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Development of a Visitor Satisfaction Survey as a Strategic Tool for Aboriginal Tourism Operators

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The goal of this study was to generate an optimal survey instrument for I’Hos Cultural Tours (ICT), a small scale guided marine tourism company operating out of Tla’amin Nation (formerly Sliammon First Nation). The five most commonly used visitor satisfaction models were delineated through an extensive literature review. The suitability of each model was then evaluated using an assessment framework with criteria drawn from a review of Tla’amin tourism planning documents. It was determined that a modified Importance-Performance Analysis was the most appropriate model for ICT’s visitor satisfaction survey. As a result of the research, an online survey was developed and pilot tested which confirmed content validity and internal reliability. The resulting custom-made survey instrument can be administered via ICT’s social media or email. It was designed to be user friendly, adaptable and time conscious. It facilitates data collection on visitor demographics for possible future market segmentation and performance benchmarking applications, and on levels of visitor satisfaction related to specific facets of the tourism operation. With this data ICT’s management will be able to direct attention and resources as needed.This resulting survey will be of immediate benefit to ICT and Tla’amin Nation, while the design methodology has broader implications for tourism operators seeking to develop surveys rooted in community or institutional values. Study limitations related to qualitative research, survey design, and online distribution are discussed and recommendations for future research applications are presented in conclusion.
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