List of figures
List of abbreviations
1.2 Research aim
1.3 Research question
2. Literature Review
184.108.40.206 Horse-based Tourism in Iceland
220.127.116.11 The Icelandic Horse
18.104.22.168 The Landsmót
2.3 Tourist behaviour
2.3.1 Differentiation between consumer and tourist behaviour
2.3.2 Tourist decision-making process
2.4 Tourist motivation
2.4.1 Need-based motivation
2.4.2 Motivation of equestrian tourists
3.1 Rationale behind the methodology
3.3 The sample
3.4 Primary data
3.4.2 Pilot test
3.5 Secondary data
3.5.1 Multiple source
3.5.2 Survey-based secondary data
4. Presentation & Analysis of Findings
4.1 Participants relation to Icelandic Horses
4.3 The Landsmót
4.3.1 Motivation of visiting the Landsmót
4.4 Demographic numbers
5. Discussion of findings
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Despite the fact that horse-based tourism is popular as a high-impact recreational activity, this research field has received little attention. Although motivation theories have been related to jobs and tourism in general, little is known about the target groups of equestrian tourists.
The purpose of this study is to investigate, how the Landsmót affect the motivation of the German Icelandic Horse community regarding their decision to travel to Iceland. Special focus was put on their individual motivation to visit the Landsmót and the resulting impact on their final travel decision.
To identify correlations between tourist motivation and destination choice, the study is based on a cross-sectional explanatory research purpose, using a mixed-model research method which consists of a survey and an archival research.
Responses from 222 German Icelandic Horse community members were used in order to answer the research questions. The results illustrate, regardless of gender, that equestrian tourists of the German Icelandic Horse community were mostly motivated by entertainment and aesthetic needs, rather than escape or self-esteem. However, comparisons based on the colonial cup race study by Daniels and Norman (2005) show significant differences in the motivation need of group affiliation.
No direct correlation exists between the travel motivation of the Icelandic Horse community of Germany and the Landsmót. Despite its significant publicity among the German Icelandic Horse community, it is not part of the process of choosing this destination because of this special horse-based event. According to that the Landsmót it is not the determining factor for choosing Iceland as a travel destination.
Nevertheless, this study provides a background and status quo for further specific investigations, regarding the travel behaviour of Icelandic Horse Community of Germany.
LIST OF FIGURES
2.3.1 The concept map for understanding tourist behaviour
2.3.2 Stages in tourist behaviour decision-making
4.1 Duration of Icelandic Horse riding
4.2 Importance of different Iceland activities for tourist
4.3.1 Motivation of visiting the Landsmót
8.1 Do you own an own Icelandic Horse?
8.2 How many horses do you own?
8.3 What is your relation to the Icelandic Horse sport?
8.4 Did you already visit Iceland?
8.5 How often did you visit Iceland?
8.6 What would be a reason for you to travel to Iceland?
8.7 Which of these factors would influence your decision to travel to Iceland?
8.8 What do you associate with Iceland?
8.9 Do you know the Landsmót?
8.10 Did you already visit the Landsmót?
8.11 How many times did you visit the Landsmót?
8.12 When was your last Landsmót visit?
8.13 Do you plan to visit the Landsmót 2012?
8.17 Annual income
8.18 Marital status
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
illustration not visible in this excerpt
A special thanks to my personal tutor Klaus Gerth for his support during the entirely writing process.
Moreover, I want to thank IPZV and Isibless for publishing my research. I am also grateful for all the volunteers investing their time in participating on my survey.
Horse-based tourism has received little attention from researchers (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 105) despite its world-wide popularity as “high-impact recreational activity” (Newsome et al., 2008: 144). Depending on the definition, equestrian tourism can be classified as “farm tourism”, “adventure tourism”, “urban tourism” as well as “ecotourism” (Ollenburg, 2005: 47). Consequently many touristic products refer to horses and are available at different prices and places depending on the customers’ individual skills and experiences (Ollenburg, 2005: 47). Due to the fact that all horse-based products are linked to the subordinate factor horse, it is the tour operators´ responsibility to guarantee skilled staff, interacting and managing tourists and horses (Ollenburg, 2005: 47).
Horse-based activities are “[…] often seen as part of an area´s cultural and historic heritage […]” (Newsome et al., 2008: 144). Iceland and its special Icelandic horse breed has a long and old tradition, as it is attributed to Iceland as a travel destination and “[…] is one of the [most important] icons used in promotional imagery shaping visitors expectations […]” (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 105). Based on the cultural and historic heritage, the Icelanders celebrate every two years the most popular sport- and breeding tournament within the Icelandic scene – the Landsmót.
