A leisure involvement model for the study of historic site -based participation

Aurkene Alzua-Sorzabal, Purdue University


The growing interest of international travelers in experiencing historic and cultural resources of the world is well documented. The National Park Service reported over 81.5 million recreational visits to any type of cultural resource under their domain (Statistical Abstract, 1997). Historic sites provide the resources for both culture and heritage based tourism and for a wide range of leisure activities and experiences. The nature of heritage and its relationship with the leisure and tourism industry are, as yet, unresolved matters. ^ Historic site based participation information is very limited. In addition, in spite of the interest in and relevance of historic site leisure behavior, the leisure realm has yet to incorporate historic site based participation as an important area of investigation. ^ Given the lack of research examining historic site-based participation involvement, there were two main goals that this research addressed. First, the study provided an improved understanding of the nature of historic site participation and, secondly, it developed a model of involvement that focuses on defining patterns of historic site participation. The theoretical framework included three constructs of involvement: level of use, life stage, and socio-economic construct. ^ Results supported two fundamental propositions of the study. Historic site-based participants (HSP), visitors or tourists, were found to be quite heterogeneous. By using demographic and behavioral variables, cluster analysis, the empirical model designed to test this proposition, identified seven distinct groups of HSP. A GLM General Factorial model and OLS were used to test the second set of theoretical propositions. Overall, these empirical models found statistical evidence to support the three involvement constructs. ^ Contributions for a better understanding of historic site-based participation involvement are addressed in the final chapter. Implications for future research and enhancement of programming and management of both natural resources and heritage tourism sites are explained. ^




Major Professor: Joseph T. O'Leary, Purdue University.

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