The visitors experience in historical urban centers: city tourism and the influence of the environment on the shopping experience


The visitors experience in historical urban centers: city tourism and the influence of the environment on the shopping experience


Objectives. It is not odd to say the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the crucial events of last years, and that it has implications that will last at least a decade. The pandemic has impacted businesses across the world, especially for retail stores, restaurants, and the tourism sector. Since life hasn’t stopped nor the needs of the people, most of the population is preferring to shop online (Kim, 2020), and avoid traveling. UNWTO (2020b) predicted international arrivals to decline between 58% and 78%, or a loss of flows between 852 and 1,142 million tourists in 2020 alone. For international tourism, therefore, an unprecedented crisis is looming that would bring the sector back to 1950 values, wiping out the decade of sustained growth recorded after the global economic crisis of 2009. That crisis had caused a modest loss of international arrivals of 4%, while SARS had caused a decline of just 0.4% in 2003 (UNWTO, 2020a).

Shopping is an important component of travel as it assorts perceptions of products, services, and places, and the shopping experience is the sum of the satisfaction or dissatisfaction that tourists gain from the individual characteristics of the products and services they purchase (Piazam & Ellis, 1999). The service and products provided by retailers are an important part of the destination experience (Murphy et al., 2000). In this regard, shopping refers to a contemporary recreational activity involving looking, touching, searching, and buying, which helps to escape from the daily routine (Timothy, 2005). Thus, the shopping activity represents one of the most significant spending categories for tourists and the destinations are one of the main attractions of a region and an integral part of the tourist experience (Meng and Xu 2012; Jin, et al. 2017). In particular, both in-store and out-store elements appear to be relevant in the overall tourist experience (Bitner, 1990; Berman and Evans 1995; Lin, 2004; Yüksel, 2007; Levy & Weitz, 2009).

In this context, a trip to a tourist destination, especially an international destination, is a complex experience. Tourists may be satisfied with some aspects and dissatisfied with other aspects of their trip. Tourist satisfaction at the destination level is therefore conceptually different from satisfaction at the transactional level because the overall experience of the tourist is the sum of the many individual experiences experienced during the stay at the destination. These experiences can include interactions with a wide range of both natural and cultural attributes of the destination and are influenced by residents’ attitudes toward tourists and their perceptions of service quality and price (Yu and Goulden, 2006; Wang and Davidson, 2010). The factors that influence perception and tourist shopping satisfaction are numerous. Some of these factors are related to the characteristics of the place visited (including the shopping area, quality, variety of products offered, services, and overall interactions and other attributes of the place that are not directly related to shopping) and others relate to the background of the tourist (country of origin, ethnicity, religion, etc.).


#Covid-19 #Dissatisfaction #shopping experience #Tourism shopping #tourist behaviour