Due to the importance of horse-based tourism in general and the special meaning of riding tourism in Iceland, an analysis of the Landsmót, concerning equestrian tourist segmentation and motivation, merits research.
In order to conduct this survey, the study follows a clear and coherent research design. To make the reader aware of the topic, this elaboration starts with a literature review presenting the most important current aspects. The literature review is followed by the methodology, providing an in-depth understanding for the research choice. Based on the methodology the research findings will be presented. Finally the analysis of the findings, as well as the conclusion accomplishes the study.
1.2 Research Aim
The purpose of this research is to investigate different target groups within the German Icelandic horse scene, belonging to the target group of Landsmót tourists. It will mainly focus on their individual motivation and the resulting impact on their travel decision. Therefore, the following research objectives should be achieved:
- To classify different target groups within the German Icelandic horse community travelling to the Landsmót in Iceland
- To investigate the Landsmót significance in the destination decision-making process
- To identify different motivations of Landsmót tourists
- To develop an explanatory theory that explains the relation between equestrian tourists travel motivation and a horse-based event destination
- To draw conclusions between the Landsmót travel motivation and the economic recession in Iceland
1.3 Research Question
How does the Landsmót affect the motivation of the Icelandic Horse community of Germany to travel to Iceland?
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
Tourism has developed as one of the fastest growing economic sectors during the twentieth century (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 419). The importance of tourism is essential, as it is seen as a ‘driver for growth’, a ‘creator for jobs’ and an ‘engine for development’ (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 419). Within the tourism industry horse-based tourism as well as equestrian events are important travel reasons for certain destinations.
The literature review illustrates the relevance of horse-based tourism for Iceland to prove the research purpose. Statistics are presented to provide background data about Iceland and to give a base for later comparisons with the survey. The effects of the recession on the Icelandic tourism are taken into consideration in order to investigate possible correlations between the recession and the travel motivation later on.
In terms of theoretical background, the literature review mentions known motivation theories, which can be related to tourism and travel motivation. The mentioned theories are extremely relevant for creating a framework for the survey. A comparable study regarding equestrian tourist’s travel motivation will be illustrated. By demonstrating different motivation theories related to tourism on the one hand and the lack of research in case of the Landsmót in Iceland on the other hand, the literature review provides a base for developing an explanatory theory. The aim of the explanatory theory is to identify a relation between travel motivation and travel destination, concerning a horse-based event.
The 103.1 thousand km² island of Iceland is located right below the Arctic Circle with around 320,000 inhabitants (Eldey.de, 2012a). Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe (Eldey.de, 2012a) and characterized by “[…] volcanic topography, glaciated mountains and un-inhabited high-plateau[s] […]” (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010:424) More than half of the Icelanders live in the metropolitan area of the capital Reykjavik (Eldey.de, 2012a). 20,000 out of the 320,000 Icelanders are regular riders (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 107), which is in relation to the whole population a significant number. Besides the riders, another majority of the inhabitants is affected by horse-based tourism due to farming, export or accommodation. As horses seem to be an important aspect for Iceland and its tourism and economy, the following chapters provide an in-depth insight in the significance of horse-based tourism for Iceland.
Iceland’s economy is historically based on fishing and opens to the impacts of globalization, which led to a financial collapse in 2008 (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 424). First attempts of an economic diversification were made during the second half of the 20th century by using the natural “[…] resources of geothermal energy and hydropower” (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 424). However, fishing is still the largest economic sector of foreign currency receipts with 34%, followed by the production of aluminium with 17% and tourism with 13% of the total GDP (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 426).
Regarding Iceland´s agriculture, only 2.3 per cent of the land is used for cultivating food, due to the cool climate of the Island (Eldey.de, 2012b). Important for the domestic agriculture is keeping of farm animals. An essential part of farming is the milk and sheep production with over 460,000 animals. Consequently, Iceland is largely independent of foreign countries concerning agricultural products, meat, poultry, eggs and milk (Eldey.de, 2012b).
The financial crisis in 2008 financial crisis affected Iceland enormously. Approximately 85% of the Icelandic banking sector, as well as the value of the Icelandic Krone collapsed (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 424). Icelandic banks needed to be nationalized and only due to an € 1.67 billion IMF loan, a national bankruptcy of Iceland could be averted (Eldey.de, 2012c). The inflation reached 18.6% at its peak and the unemployment up to 9.1 % in March 2009 (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 424). A rise of 200% in the public sector debt and a decrease of approximately 10% of the GDP were estimated for 2009 (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 424).
