Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (8): 989-998.doi: 10.11821/xb200908010

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Cross-cultural Research on Inbound Tourists' Motivation: A Case Study of Inbound Tourists in Guilin and Yangshuo

ZHANG Hongmei, LIU Lin   

  1. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241000, Anhui, China
  • Received:2009-01-14 Revised:2009-04-07 Online:2009-08-20 Published:2009-08-20
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40771059; Department of Education Research Base Project in Anhui Province, No.2008sk116, No.07sk109zd


Culture is an important factor that affects tourists' psychology and behavior. Cross-cultural research on motivation indicated that tourist motivations vary among tourists from different cultural settings, and that even tourists from the same culture have different motivations when they visit different destinations. China has been the fourth top international destination country since 2004, but little is known about inbound tourists' motivation and other behaviors. The primary purpose of this research is to compare the motivation of inbound tourists from five cultural groups. The measurement of tourists' motivation is adapted from the previous research, and the culture variable is measured by nationality. All respondents are divided into five cultural groups according to Hofstede's cultural clusters. The data from over 600 tourists visiting Guilin and Yangshuo are obtained during the period from October to November 2008. The response rate is 95.6%, that is, 578 tourists' data were used in this research. In this study, Chi-square test is used for the test of equality of tourists' demographic variables from five cultural groups, confirmatory factor analysis is used for the applicability test of foreign motivation scales, simultaneous factor analysis for several groups is used for the test of equality of structure and equality of scaling, and ANOVA is used for means comparison. The results show that five cultural group tourists have no difference in sex and marriage status, but have significant difference in occupation. Motivation scales from western research setting can be used in Chinese inbound tourism. CFA identifies that four factors of motivation are constructed, namely, culture, pleasure/fantasy, relaxation, and natural conditions. The test shows that two factor loadings (i.e. "to seek adventure" and "to get away from home") are significantly different, namely, structural invariant is accepted while factor invariant is rejected. The comparisons of motivation item means indicate that 8 out of 14 items have significant cultural difference, that is, Anglo, Germanic and Latin tourists score higher than Asian and Nordic tourists on "to understand more knowledge of new places", "to visit historical and cultural sites" and "to meet local people". Anglo and Asian tourists score higher on "to have fun", and Asian tourists score higher on "to mix with fellow tourists", "to enjoy good weather", and "relaxation". Comparing factor means indicate that tourists motivation strength from Nordic are lower than from Anglo and Latin tourists in terms of factors concerning culture, pleasure/fantasy, and relaxation, Anglo tourists have higher strength on all the three factors, of which culture is dominant motivation of the three groups. The conclusion is drawn as follows. Inbound tourists' motivations are sensitive to culture, that is, tourists from different cultural settings have different dominant motivations. Tourist destination should provide products and services that can satisfy different needs of tourists from different cultural settings, and use tailored marketing strategy so as to form an attractive destination image.

Key words: tourism motivation, cross-cultural research, inbound market, simultaneous factor analysis for several groups, Guilin, Yangshuo