Research Questions / Hypothesis
This scholarly article (Shonk & Chelladurai, 2008) is based on the assumption that the differentiating factor, which is considered as the competitive advantage, between and among sporting events is the level of service quality that marks the overall experience of the sport tourist (p.588). The authors also carried the hypothesis that Sport Tourism Quality impacts tourist satisfaction, which consequently positively affects the tourist’s intention to return to the place of the sport event or to the event itself. Thus, there is a direct correlation between service quality and intention to return, which in turn, lifts the entire tourism industry.
Background Literature to Support Research
The article is well-supported by literature in two counts. First – though it shall be discussed in detail in the next section – the chosen research methodology requires an extensive literature review. Second, the purpose for delving into this specific study is justified by the authors’ literature search and review of studies.
Reports have shown that the number of people in the United States who travel to attend annual sporting events is significant and host cities of different sporting events use the occasion to turn their cities into attractive tourist spots (Shonk & Chelladurai, 2008, p.588). The authors also gathered the conclusion of other scholars that sport tourism had become a good economic opportunity which outweighs the apparent financial burden that transformation of cities into attractive destinations required.
The need to conduct this study was further supported by previous studies which proved that the growth of sport tourism has influenced the increase of the overall economic activities. Due to the influx of sport visitors, there came a greater demand to build hotels, resorts, luxurious clubs that contribute to the tourists’ satisfaction of needs and pleasure. Naturally this chain of economic activities and opportunities has attracted many states and governments to host sporting events.
The methodology used by the authors was qualitative meta-analysis. This research method involves reviewing several literature and studies on specific areas, categorizing them according to themes, analysing the different authors’ claims and conclusions, and finally synthesizing all these information into another form. In this case, Shonk & Chelladurai have synthesized their meta-analysis of 84 references into one proposed model of Sport Tourism Quality.
Results / Discussion
Based on the meta-analysis done, the authors have come up with seven propositions that serve as the explanatory framework of their Sport Tourism Quality model. The propositions are summarized in the following statements:
Proposition 1: Tourists consider sport tourism to be of quality in terms of accessibility to the destination, the sport venue and the accommodations available for them.
Proposition 2: Tourists consider sport tourism to be of quality in terms of interpersonal interactions, environment, and value associated with the place of accommodation.
Proposition 3: Tourists consider sport tourism to be of quality in terms of interpersonal interactions, environment, and value associated with the sport venue.
Proposition 4: Tourists consider sport tourism to be of quality in terms of the process for organizing the contest and the sporting product.
Proposition 5: Tourists’ perception of sport tourism quality directly contributes to their overall satisfaction of experience.
Proposition 6: Tourists’ overall satisfaction directly influences their intent to return to the destination, the place of the sporting event.
Proposition 7: Tourists’ overall satisfaction directly influences their intent to return to the sporting event itself.
Significance of the Study / Future Areas of Study
The authors have stated very clearly several areas for future studies in the field of sport tourism quality. One of which is the possibility of challenging the relationship between sport tourism quality and the intention to return. Another area for study is an empirical testing of the proposed model of Sport Tourism Quality for it would help in forming a theory that would either confirm or negate the propositions held by the model. Future studies that involve empirical work that accounts for other variables such as climate and weather conditions, cultural considerations, security, seasonality, crowding, or risk aversion of travellers, would also be of great contribution to better understanding of the dynamism of the sport tourism phenomenon.
Validation of the proposed model through future researches could have significant implications to the practice of sport tourism, especially with regard to formulating tourism packages. Thus, the significant use of the proposed model still highly depends on future qualitative and quantitative researches that could support the validity and reliability of the model.
The conceptual model for Sport Tourism Quality proposed by the authors has a significant contribution to the knowledge and practice of a sport management professional. The model, though the authors humbly subject it to further scientific critique, serves as a guide for a practitioner in the field of sport management.
One concrete contribution to knowledge is the fact that hosting a sport event is not to be considered an isolated activity. The model is an eye opener for event managers and organizers to see the place of their event in the bigger picture of the tourism industry and economic opportunity. This knowledge has a valuable implication to practice, which is greater motivation and drive to attain and sustain professionalism in organizing that would necessarily lead to service quality.
I believe that the proposed Service Tourism Quality model must be widely used across the sports industry because it can serve as a constant reminder that even the apparently littlest things and the most tedious tasks in hosting sporting events actually do matter greatly.