Nevertheless, the situation has stabilized and many companies returned to increasing exports due to the decreased value of the Krone (Zeit.de, 2009). The unemployment rate is declining due to cheap labor wages in Krones and a soon to return economical growth is expected (Eldey.de, 2012c).
Although tourism in Iceland has boomed over the last two decades, it did not receive any remarkable recognition among stakeholders until the financial crash of 2008 (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 427). Generally tourism was seen as an existing employment sector, rather than a beneficial economy sector (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 427). In 2009, 5.1% of the total numbers of jobs in Iceland were based in the tourism sector (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 3). That means in figures 5,350 jobs in tourism, against 3,116 jobs in the industry sector (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 3). Before the crisis in 2007, already 5,414 jobs were provided by the tourism and just 2,983 jobs by the industry (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 3).
Due to the financial crisis tourism was seen as a strategy to cope the decreases in agriculture and fishing, as well as a change for regional development (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 427). Especially small businesses like farms invented “[…] a light [out of] the darkness […]”, by changing their traditional farming and setting up rural tourism (Jóhannesson and Huijbens, 2010: 427).
Iceland is relies on its infrastructure and is accessible only by air and water. Consequently, Keflavik airport is of high importance for Iceland´s tourism. In 2008, 472,672 visitors arrived through Keflavik airport (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 6). In the following years the visitor number decrease to 464,536 visitors in 2009 and 459,252 visitors in 2010 (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 3). While the visitors numbers of 07/08 received an increase of 3%, there was a conspicuous decrease in 08/09 (the crisis year) of -1.7%, as well as -1.1% in 2012 (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 6). Regarding the target group of German visitors, on which this study is focused, increases of visitor number were recorded by the Icelandic Tourism Board: 45,120 visitors in 2008 and 54,377 visitors in 2010 (Icelandic Tourism Board, 2011: 6). This fact allows the presumption that the travel motivation of the Germans may has increased during the crisis.
According to the Icelandic Tourism Board 90% (313 respondents) of German visitors visit Iceland for holidays and have an average age of 37,1 year (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, A18, A7). 45.3% out of 269 respondents have an average income and stay in average 12.9 nights (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, A11, B2). 47.65% (313 respondents) travel with their spouse, 23.9% per cent who travel with friends (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, B1). As a major impact on their travel decision, 313 German visitors name the Icelandic nature (86.7%), followed by the Icelandic culture (36.9%) (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, A16). 10.7% mention the attractive prices of Iceland and ‘other impacts’. Recreational activities like horse riding, are mentioned by 16.5% (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, A16). Special events in Iceland, e.g. the Landsmót, are mentioned by 4.2% (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, A16).
22.214.171.124 Horse-based Tourism in Iceland
Due to environmental and breeding factors there are numerous horse breeds and riding styles varying in size, temperament and gaits, all over the world. Horse-based tourism destinations make use of this in order to distinguish other destinations (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537). Consequently, the quality of the horses is of major importance for implementing a sustainable business in horse-based tourism (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 106). Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir (2008: 106) state that there is an essential condition for the success and distinction of a horse-based tourism destination: The “[…] relationship of the breed, traditions of training and the place of origin […]” (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 106).
In case of Iceland there is such a relation between these characteristics. Iceland has a traditional and unique relationship between horsemanship, breed, equestrian arts and travel, which is especially essential for the rural tourism (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537). Horsemanship is defined a human-equine relation based on communication and trust (Helgadóttir, 2006: 540). However, the term horsemanship includes “[…] more than riding culture, breeding, training and caring for horses” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 540). It provides also an “artistic impression” and tour operators use this meaning for increasing the awareness of their customers, especially in promoting Iceland (Helgadóttir, 2006: 540).
Iceland is aware of its unique selling point and uses the characteristic of the horses’ history for promoting “[…] the image of Iceland as a destination” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537). Horsemanship is one of the major sports in Iceland and “[…] has been introduced to many countries [in order to] generate a thriving industry” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). Within the recreation industry of Iceland, horse-based tourism has an essential part and is “[…] a significant attraction of Iceland […]” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538).
