ECO TOURISM SERVICE QUALITY AND ETHICAL PRCATICES: A CASE STUDY OF TOURIST SATIFACTION IN THE DESERT TRIANGLE OF RAJASTAHN
Dr Meeta Nihalani
Head. Department of Management Studies
Jai Narain Vyas University Rajasthan
The tourism is the flourishing and the growing business of the modern economy where travel has become the part of human life. Eco-tourism practices relate to the preservation of the world created by God which has to be preserved in the most natural and original form so as to conserve the beauty and natural attractions of the earth and the destination. The natural resources and the beauty are the assets of any economy as they impact the economic development and the standards of living of people in the local destination. The basic aim of the paper is to analyze the eco- tourism practices and their impact on the tourism satisfaction and attitude. The ecotourism practices relate to the service quality taken by the organizations in Rajasthan.
Key words - eco-tourism practices, tourist satisfaction, service quality
The ecotourism practices are the sustainable way of promoting the tourism products in the market so as to harmonies with the nature. The ecotourism is the most pure form of promoting the industry to earn and grow with the minimum negative impacts on the environment. The ecotourism and the eco- travel are a way of life for the quality promotion of travel services. The green tourism basically incorporates the values of the interaction with the ecosystem in a healthy way. The sustainable and managed tourism is the systematic planning with the impact of promotion of the local cultures, values, religion and preservation of the community in its most traditional form for the conservation of the local resources. The local fabric of any economy is built by the designing of the traditions and values of the community involved. The conservation of the local ecosystem and the resources will help in the development of strong economic growth with the emphasis for quality services given by the tourism organizations and the destination when the tourist reaches the host destination. The organizations involved with the interaction of the tourists relate to the hotels, travel agents and transportation sector. The value created for the return on the money invested is important for enhancing the tourist satisfaction.
Definition of Eco-tourism
Definition by McCormick, 1994
Ecotourism is defined as a “purposeful travel to natural areas to understand the culture and natural history of the environment, taking care not to alter the integrity of the ecosystem, while producing economic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resources beneficial to local people”
Definition of Hawkins and Khan - 1998
Ecotourism, though defined in many ways, is generally used to describe activities conducted in harmony with nature, as opposed to more traditional mass tourism
According to the Ecotourism Society (1992)
I t is “responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and sustains the wellbeing of the local people.”
The tools and practices of eco-tourism
The tools of ecotourism can build the fabric of sustainable and quality tourism for the promotion of conservation of the ecosystem. The various authors have suggested different tools of eco-tourism.
Figure- 1 the tools of tourism
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Characteristics of ecotourism
According to Chesworth (1995), Ecotourism has six characteristics. These are:
- Ecotourism involves travel to relatively undisturbed natural areas and/or archaeological sites
- it focuses on learning and the quality of experience
- it economically benefits the local communities
- Eco tourists seek to view rare species, spectacular landscapes and/or the unusual and exotic
- Eco tourists do not deplete resources but even sustain the environment or help undo damage to the environment
- Eco tourists appreciate and respect local culture, traditions, etc.
The factors impacting the development of ecotourism practices in any economy
Tourism industry is changing in its shape and dimensions because of the factors impacting the local economy. The forces of globalization have exposed the local community to the international market and for which the local values have to be preserved to maintain the national impact. The basic factors impacting the eco-tourism practices in the local economy are as follows
Figure – 2 the factors and their impact on the eco-tourism practices
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The impact of development and the carrying capacity of the destination
The development of the destination has to be systematic and managed in such a way that carrying capacity is maintained and there are no negative impacts on the environment. The maintenance of the carrying capacity of the environment can be done by limiting the number of visitors per hour/day. According to Libosada (1998) carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals that can be accommodated in an area without affecting the state of the environment, the level of satisfaction of the visitor and the social culture of the host community. The following are the considerations in determining the carrying capacity:
- the space where the tourist (individual) can move about without causing annoyance, stress or uneasiness on another individual nearby;
- the disturbance that tourist can possibly make, e.g. noise, mobility;
- the nature of the place itself, e.g., rocky, muddy, forested, etc.; and
- The distance/ length of time travelled by the visitors between her/his place of origin to the intended destination.
