Generation X tourists (born between 1960 and 1980) are those who value domestic destinations the most, reveals a study by researchers from the University of Coimbra and the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, today released by the Lusa agency.
The authors of the study that focused on the Center of Portugal, as it is a very heterogeneous region, consider that Generation X tourists should “be the main target of tourism organizations”, at a time when domestic tourism can be a “board” of salvation ”for a sector weakened due to the crisis caused by covid-19.
“The results obtained can be an important tool for destination managers and tourist organizations, as it is proven that tourists of different generations form the image of destinations differently, which will have a strong impact on their planning behaviors and travel purchases ”, considers the study's main investigator, Cláudia Seabra.
According to Lusa, the study involved 622 domestic tourists who visited the Center of Portugal, belonging to three different generations, namely Baby Boomers (born between 1940 and 1960), Generation X (born between 1960 and 1980) and Millennials or Generation Y (born between 1980 and 2000).
According to the study, Baby Boomers form “a cognitive image of destiny based on two dimensions, namely history and culture”, and “relaxation and socialization”.
Generation X national tourists have “a more complex image of the destination, privileging four dimensions: simplicity and authenticity, good infrastructure, relaxation and socialization and nostalgia”.
Millennials build their image of destiny essentially taking into account “the factors of environment and nostalgia”, he adds.
The study also mentions that, with regard to the destination's affective image, Generation X tourists associate more positive feelings with places than Baby Boomers and Millennials.
“This is probably because Generation X individuals are more flexible and more curious and, at the same time, because they tend to be more empathetic and more sensitive. On the other hand, Baby Boomers and Millennials have very similar preferences in terms of excitement, authenticity, relaxation and novelty, when it comes to building the image of affective destiny ”, justifies Cláudia Seabra.
The professor at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra stresses that, “surprisingly, Millennials and Baby Boomers, despite being more distant in terms of age, share a more homogeneous affective image than that of Generation X tourists”.
In other words, “grandparents and grandchildren identify more than children and parents in shaping the image of tourist destinations”, he stresses.
In the researchers' view, “Baby Boomers adopt behaviors that are similar to those adopted by younger generations to look younger than they really are” and, in turn, “Millennials are nostalgic and maintain a close connection to the old days” .
“Baby Boomers and Millennials have several similarities. Both were created in times of change and witnessed major changes that shaped their behaviors and mindsets. They value time and memorable experiences, but they also like to feel safe, they are curious, independent and adventurous individuals, but they seek protected environments ”, explains Cláudia Seabra.
In his opinion, organizations that intend to attract national tourists "must realize that those build the cognitive image of destination based on concepts such as simplicity and authenticity, environment, relaxation and socialization, good infrastructure, nostalgia and history and culture".
"This assumption means that these six aspects must be valued and taken care of in the destination in a global way and in the areas that surround hotels or restaurants", he stresses.
The researcher also argues that it is essential to pay attention to the affective dimension, because it is “a crucial aspect valued by national tourists”.
"What tourists know about domestic destinations will influence their emotions and feelings about those places", he considers.
In this context, “the development of campaigns to promote national destinations based on these dimensions and attributes will lead tourists to choose domestic destinations and formulate purchase intentions”.