Tourism industry development in Cammeroon: Evaluating the influence of service quality and destination image on customer satisfaction among international tourists

Ngabiapsi Kamden, Joel (2017) Tourism industry development in Cammeroon: Evaluating the influence of service quality and destination image on customer satisfaction among international tourists. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

Cameroon is a Central African developing country, blessed with amazing natural attractions. Tourism may therefore be a great opportunity for the country to boost its economy. Our research examined how this can be achieved. Previous studies conducted in other developing countries identified three variables that mainly influence tourism impact on economy; namely service quality, destination image and customer satisfaction. This thesis established precisely the nature and significance of the relationship between those three variables; answering the research question, “what is the nature of the relationship between service quality, destination image and customer satisfaction amongst international tourists in Cameroon?” The specific objectives were to determine the dimensions of service quality that influence international tourists’ satisfaction in Cameroon; establish the difference in service quality dimensions between rural and urban Regions; identify the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction; determine the relationship between service quality and destination image; establish the relationship between destination image and customer satisfaction; and assess to what extent destination image meditates the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction. The research hypotheses were derived from those research objectives and the conceptual framework. The research question and objectives influenced the researcher to adopt both qualitative and quantitative approaches to gain extremely valuable information about the phenomenon. In order to obtain high validity and reliability, data were collected via multiple methods including document analysis, focus group and semi structured interviews, participant observation and questionnaire survey. The survey instrument was scientifically designed based on the contributions from Londoners and tourism experts in the United Kingdom; tourism companies’ managers, government officials and international tourists in Cameroon. The forty one item scale instrument, with specific focus on customer satisfaction, was self-administered in eight different Cameroonian cities to 397 international tourists. That survey was undertaken during a 25-week period (14 April – 28 June 2014 and 27 February – 11 April 2015). Descriptive analysis was used to profile the respondents, while factor analysis helped determine potent service quality dimensions in the tourism industry. Analysis of Variance test was performed in comparative analysis. The research hypotheses were tested via linear regression analysis, while hierarchical regression analysis was executed to ascertain the predictive power of service quality dimensions on customer satisfaction. An examination of the first research objective revealed four dimensions of service quality namely human elements reliability, human element responsiveness, non-human elements and service blue print. Concerning the second objective, a one-way ANOVA test led to establishing that tourists satisfaction differ significantly between urban and rural Regions along all four service quality dimensions (hypothesis 9 confirmed). A factor analysis determined that rural tourists are mostly satisfied by human elements reliability; while urban tourists privilege non-human elements. Given the multidimensionality of service quality, the third objective resulted in the formulation of the first four research hypotheses (H1, H2, H3 and H4). The results of linear regression analysis confirmed that a significant relationship exist between each service quality dimension and customer satisfaction. Another linear regression analysis showed a strong positive relationship between service quality, as one construct, and customer satisfaction (hypothesis 5 confirmed) Testing hypothesis six and seven helped achieve respectively the fourth and the fifth research objectives. Simple regression analysis proved the existence of a strong positive relationship between service quality and destination image (hypothesis 6 confirmed), then between destination image and customer satisfaction (hypothesis 7 confirmed). Using hierarchical regression analysis, the study established that destination image significantly mediated the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction (sixth research objective / hypothesis 8 confirmed) Arising from the study results, it has been established that international tourists in rural Regions experience different services from their counterparts in urban Regions. The research recommends that the regulatory authority - the Cameroonian ministry of tourism - must strive towards the standardisation of the service quality to ensure all tourists of equal value irrespective of where they experience the service. Prior notice should be given to tourism businesses to meet new policy requirements. Those which do not make necessary improvements at term should purely be stamped out. This research survey instrument having been tested and proven to be efficient, it can be adopted as a standard index of measuring tourist satisfaction all over the country.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tourism, Cameroon, Management
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 10:31
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 11:29
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1193

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