Carrying capacity (cc) =
Area used by tourists - is the actual measurement in sq. meter, of the space that can possibly be occupied by people.
The Average Individual Standard is the number of individuals at any given time that management will allow after weighing the considerations in determining the carrying capacity of the attractions
Rotation Coefficient (R.C) =
The Rotation Coefficient determines the number of batch of people which can be allowed to stay in the attractions within particular time duration. It is computed by dividing the number of hours the area is open to tourists over the average time (hour) spent during the visit.
The total number of allowed daily visits is then obtained:
Total of Daily Visits (TDV) = Carrying Capacity x Rotation Coefficient
The eco-tourism and the community participation
The fabric of the eco-tourism can only be built by the community people. The local participation can promote the indigenous resources and make use of areas to generate business and employment by the focal on the values and the traditions of the local economy. The living traditions of the people and their preservation are important to maintain the richness and the depth of the destination.
Figure-3 ecotourism and the community participation
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The destination and the service quality of eco-tourism
The service quality builds the tourist satisfaction. The impact of the quality comes from combination of the access quality, accommodation quality and the venue quality. The destination comfort is created by the good hotels with the ambience and facilities and the systematic and affordable transportation facility. The venue quality is the result of good environment and the healthy interaction value.
Figure –4 the tourist satisfaction and variables
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According to Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry 1989- The definition of service quality and its attributes might be disputed, but its overall importance results in:
- long-term benefits in customer loyalty
- cost-effectiveness, profitability
- increased market share
According to Sonneberg 1988- the good services of the company can attract the new customers and it also increases the satisfaction for the existing customers and this can promote the cross selling of the products.
According to Smith 1992 – when goals of eco-tourism practices are ambitious then the traffic brings more damage than conservation
According to Wight (1993) - the tour operators in a rush to Eco sell the destination for short-term economic gains are ignoring the long-term adverse impacts.
According to Boo 1990; Eagles 1992; Ingram and Durst 1989; Ryel and Grasse 1991; Whelan 1991; Wight 1996)- the Eco tourists are mostly affluent people looking for natural learning experiences in pristine environments. They are willing to pay more for products and services provided by environmentally conscious suppliers.
According to Crossley and Lee (1994) - the eco tourists differ from mass tourists, their service quality expectations .The characteristics of the tourism service quality have to be studied with the reference of the sustainable ecotourism aspect. The natural and cultural assets are considered as two important aspects of sustainable aspects of ecotourism destination (Yunis. E.). the sustainable tourism involves
- Respecting local culture
- Preserving the environment and improving the economic well-being of the locals (Dinan P.S.Sargeanant)
- Quality of the environment (Petrosillio)
- Harmony with nature (Le Blanc)
- Recycling and solid waste processing (Stern.C.J )
- Energy saving (Blancas)
- Benefits to the locals (Koens)
- As such overdevelopment, overcrowding and neglecting the environment are unsustainable ( Alegre )
According to Berry 1980; Rathmell 1974- Service involves the consistent satisfaction of the needs and expectations of all customers. In order to comprehend service quality, the different service characteristics need to be analyzed which are.
- inseparability of production and consumption
Kusler (1991) believes that ecotourism must have a strong “people element”.
According to Regis (2000) – the development of ecotourism can be by two attributes:
- Species and ecosystem conservation
- Livelihood for local communities.
Kersten (1997) defined Community-based ecotourism as a kind of nature tourism wherein the local community maintains full (or major) control over the management and the profits of the project. The ecotourism help to
- preserve ecosystems
- cultivate environmental consciousness
- promote new economic incentives, e.g. selling of local (environmentally safe) products
- ensure communal ownership and control
- foster a feeling of pride and community
Biodiversity principles forwarded by Jeffries (1997) are:
1. Biodiversity is the variety and richness of life on earth.
2. The potentials of biodiversity are:
- the value of species
- Some species found in these natural systems have the genes needed to improve existing crops or agriculture species.
