Adventure tourism has become more popular as an outdoor recreation activity in the tourism industry (Travel Industry Association of America, cited 2005). The term adventure can actually mean differently to different tourists because things that fill up the fear of one tourist may not fill up for another tourist (Buckly, 2006). Therefore, there is no any specific way to define adventure tourism. The word adventure is described as the risky activities in nature that are taken on by the tourist or the risky destination visited by the tourist and the tourist get an exciting and unusual experience from what the tourist had did (Farlex, The Free Dictionary). Adventure also is where the participants voluntarily putting themselves in a position that the participants believe that they are taking a step into the unknown where challenges will be faced and something valuable from the experience will be discovered or gained (Swarbrooke, Beard, Leckie, and Promfret, 2003). Consequently, adventure tourism is something related to nature and it is consisting of risk taking.
Muller and Cleaver (2000) (cited in Swarbrooke et al. 2003, p. 29) defined adventure tourism as the capability to provide tourists with relatively high degrees of sensory stimulation. It is usually contained some physical challenging elements with the (typically short) tourist’s experience. While Buckley (2006) mentioned that the term adventure tourism is used to mean as guided commercial tours where these major attraction is an outdoor activity that has natural environment features and normally needs specialized sporting or equipment. It must be exiting for the tourists also. This definition does not mean that the tourists or clients have to prepare the equipments themselves, they may purely be travellers and rely on the agents to prepare the equipments for them. For example, tandem parachute harness or white water raft, etc. Therefore, adventure tourism can refer to activities done by the tourists, which have high level of perceived or real risk like diving, hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, caving, sky-diving, skiing, snowboarding, white water rafting, kayaking, sailing, and sea kayaking. It also refer to a specific location of place with high degree of risk such as visiting desserts, jungles or mountaintops, polar regions and safaris. All these places have strong elements of adventure.
Adventure tourism can be divided into soft adventure and hard adventure. These terms are developed by researchers who devised a scale to explain the diversity of behaviour, beginning with mild adventure also known as soft adventure at one end of the scale and progress to hard adventure at the other extreme. This continuum, illustrate in Figure 1.1, involves different degrees of ‘challenge, uncertainty, setting familiarity, personal abilities, intensity, duration and perceptions of control’ (Lipscombe, 1995: 42). A simpler way to describe soft and hard adventure is that soft adventure does not necessarily require past experience whereas hard adventure requires some experiences and proficiency in the activity prior to the tourism experience (Millington and Locke, 2001).
‘Refers to activities with high levels of risk, requiring intense commitment and advanced skills.’
‘Refers to activities with a perceived risk but low levels of real risk, requiring minimal commitment and beginning skills; most of these activities are led by experienced guides.’
Figure 1: The continuum of soft and hard adventure (source: Hill, 1995, cited in Beard et al. 2003, p. 33).
Tourist behaviour is an in-depth topic as the behaviour of tourist change from time to time and sometimes it can be difficult to judge because not everyone shares the same behaviour. In order to understand tourist behaviour, psychologists have found that certain concepts are useful to understand the behaviour (Bhatia, 2006). According to Bhatia (2006), tourist behaviour can be understand by determining the motive, drives, or concerns being satisfied by the action and the attitudes and information that the person use to decide what kind of response should be made in a given situation. Motivation is one ways to describe tourist behaviour. Motivation is a verb derive from motivate Motivation is factor that influence or motivate trekkers to travel to Everest Base Camp. Motivation is defined as a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way or the desire or willingness to do something (Oxford online Dictionary). Hence, motivation of travel is why tourists travel to a place. It is important to know tourist travel motivations because motivations will affect travel decision process (Crompton and McKay, cited in Pan 2009, p. 216) and motivations are drivers that influence and affect the specific behaviour of a person or traveller. Furthermore, it also helps to develop strategies to attract tourists to a particular destination by understanding tourist behaviour. For example, travel agent or local authorities can find a way to increase the volume of tourists visiting a destination by understanding the tourist behaviour when the destination is kind of new in the tourism market or the number of tourists in the destination had decreased. Travel motivation is a wide theory where it can not be understood by looking at one part of the theory only.
Figure 2: The Motivation Process (source: Holloway, Humphreys & Davidson 2009, p.62).
