Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Major Professor

Carol Costello

Committee Members

Pratibha Dabholkar, Houng-Kyung Kim, Steve Morse

Abstract

The study constructs a causal model of culinary tourist behavior from the theoretical framework of push and pull motivations and related concepts with regard to satisfaction and behavioral intentions. Respondents were distinguished with regards to socio-demographic characteristics, travel behavior, and importance of event attributes. Further, importance-performance hypothetical framework was utilized to measure pull motivations. The study proposed that culinary event attendees’ expenditures, word-of-mouth behavior, and repeat patronage intentions would be related to their overall event satisfaction. Culinary event attendees were segmented on the basis of push motivations. Using factor, cluster, and multiple regression analyses with data collected from an international culinary event, the study examined the above relationships. The results of the analyses can be summarized as: 1) food event, event novelty, and socialization were the push motivations identified for attending a culinary event, 2) motivations were clustered into two meaningful segments: Food Focusers and Event Seekers, 3) the two clusters statistically were different from each other based on gender, age, income, education, and expenditures, 4) on all event attributes, with the exception of nightlife, performance means were significantly lower than importance means, 5) food product, support services, and essential services had a significant predictive affect on overall satisfaction, and 6) overall satisfaction had a significant relationship with outcome variables (expenditures, word-of-mouth behavior, and repeat patronage). This research makes unique contributions to the area of consumer research in culinary tourism from both the theoretical and empirical perspectives. It is believed that results of the present study will be useful to organizers of culinary events and/or destination managers.

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