Analysing rural tourism motivation factors and ICT adoption with specific reference to Malealea Lodge in Lesotho
Tsephe, Neo Puleng
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Tourism can be classified either as urban tourism or as rural tourism, and it is one of the fastest growing industries globally. Rural tourism is usually associated with rural development because it has strong linkages to rural resources; but it remains underdeveloped compared to urban tourism. This underdevelopment of rural tourism serves as a motivation for this study whose aim is to examine the factors affecting the perceived satisfaction of rural tourists especially in this digital world where Information Communication and Technology (ICTs) is pervasive. In fact, ICT has transformed the travel industry in a remarkable way. The objectives of this study were: I) to select suitable theories that can explain the perceived satisfaction of rural tourists; ii) to design a conceptual model of the factors affecting the perceived satisfaction of rural tourists; iii) to empirically test the planned conceptual model of the perceived satisfaction of rural tourists, and, iv) to recommend measures to be taken for the improvement of the satisfaction levels of rural tourists to the point where they can significantly contribute to the full development of rural tourism. These objectives were achieved using content analysis of existing literature on rural tourism satisfaction and through a survey of tourists from the Malealea Lodge which is located in the Mafeteng District, in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. The results of this study are the following: I) the push and pull motivation theory was selected to explain the perceived satisfaction of rural tourists; ii) rural tourism demographics, their push and pull motivation, and their level of ICT adoption were hypothesized as the factors that affect tourists satisfaction with their rural tourism experiences; iii) the satisfaction of rural tourists with their rural tourism experience is affected by their occupations (demographic factor), by their level of ICT adoption, and by their pull motivation; and this satisfaction is not affected by other demographic attributes nor by the push motivation of rural tourists; iv) it is recommended that rural tourism marketing be increased in order to attract clients from other regions besides Africa and Europe and other age groups apart from young Africans which were found by xiii this study to be the biggest rural tourism clientele group, and that peace and security be maintained in rural tourism destinations as these two attributes were found to have an effect on the perceived satisfaction of rural tourism. Finally, more research should be conducted on the effect of ICT adoption on rural tourism satisfaction.