The process of translating a need into motivation to visit a specific destination or undertake a specific activity is quite complex and can be best demonstrated by means of a diagram (refer to Figure 2) (Holloway, Humphreys & Davidson 2009, p.62). Potential consumers must be able to recognize their needs and wants and know what kinds of product actually satisfy their needs. Figure 2 shows that consumer perception of what will satisfy their need has to match with consumer perception of the attractions. Only when the consumer agrees on these 2 points, consumer will be motivated to visit a particular destination. For example, customer A and customer B have the same kind of need, where both of them like to do adventure activities and their think that trekking up to a mountain satisfies their need. Both customer A and B have the same interest but their perception on a particular destination may be different. Customer A may think that trekking to Mount Everest actually fulfils what he wants and his perception towards the destination is positive. While customer B may think that trekking to Mount Everest fulfil what he wants but he has a bad perception towards the destination as he think that the destination is very risky to him. Therefore, customer A will be willing to buy the package and climb up to Mount Everest because both the perception of the need and the attraction match. Customer B will not be motivated to go to Mount Everest as the perception of need and attraction do not match.
According to Beerli and Martin (cited in Correia, Valle and Moco 2007, p. 46), “motivation is the needs that drives and individual to act in a certain way to achieve the desire satisfaction”. Therefore, people travel base on many different reasons. Motivation has also been referred as psychological / biological needs and wants including integral forces that arouse, direct, and integrate a person’s behaviour and activity (Dann; Pearce; Uysal & Hagan, cited in Shin 2009, p. 32). Travel motivators are the factors that create a person’s desire to travel and are usually the internal psychological influences affecting individual choices (Bhatia, 2006). Travel motivations usually include a wide range of personal experiences and behaviours. Various studies have been done to find out why people wish to travel after the advent of mass tourism, especially after the Second World War. Macintosh (cited in Bhatia 2006) has group the basic travel motivators into four categories.
Physical motivators, which are related to physical relaxation, refreshment of body and mind, sports, pleasure, and special medical treatment. All these are connected with individual’s bodily well beings and connected to activities which help to reduce tension.
Cultural motivators, which are related to individual’s desire to travel in order to know more about other countries, natives of the countries and cultural heritage of the countries which expressed in art, music, dance, folklore, etc.
Interpersonal motivators, which are related to individual’s desire to meet new people, visit friends and relatives, and to seek new and different experiences. Travel is simply to escape from the daily routine or get away from the usual life or environment.
Status and prestige motivators, which are related to the needs of personal esteem and personal development in an individual. Such motivators are more likely to be concerned with the desire for recognition and attention from others, in order to boost personal ego. Under this kind of motivations, people usually travel for business, for the purpose of education and the pursuit of hobbies.
Crandall (cited in Hall & Page 1999) who did a study on the motivations of the leisure travellers, outlined 17 motivational factors which derived from a synthesis of previous studies in this field. Below are the 17 motivational factors listed by Crandall.
ENJOYING NATURE, ESAPING FROM CIVILISATION
To get away from civilisation for a while To be close to nature
To show other I could do it
So other would think highly of me for doing it
ESCAPE FROM ROUTINE AND RESPONSBILITY
Change from my daily routine
To get away from the responsibilities of my daily life
To have control over others
To be in a position of authority
For the exercise
To keep in shape
To help others
To be creative
For the excitement
Because of the risks involved
To relax physically
So the mind can slow down for a while
SELF-ACTUALISATION (FEEDBACK, SELF-IMPROVEMENT, ABILITY UTILISATION)
Seeing the results of your efforts
Using a variety of skills and talent
So I could do things with my companions To get away from other people
ACHIEVEMENT, CHALLENGE, COMPETITION
To develop my skill and ability
Because of the competition
To learn what I am capable of
MEETING NEW PEOPLE
To talk to new and varied people
To build friendships with new people
KILLING TIME, AVOID BOREDOM
To keep busy
To avoid boredom
To be with people of the opposite sex
To meet people of the opposite sex
To use my mind
To think bout my personal values
To be away from the family for a while
To help bring the family together more
Table 1: Crandall’s list of motivations. Source: Crandall 1980 (cited in Hall & Page 1999).
Pearce (cited in Pan 2009, p. 218) who had based and expanded on the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, first developed the travel career ladder approach to travel motivation in 1988 and later made conceptual adjustment to the travel career ladder in 2005. The fundamental nature of this model connects the level of travel experiences with the hierarchy of travel needs. According to Pearce (cited in Pan 2009, p. 218), travellers who had more experiences in travel usually seek experiences that meet their higher order of travel needs such as self-esteem and self-actualization. On the other hand, inexperienced travellers will tend to seek experiences that meet their basic travel needs such as security and psychological ones. Tourism industry is a services industry and the products which offer in tourism industry are intangible. It is widely known that to travel is to experience. Consequently, tourist experience is fundamentally a service experience.
