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Air passengers' shopping behaviour and regional development

Almeida, António
Machado, Luiz
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
55th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "World Renaissance: Changing roles for people and places", 25-28 August 2015, Lisbon, Portugal
Introduction/objectives: This study analysis the behaviour of shoppers at Madeira?s International Airport by taking into consideration a wide range of travel and socio-demographic related variables as well as the moderating effects of time pressure and overall spending while on holiday. Shopping at the airport, remains one of the most important tourist activity, and its contribution to the local economy is highly significant, as many passengers cannot admit to end the journey without liking around the shops or buying something. In fact, understanding domestic and international visitors shopping preferences and delivering high service quality that meets or exceeds expectations provides valuable showcase to sell iconic local products. Quite surprisingly, there is a dearth of research on the subject on peripheral airports, which is at odds with the key importance of such infrastructures at the regional level. Methods: Based on a sample of over 1000 passengers, we investigate which factors contribute decisively to higher levels of shopping and spending. Twenty different variables were checked to analyse the factors that condition passenger decisions to make either purchase in one of the airport stores or consume food/ beverage in a catering establishment. A bivariate probit model were applied because it is well suited to answer two questions (dependent variable) with closely linked answers by being influenced by the same factors. In order to check whether national and international visitors differed in their shopping preferences multivariate statistics and parametric and non-parametric tests where applied to identify significant differences between visitors?. Results/conclusions: Contrary to what was anticipated, socio-economic status only impacts marginally the level of spending, while travelling for business/vfr reasons results in passengers spending more. The bivariate model leads to the conclusion that travel motivations are a predominant impacting upon spending. It is also observed that low-cost airlines passengers spend less than those opting for traditional airlines, while high levels of satisfaction with the current holiday lead to higher levels of spending. The results also reveal that visitor?s motivations have positive impacts on commercial activities at the airport. And the results also shown that domestic visitors share more negative views in their service evaluations than their international counterparts. Moreover, the results provide strong support for the propositions of the study that domestic and international visitors differed in their evaluation of services and shopping item preferences. The results are of relevance to airport managers and local tourism policy managers, because it identifies which passengers are more interested in shopping. Although the airport managers cannot alter the essential characteristics of the respondents, a wide range of initiatives can be implemented in order to increase the respondents´ average expenditure levels by promoting regional products.
Regional development
Shopping preferences
Low cost carriers
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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