Looking at this recreational industry in figures, the Icelandic Tourism Board has conducted a visitor survey in summer 2011. As the later conducted research is focused on the Icelandic Horse community of Germany, the following facts concern the German visitors. Indeed, 32.7% of 304 German respondents call on recreational activities during their visit, like horse riding, 1-2 times (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, B30). In addition, 7.3% of 300 respondents see horse riding as one of the three most memorable experiences during their stay in Iceland (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, C21). For comparison, just the natural landscape of Iceland has received a higher value among the respondents with 19.7% (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, C21). Furthermore, horse riding is on 4th place regarding the German willingness to spend money. 26.6% of 312 respondents invest their money in horse riding, behind whale watching with 38%, Museum exhibitions with 47.7% and geothermal pools with 76.6% (Icelandic Tourism Board 2012, B29).
Horse-based tourism in Iceland affects the traditional economic sectors. As horse-based tourism can be classified into ecotourism, it also involves the farms and “[…] is [an essential] part of the rural tourism sector in Iceland” (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 108). As tourism is growing, farmers see a chance in rural tourism, regarding the economic crisis and the following […] decline of traditional resource-based industries such as fishing and farming” (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 108). Consequently, horse-based tourism leads to a significant change in the country’s agriculture, as many originally mixed operation farms specialised into small tourism businesses regarding horse breeding, training, and tourist accommodation (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 108). As a result, today´s horse-based tourism in Iceland is a “lifestyle business”, as it has “[…] become an important part of [rural] livelihood […]” (Helgadóttir and Sigurdardottir, 2008: 108). There was a necessity to change the economic direction from the primary sector (agriculture) to the tertiary sector (services/tourism) in order to guarantee economic continuity and growth.
Another important aspect of the horse-based tourism in Iceland is the promoted “myth of Iceland”, due to Sate Regulations. The Icelandic Horse came from Norway to Iceland during the time of settlement in the 9th century (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). To protect the purity of the breed, no horses have been imported to Iceland for 1100 years (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). Exported horses are not allowed to return to the island. The purpose of these regulations are “[…] to protect the Icelandic horse from genetic mixing [due to the purity of breed] […]” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538), as well as “[…] a safeguard against communicable diseases in livestock”. To support the significance and purity, Iceland was declared as country of origin for the Icelandic Horse Breed in 2011 (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). Despite the main reason for this nomination “[…] to safeguard the health of the breed […]”, it also underlines the “[…] myth of Iceland as the original, true home of the Icelandic Horse” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). Consequently, this nomination may have an important influence on the Icelandic Horse Community travel motivation, as many people want to travel to the homeland of their horse; even if it has been bred in Germany or elsewhere.
Based on this, the Icelandic Horse is an essential part of Iceland’s marketing measures. It is “[…] one of the icons used in promotional imagery […]” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537) and due to the protected purity of the breed, part of the ‘purity’ key concept in Iceland’s marketing (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). Slogans like “Pure Iceland” or “Power and Purity” are related to the Icelandic Horse history (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537).
126.96.36.199 The Icelandic Horse
The Icelandic Horse is a small horse which weighs about 360-370 kg and has an average height of withers of 138 cm (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537). Traditional characteristics of the Icelandic Horse are to be changed. New breeding goals are, for example, long-legged horses in order to address other target groups (ipzv.de. 2012a). Nevertheless, the core characteristics of the Icelandic Horses, power and temperament, will remain the same (ipzv.de, 2012a).
The Icelandic Horse has 5 gaits (walk, trot, toelt, canter/gallop, and pace) and a wide variety of colours which distinguishes it from other horse breeds (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537). Within the riding community it is known for sport, family, dressage and gaits (Helgadóttir, 2006: 537).
The breeding differs from the most breeds that are used in industrialized societies (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). Most of the time the horses live in a herd in order to learn and respect the authority of the herd leader (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). At the age of four or five the Icelandic Horse starts its training (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). In contrast, many dressage breeds are already trained as a yearling. This special horsemanship in Iceland is seen as a tradition and origin for the special Icelandic Horse character and manifested in the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Association goals (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538): “To ensure that the Icelandic Horse is kept in conditions as close as possible to its habit”.
During the time of settlement in the 9th to the 20th century, the Icelandic horse “[…] was the most trusted servant in the farming society […]” (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). It was responsible for the transportation of goods and people, as well as for horsepower on the field (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). After the industrialization the meaning of the Icelandic Horse changed completely. Today it is essential for recreation and sport and more a ’companion’ rather than a ‘servant’ (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). However, the special meaning of trust is still the same and a crucial aspect (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538).
