Understanding tourism choice and motivations to travel: A Case Study of North Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Without the tourist, tourism cannot exist. Having an accurate understanding of why consumers choose a specific destination can aid tourism providers and operators greatly. North Antrim is a destination which has undergone a complete regeneration period since the negative effects of terrorism. In 1997 tourism generated £208 million in revenue and in 2017 tourism generated £764 million for the Northern Irish economy (NISRA 2017). This success could not be possible without consumers coming to Northern Ireland thus a knowledge of why consumers choose Northern Ireland will provide similar destinations with an understanding of how this success came about. The aim of this research is to gain an understanding of the North Antrim tourist, why these consumers choose this specific destination, how these consumers feel about a post war destination and how the key stakeholders of tourism in North Antrim aim to make tourists choose the destination. Targeting as many tourists as possible via the questionnaire and interviewing North Antrim’s tourism stakeholders will allow the primary data for this study to be obtained. Key findings show 19.7% of tourists travel to North Antrim to visit tourist attractions and 14.7% of tourists travel due to the outstanding natural beauty. Interestingly, only 1.7% of tourists’ expectations were not met illustrating the success of the tourism product in North Antrim. The success of North Antrim is shown in this research as 97% of tourists wanting to visit again. The interviews show that TourismNI ‘wooed’ the press in order for positive rather than negative news to be reported in the media.