The five level of travel career ladder, starting from the bottom are (1) concern with biological needs (including relaxation), (2) safety and security needs or level of stimulation, (3) relationship development and extension needs, (4) special interest and self-development needs, and (5) fulfilment of deep involvement needs which formally defined as self-actualization (Pearce cited in Marafa, Ho & Chau 2007, p.8). This travel career ladder is later presented graphically by Ryan (cited in Marafa, Ho & Chau 2007, p.8), refer to figure 3. It is not necessary that everyone has to start from the bottom because people change from time to time and some may try to seek for activities which satisfy high level of needs in pursuit of leisure and recreation (Marafa, Ho & Chau, 2007).
Figure 3: Travel Career Ladder by Ryan (cited in Marafa, Ho & Chau 2007, p. 9).
Another theory which often use by researchers when describing travel motivations is the push and pull theory. This theory shows that people travel because they are pushed and pulled to travel by some factors. Dann (cited in Pan 2009, p. 219) whom had combined and analyzed the relevant travel motivation literature, concluded that travel occurs due to the internal factors of indentified and unfulfilled desires (motivational push) and reinforce by external factors which is destination pull. Push factors are either internally generated or externally induced (Dann, cited in Pan 2009, p. 218). The desire to conquer a mountain by reaching the summit of the mountain is one of the examples of push factors. While pull factors are related to the attributes of the destination that serve to satisfy the needs and wants of travellers.
Several authors assume that internal and external factors are factors that motivate human behaviour. For example, Kotler (cited in Correia, Valle and Moco 2007, p. 46) states that motivations can be the result of internal and external stimuli. Internal factors are factors derive from personal needs and wants such as psychological, social egocentric, self-actualization and safety. While external factors are usually result from promotion and publicity. Travel motivation can be either personal (personal training, compensation rest and knowledge) or interpersonal (resulting from social relation) (Crompton, 1979; Dann, 1977; Yoon and Uysal, 2005, cited in Corriea et al. 2007, p.47).
Iso-Ahola; Ryan & Glendon (cited in Pan 2009, p. 219) argued that travel motivation is closely related to leisure motivation and the former should not be studied independent of the latter. Iso-Ahola (cited in Alexandris, Kouthouris, Funk & Giobani 2009, p. 482) defined tourism motivation as “a meaningful set of mind which adequately disposes an actor or a group of actor to travel”. Approach (seeking) and avoidance (escaping) are the two components in leisure motivation, identified by Iso-Ahola. Therefore, people travel in order to seek friendship, novelty, challenge, achievement, experience, and etc. while at the same time escape from the daily routine or personal problems. While Ryan & Glendon (cited in Pan 2009, p. 219) applied an abbreviated version (14 items) of the Leisure Motivation Scale of 1,127 United Kingdom holidaymakers and identified four motivation factors from the scale which were intellectual, social, competence mastery and stimulus avoidance. The first three factors could be categorized as “seek” components and the last factor as “escape” component.
Crompton (cited in Kao, Patterson, Scott, and Chung 2008, p. 18) studied travel motivation by using push and pull model and developed seven socio-psychological or push motives (escape from a perceived mundane environment, self-exploratory, relaxation, prestige and regression, enhancement of kinship relations, facilitation of social interaction) and two cultural motives or pull motives (novelty and education). This study refers to motives which are more specific and direct that can affect tourists’ decision on the travel decision or the type of holidays (Crompton, cited in Corriea et al. 2007, p.47). The author identify that psychological or social motives (push motives) sustain the desire to travel. While on the other hand, travel decision if affected by pull motives and pull motives are also associated to the destination’s characteristic (Lundberg, cited in Corriea et al. 2007, p.47).
A study was done to explore the motivations and satisfactions of Taiwanese Tourists who visit Australia (Kao, Patterson, Scott, and Chung, 2008). Push and pull approach was used to find 17 push motivations and 18 pull motivations for travel in this study. The most important push factor found in this study is ‘Travelling around the world’, while the most important pull factor is ‘sunshine and scenery’ and most of the Taiwanese tourists are satisfied after visiting Australia. Study done by Chang (2007) on travel motivation of package tour travellers suggested that socio-psychological needs were an important motivation for travel, and socio-economic considerations were regarded as a crucial motivation for travel decision making. Furthermore, social relationships – friends or relatives’ recommendations had a strong impact in the decision makings of the Taiwanese travellers (Chang, 2007). This study was done to examine travel motivations and travel decision-making of Taiwanese tourists with a group package tour abroad. Therefore, it can be said that tourists travel to a destination is strongly influenced by their socio-psychological needs.
