A behavioral framework for tourism travel time use and activity patterns
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American households spend over $30 billion on tourism and take over 177 million long-distance leisure trips each year. These trips, and the subsequent vehicle miles traveled, have a significant impact on the transportation systems at major destinations across the country, especially those destinations that are still improving their transportation systems. Surprisingly, not much is known related to this type of travel. This dissertation expands the current knowledge of tourism travel behavior, in terms of how people make decisions regarding long-distance leisure activities and time use. Specifically, this dissertation develops and comprehensively examines a behavioral framework for household tourism time use and activity patterns. This framework combines (and builds upon) theory and methods from both transportation and tourism research fields such that it can be used to improve tourism demand modeling. This framework takes an interdisciplinary approach to describe how long distance leisure travelers allocate and maximize their time use across various types of activities. It also considers the many levels of tourism time use and activity patterns, including the structuring the broad annual leisure activity and time budget, forming individual tourism trips within the defined budget, and selecting specific activities and timing during each distinct tourism trip. Subsequently, this dissertation will additionally apply the time use and activity participation behavioral framework to four critical tourism research topics to demonstrate how the tourism behavioral framework can effectively be used to provide behavioral insights into some of the most commonly studied critical tourism issues. These application topics include household participation in broad tourism travel activities, travel parties’ tourism destination and travel mode selection, individuals’ loyalty towards daily and tourism activities, and travel parties’ participation in combinations of specific tourism trip activities. These application studies incorporate a variety of data sources, decision makers, study scales, situation-appropriate modeling techniques, and economic/individual/environmental factors to capture all aspects of the decision and travel activity-making process.