The Motivations of International Coach Tourists to Visit the Shannon Region (Ireland)
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Coach tourism is a huge part of the Irish tourism industry. Coach tourism in the Shannon region (Counties Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary, North Kerry and South Offaly) appears to be a lucrative sector. However, the reality is that the industry has witnessed a rapid decline in visitor numbers since the industry high in 2006. It was clear something needed to be done to understand coach tourists and the reasons for the decline in the sector. The aim of this research was to uncover the motivations of international coach tourists to visit the Shannon region, the Shannon region takes in the counties of Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary and Offaly. Perhaps by understanding what motivates coach tourists to visit the region may help ensure future sustainability to the Shannon region. The research was carried out through a mixed methodology approach, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Initially, secondary research was conducted in the form of a literature review. It involved carrying out a detailed review of all documents such as journals, Fáilte Ireland reports, newspaper articles and books. It examined coach tourism, characteristics of a coach tourist, the key international coach tourist markets, and motivations of tourists to travel, coach tourism in the Shannon region and reasons for the decline in the sector. Findings where then taken from the literature review and examined further, through primary research. Two interviews were conducted with coach tour operators and one hundred surveys were completed by coach tourists to the Shannon region. This research also looks at reasons for the decline in the sector and ways to make it a sustainable industry in the Shannon region. Each objective set out was answered and it is now clear coach tourists visit the Shannon region for a holiday and to visit places of cultural and historical importance. The underlying motivation for their trip is to relax and seek new experiences.
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