Empirical analysis of the cross-cultural information searching and travel behavior of business travelers: A case study of MICE travelers to Qatar in the Middle East

published: June 2017
Journal: Applied Geography

Very few tourism geographers have investigated the way meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) travelers search for information and their travel behavior based on cultural background and country of origin. In addition, little attention has been paid to examining the factors that affect MICE travelers’ decisions to visit a certain destination. To address this knowledge gap, this paper aims to examine the impact of cultural factors on the information acquisition and travel behaviors of MICE tourists. It also examines the factors that affect travelers’ decisions to visit a certain destination in cross- cultural settings. The primary data, related to the impact of cultural aspects of MICE travelers on their information searching and travel behaviors, were collected through a self administered survey. The survey tool was composed of key elements the country of normal residence, behaviors in information searching, the arrangement of the present trip, travel behaviors, significant effects on tourists’ choices and satisfaction, and the socio-demographic characteristics of MICE travelers. The sample population was composed of Chinese-, Arabic-, and English-speaking MICE travelers at one of the top Middle Eastern MICE tourism destinations, Doha, Qatar. The relevant data were collected from MICE travelers at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, which is considered the main MICE sector setting in Doha. To test the proposed hypotheses, which concern categorical variables, a series of chi-square tests for independence or relatedness were conducted. These tests are appropriate for analyzing the relationship between two categorical variables. The study revealed notable differences between the three respondent groups. This paper proposes that destinations marketers should develop targeted marketing strategies based on the information and travel behavior of each cultural group. Particular marketing implications for Doha are discussed.

Ammar Abulibdeh , Esmat Zaidan
Department of International Affairs, College of Arts and Science, Qatar University, Doha, P.O.Box: 2713, Qatar
Department of Geography and Urban Planning, United Arab Emirates University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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