- wild strains of crops/agriculture species may enhance resistance to disease,
3. Biodiversity increases with increasing area due to increasingly different habitats; and
4. The greater the variety of types of habitat, the greater the diversity of species.
5. Fresh water is a necessity. It is also a limited and valuable resource, thus the need for utmost care and maintenance.
6. Wastes overflow contaminates the environment be it water, soil and air and cause a variety of illnesses for people especially tourists who probably have not yet developed resistance to such disease.
7. Cultural contacts with foreign and western culture can cause negative impacts on the native population
8. Historical structures are legacy of the past history and culture of the area.
9. Tall and imposing infrastructures and signboards cause visual pollution that defeats the purpose of natural setting.
10. Population pressure is one factor that can degrade ecosystems by exceeding the carrying capacity of the environment to assimilate wastes, noise and other disturbances.
11. Environmental education program ensures that local communities and tourist understood the need for conservation and protection of the environment
12. Livelihood opportunities provide economic benefits to the local communities thereby obtain their willingness to protect and conserve the resource
13. The success of any project ultimate lies in the support of the local government who creates ordinances and barangay resolutions to ensure the smooth implementation of activities and enforcement of applicable regulations.
Opinion and the review
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ECOSERV Scale development
The paper focuses on the development of the ECOSERV scale which is evolved from the SERVQUAL scale developed by the developed by Parasuraman, Zeithmal and Berry (1986, 1988, 1991)
SERVQUAL is a useful measurement tool that has made an important and valuable contribution in the area of perceived service quality measurement (Day 1992; Fick and Ritchie 1991).
The original scale was revised and according to Parasuraman (1991), it is a generic instrument with good reliability, validity, and broad applicability.
Fick and Ritchie (1991) examined the operation of the SERVQUAL instrument in four major tourism sectors: airline, hotel, restaurant, and ski area service. They found that the two most important expectations concerning service were reliability and assurance for all four sectors.
Lee and Hing (1995) assessed the usefulness and application of the SERVQUAL instrument in mesa- urging and comparing the service quality of two fine dining restaurants.
It has been reported that the ecotourism’s motivations, education, participation, and behavior differ from mass tourists, even when visiting the same destination (Fennell and Eagles 1990; Ingram and Durst 1989; Differ 1989).
The major objective of this paper is to analyses the environmental issues and their impact on the tourism industry. The basic aim is to promote quality in development through the policy measures so that the tourists can be satisfied. The basic objectives are to
1. To conceptualize the development of ethical eco-tourism practices for the industry and to study the influence of various eco- tourism practices on the dependent variables as tourist satisfaction and tourist attitude in the selected organizations.
2. To study the best practices regarding eco- tourism management in some selected professionally excellent tourism institutions.
3. To develop suggested framework for implementing strong and resilient eco -tourism practices in the tourism organizations.
Null Hypothesis -H01: There is no significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by gender coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Alternative Hypothesis -H01: There is a significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by gender coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Null Hypothesis- H02: There is no significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by occupation coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Alternative Hypothesis -H02: There is a significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by occupation coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Null Hypothesis - H103: There is no significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by income level coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Alternative Hypothesis- H03: There is a significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by income level coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Null Hypothesis - H104: There is no significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by education level coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Alternative Hypothesis- H04: There is a significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by education level coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Null Hypothesis - H105: There is no significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by age coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Alternative Hypothesis- H05: There is a significant difference about eco-tourism service quality and satisfaction amongst tourists classified by age coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan
Research Methodology - The researcher contacted the respondents personally with well-prepared sequentially arranged questionnaire. The questionnaire prepared, was divided into two parts, of which part one was used to gather demographic details of the respondents coming to the desert triangle of Rajasthan. The second part consisted of the questions related to eco-tourism facilities and the quality of the service quality. There are two variables in the research consisting of;
Independent variable – Eco tourism service quality provided by the travel organizations
Dependent variable - Tourist satisfaction