The structural relationships of destination image, awareness, uniqueness and destination loyalty in periurban ecotourism destination

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Abstract

This study is designed to explore the conceptualization of ecotourism in order to expand the concept into ecotourism activities in our daily lives. To this end, the author proposes the ‘periurban ecotourism’ concept and conducts an empirical study with a focus on Nabari City, a small Japanese city with a well-preserved natural environment that has been attracting a number of visitors. In this study, destination image, awareness and uniqueness are presented as key independent variables to set directions for the development as a periurban ecotourism destination and to thereby develop a “theoretical periurban ecotourism model”, and four hypotheses for this study are examined. Findings from the examination reveal that destination image and awareness have a positive impact on overall satisfaction while destination uniqueness generates statistically significant result. In a group of first visitors, however, destination uniqueness appears to have a significant impact of some degree, with less influence than expected. In order to help redefine ecotourism and suggest a variety of research questions for ecotourism markets, it is necessary to conduct an empirical study covering “periurban ecotourism” and its conceptualization, motivation of ecotourists, and lifestyles from a more concrete perspective.

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