Tourist builds his/her perceptions based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (Gartner, 1993; Dann, 1996; Baloglu, 1997; cited in Corriea et al. 2007, p.47). Everyone receives and processes information differently. Therefore, individual’s perception is also formed differently base on how the information is received and transformed. According to Oxford online dictionary, perception means the ability to see hear, or become aware of something through senses or the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. Perceptions are also defined as the perceived value of product by many previous researchers (Correia and Crouch, 2004; Correia et al., 2007C; Holbrook, 1996; oh, 2000; Sheth et al., 1991; Zeithaml, 1998; cited in Correia and Pimpao 2008). This concept develops based on cognitive and behavioural perspectives which result from the learning and motivational processes rendered by the tourist. Therefore, perception is the point of views about what the tourist think about the destination.
Perception of a destination is linked to the destination image. Based on the image of the destination, perception of the destination will be generated and each tourist will have their own perception about the destination. Destination image is described as overall perceptions of individuals regarding a place or total set of impressions about a destination (Bigne et al., 2001; Fakeye and Crompton, 1991; cited in Alvarez and Korzay 2008). Destination image is usually formed through media, either positive or negative images. This is based on how the country promotes the destination in its country and through world news, people can easily know the problems or issues in the country. Hence, the destination image will be easily affected and it changes over time because people build up the destination images and representations based on the information that they receive (Avraham, 2000; So¨nmez and Sirakaya, 2002; cited in Alvarez and Korzay 2008). In 21st century, internet is the most powerful media that affect customer’s perception and destination image. In the world of internet, people can easily source for information regarding the destination and leave comments on the blogs or travel discussion forums after visiting the destination. Therefore, people nowadays not only listen to their friends’ past travel experiences but also read the worldwide tourists’ experiences from travel blogs or travel discussion forums. It is important to know what Malaysian trekkers’ think about Everest Base Camp which can be risky.
Corriea et al. (2007) did a research on why people travel to exotic places by combining motivations and perceptions. This is the first time and they are the first few researchers that combine motivations and perceptions in order to understand how people can be pushed to travel to exotic places and how they form their perceptions. In this research, Corriea et al. (2007) try to find the relationship between push and pull motivation, push motivation and perception, and pull motivation and perception, based on a group of Portuguese tourists who go to exotic places such as Brazil, Morocco, Egypt, Sao Tome, and Principe. This study proves that perception of tourist destinations are formed based on push and pull factors but the relationship between push factors and perceptions in not significant and this proves that tourist decides to go for travel because he/she need to solve a conflict arousal (rest, social, and intellectual rewards) (Corriea et al. 2007). After that, the tourist will decide where to go based on the destination attributes. Destination attributes (pull motives) are seen as the way to solve intrinsic motives (push motives) in this study, but these constructs are not directly related to the overall perceptionof the destination because they are apparently solved when the tourist turns the attention to specific attributes (Corriea et al. 2007).
Gnoth (1997) reports that the perception of a destination may be analysed from a cognitive or behavioural perspective. There are several types of perceptions which are cognitive component (which results from the evaluation of the destination attributes) and personal component (which results from the evaluation of the destination attributes) that a person can have, argued by Gnoth (1997).
Travel motivation is an extensive researched area in tourism (Pan, 2009). Consequently, there are many theories that describe about tourist motivation to travel suggest by several authors or researchers as different tourist have different mindset and behaviour. Furthermore, there are many forms of tourism and tourists can be clustered into various types of groups. Perceptions of travellers on a particular destination can be unlikely because everyone thinks differently. Due to different in culture and the way they receive and transform the information will affect the perception of the tourists.
Figure 4: Conceptual Framework
Trekking in Everest region is the dream of most of the Malaysian’s trekkers.
Its part of self-fulfillment of the trekkers and they want to challenge themselves as Malaysia does not have mountains which are more than 5000m and Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
Malaysian’s trekkers travel to Everest Base Camp but not to the summit of Mount Everest because budget and time limit them to trek to the summit of Mount Everest.
To know the factors that motivate them to take Everest base camp trek
To understand traveler’s perception on Everest base camp, Nepal as a tourism destination