A model of motivation, image, satisfaction and loyalty: An investigation of culinary tourist behavior at a food event
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This study aimed to offer a behavioral model of culinary tourists by examining the theoretical and empirical evidence on the relationships among motivation, image, sat-isfaction, and loyalty. In particular, the concept of image was approached from both a cognitive and an affective viewpoint. Using convenience sampling, 543 usable question-naires were collected at the 17th Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival in Hadong County, South Korea during May 2-6 in 2012. Twelve hypotheses were proposed in the model, which was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). As a result, nine hypotheses out of the twelve were supported, showing that the model fit the data well (c2(196) = 541.788, c2/ df = 2.764, RMSEA = .057, CFI = .97, NFI = .95, and GFI = .92, RFI = .94, IFI = .97 and PNFI = .80). This study revealed that motivation, experiential perception and affect were im-portant predictors of satisfaction and future behavior of culinary tourists; pull motivation-al factors, as a major parameter in expectation formation, influenced tourists’ experiential perception and their positive perception of programs/activities, food and tea products, supporting services and environmental factors generated pleasure and excitement. Then, in turn, tourists’ pull motivation, experiential perception and affect combined to influence their satisfaction and future behavior. Satisfaction served as a mediating role in determin-ing both food event loyalty and destination loyalty except that tourists’ experiential per-ception had a direct effect on food event loyalty. It should be noted that the relative im-portance of cognitive and affective aspects of the event to influence their satisfaction and future behavior differed, indicating that affect with the event experience had the strongest effect on satisfaction while experiential perception had a direct effect on food event loyalty. Finally, tourists’ positive perception and experience that satisfy their needs at an event utilizing regional food and beverages can have a positive influence on the decision-making process of holiday destinations in the long run. That is, repeat visitation will be-come a benchmark of successful culinary tourism along with the economic growth and development. It is clear that culinary tourism can be used to promote a regional destina-tion by festivals or events utilizing local specialty.