified as a highly plausible direction. Its benefits have led to increased interest in identifying how destinations can improve their conference tourism product and remain attractive in a highly competitive market. However, understanding the conference site-selection process and what induces it, proves to be challenging due to the numerous stakeholders involved and the many factors influencing the decision. This study focuses on the association conference tourism market due to its additional benefits over its corporate counterpart (larger number of attendees, higher total expenditure and more resilience to shocks). Previous research has analysed stakeholders’ perspectives in a fragmented manner, covering limited perspectives within each study. Therefore there is the need for a holistic study encompassing all stakeholders’ views. Contemporary factors influencing conference site-selection were also under-explored in current academic research. This study sought to identify the factors required by a destination to be competitive. Contemporary factors influencing the needs of delegates – the conferences’ end consumer – were initially examined. A questionnaire of association conference delegates was undertaken to explore the importance of contemporary factors and identified new elements in relation to technology, networking spaces, hygiene requirements, destination and its region’s safety level, conference and accommodation facilities expectations and leisure and climate. Subsequently, a Delphi study was used to examine the perspectives of different conference stakeholders including delegates, associations, conference centres, conference bureaus, accommodation venues, academic experts and industry experts. This revealed the different opinions of each with new factors emerging in the different rounds until a consensus was achieved. The study identifies how expectations related to traditionally important factors have changed, and reveals newly emergent trends that are shaping the conference tourism sector. These include factors related to technology, greening, accommodation, conference facilities, networking, safety and conference experience. The study distinguished entry-level essential factors, without which a destination cannot become a conference host; and a second set of factors that boost a destination’s competitiveness. From these findings, an Association Conference Destination Viability Model was developed, outlining the crucial factors which influence the conference site-selection process. The same findings were presented in a different format as a Competitive Conference Destination Toolkit, intended for destinations and conference practitioners. The Model and Toolkit successfully outline how conference decision factors have changed in recent times, updating the body of knowledge and offering the holistic perspective that was previously missing in the literature. Furthermore, they also assist mature destinations to understand the prerequisites needed to become successful conference destinations, and making diversification possible. This guidance can be equally utilised by other destinations and stakeholders that are interested in the association conference market or are seeking to improve their conference tourism offer.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:association conference tourism; conference attendance; mature destinations; delegates; conference tourism model
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:36112
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:18 Oct 2021 09:12
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:29


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