188.8.131.52 The Landsmót
The Landsmót is the greatest horse-based event in Iceland and exists for more than 60 years (Landsmót.is, 2012a). It is on every two years repeating tournament and breeding show based on cultural tradition (Helgadóttir, 2006: 538). The first time the Landsmót took place was in 1950 (Landsmót.is, 2012a). Today it is known as the most important tournament for the worldwide Icelandic Horse community. Consequently, the Landsmót attracts many people to visit Iceland, as there is no comparable event due to the regulations and intension discussed in section 184.108.40.206. Even the world championship, which is as well a major event for the Icelandic community, does not have this status. Every two years the World Championship takes place in another country alternatively to Landsmót. Logically Iceland is not a host country and Iceland’s very best horses are not allowed to leave the island for participation in this tournament. As a result, the very best horses can only be seen in Iceland at the Landsmót, which means travelling.
The Landsmót in 2010 could not take place due to a communicable horse disease (Landsmót.is, 2012b). Despite that no horses are imported into the country; germs can be carried through tourists. Due to the actual safeguard measures against diseases and genetic mixing, the immunization of horses is not common. The Icelanders are also afraid of deadened germs in medication. The disaster spread out to almost every horse of the island and the tournament could not take place (Landsmót.is, 2012b). As a response, the Landsmót was extraordinarily moved to 2011, despite the fact that this was a year of World Championship year. The next regular tournament will take place in 2012 in order to return to the two-year-rhythm (Landsmót.is, 2012b).
2.3 Tourist behaviour
Tourist behaviour matters to tourists, as well as “[…] to people who are making decisions about tourists”, e.g. tour operators or tourism boards (Pearce, 2005: 6). It is connected to marketing activities and supports the growth and existence of many small businesses (Pearce, 2005: 8). Moreover, tourism behaviour has “socio-cultural”, as well as “environmental impacts” (Pearce, 2005: 8). As stated above, especially small businesses in Iceland, like farms, depend on tourism after the crisis. Additionally, as tourism behaviour relates to tourism issues like ‘globalization’ or ‘localization’, it mainly influences “[…] financial decisions on infrastructure investment […]” (Pearce, 2005: 8) of the destination, but receives “[…] little attention in governmental policies” (Pearce, 2005: 8). In the case of Iceland it followed this non-governmental interest until the crisis shocked its economy. Therefore, tourist behaviour is essential for analysing tourism motivation and consequently an important part of this study.
2.3.1 Differentiation between consumer and tourist behaviour
The research field of consumer behaviour mainly focuses on product choice and product stratification, while tourist behaviour is defined by Pearce (2005: 11) as an “[…] people-to-people-business [concerning] both its consumption and its production”. Additionally, Pearce states, that the major difference between consumer and tourist behaviour lies in the “[…] extended phases […] surround[ing] tourist activities” (2005: 9). The pre-purchase issues, purchase issues and post-purchase issues described by Solomon et al (2010: 7) are more extensive in tourism issues (Pearce, 2005: 9). Nevertheless, tourists are consumers due to the fact that they consume a tourist product or service, models of consumer behaviour can be adopted. However, the differences between consumer and tourist behaviour need to be considered. “The concept map for understanding tourist behaviour” by Pearce (2005:17) illustrates the complexity of factors influencing tourist behaviour. It shows the relation between tourist attitude, motivation, and choice (framed in red), which is focused on this particular research.
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Figure 2.3.1: The concept map for understanding tourist behaviour by Pearce (2005:17)
2.3.2 Tourist decision-making process
An applicable model of consumer behavior is the model of “stages in consumer decision-making” described by Solomon et al. (2010: 314). Mathieson and Wall, as cited by Ivanovic (2008: 275) developed the “tourist decision making process”, which consists of five main phases within the decision-making process: (1) felt need or travel desire; (2) information collection and evaluation; (3) travel decision; (4) travel preparation and experience; (5) travel stratification evaluation.
The state of felt need evaluates reasons for and against travel and can be seen as problem recognition in comparison to the model of decision-making by Solomon et al.´s (2005: 314). Within the stage of information collection, formal and informal sources are conducted and evaluated (Ivanovic, 2008: 275). The travel decision includes further aspects like the destination itself, accommodation, activities, transport and so on (Ivanovic, 2008: 275). Travel preparation and experience concerns booking and the organising process of the journey (Ivanovic, 2008: 275). The last stage of travel satisfaction is essential for further travel decisions and evaluates the actual experience (Ivanovic, 2008: 275).
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- Horse-based Tourism; Icelandic Horses; Iceland; Landsmót; equestrian tourists; motivation; horse-based event; Islandpferde; Reittourismus; Island; Pferdeveranstaltungen; Reittourist;