Exploring the phenomenon of Chinese babymoon tourism
The purpose of this study is to investigate the phenomenon of Chinese babymoon tourism. This phenomenon is gaining popularity in China but has not received due attention in academic research and from the tourism industry. The study aims to identify the backgrounds of young Chinese couples who participate in babymoon tourism, uncover the factors that motivate them to do so, and examine their travel behaviors that take place during such trips. The study adopts a qualitative approach due to the emerging nature of the phenomenon. In-depth interviews consisting of both demographic and open-ended questions were conducted in China with 31 qualifying participants who are defined as in the state of preparing for pregnancy and in the process of planning for babymoons. The data was collected and analyzed based on classic grounded theory. The results provide a basic profile of the participants including their gender, age, education level, annual household income, occupation, religious belief, city of residence, whether they and their spouses were the only child in the family, whether they were preparing for their first baby, their travel interests and experiences, and evaluation of their subjective well-being. Chinese babymoon tourists or babymooners are well-educated and well-to-do urban elites in the post-1980s generation. They are experienced travel enthusiasts who hold a negative evaluation of their subjective well-being. The results also provide evidence for nine propositions pertaining to the profile, travel motivations, and travel behaviors of Chinese babymooners. An empirical behavioral model of Chinese babymoon tourism was proposed as a result. Pull and push factors work together to motivate young Chinese couples to take a babymoon. For the push factors, they travel to relax and to escape and disconnect from daily routines. They also travel to improve the relationship with their spouse and to seek wellness and fertility benefits. For the pull factors, they travel for enjoyment, freedom, excitement, and to learn and discover new things. These motivations for taking babymoons are subject to constraints. They include time, travel cost, and travel safety. Chinese babymooners mainly prefer nature-based and culture-based destinations. They also prefer to participate in recreation-oriented, romance-oriented, wellness-oriented, and food-oriented activities on babymoons. Their choices are correlated with their travel motivations. Furthermore, they prefer customized all-inclusive travel packages with high quality accommodation, beneficial programs for wellness and fertility, romantic arrangements, customer-oriented service, and healthy and delicious food. Family, friends, and acquaintances, online travel sources, and travel agencies are the major sources of information for Chinese babymooners. The findings from the study, therefore, contribute to the knowledge of tourist typology. The study makes a practical contribution as well. The demand for babymoon tourism exists in China, yet the potential of it is being neglected. The findings from this study show that no satisfactory travel products and packages are available in the market that can meet the needs of Chinese babymooners. Through the understanding of the backgrounds, travel motivations, and travel behaviors of Chinese babymooners, the industry practitioners can be better informed so that they can design their offerings to satisfy their needs and requirements. This study is also informative for various levels of the Chinese government to recognize the significance of this unique tourism typology and to develop appropriate policies to facilitate its development.
Cai, Purdue University.
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