Purpose: Heritage management is underpinned by preservation, sustainability and generativity; concerns of obvious interest to domestic audiences. However, domestic tourists are not homogenous and can be differentiated by various characteristics, including proximity to the sites they visit. Drawing upon the consumer-based model of authenticity, this study investigates whether the influence of authenticity, self-connection and serious leisure hold over experience memorability differs for distinct domestic visitor groups.
Design/methodology/approach: To investigate perceptual differences between “local” and “non-local” domestic visitors, the authors developed and tested a conceptual model using a sample of 320 heritage site visitors within Tabriz, Iran, investigating the effects of self-connection, serious leisure and perceived authenticity on memorable tourism experiences (MTEs) for both groups.
Findings: Significant inter-group differences regarding the influence of serious leisure and self-connection on visitors' perceptions of authenticity emerged. Similarly, the extent to which serious leisure, self-connection and authenticity influenced MTEs also differed. The effect sizes for all proposed relationships were larger for local visitors.
Originality/value: Hospitality and tourism literature often focuses on the boon that inbound international and non-local domestic tourism can bring to local sites and attractions. However, the findings encourage heritage tourism managers to focus greater attention on attracting custom from “closer to home”. With local visitors demonstrating strong pre-, during and post-visit outcomes, the findings suggest local domestic visitors are a market ripe for greater investigation given ongoing international travel restrictions and Iran's historically-limited international appeal.
- Heritage tourism
- Local and non-local visitors
- Memorable tourism experience
- Serious leisure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management