Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Xinran Y. Lehto

Committee Chair

Xinran Y. Lehto

Committee Member 1

Jonathon Day

Committee Member 2

Liping A. Cai


The research is concerned with understanding the relationships among heritage motivation, travel experience, and overall satisfaction. It attempts to uncover how tourist motivation, destination attribute performance, and tourist emotional involvement interact and, at the same time, contribute toward a satisfying heritage tourism experience. The empirical research was conducted at the city of Nanjing, China, as a case of a heritage destination. People who were visiting Nanjing were randomly and voluntarily selected to participate in the self-administrated survey. A total of 282 valid questionnaires were collected with a response rate of about 55%. Factor analysis and mediation analysis were conducted by using Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) 20.0. The results uncovered three dimensions of heritage attributes--namely, heritage product representativeness, heritage product attractiveness, and facilities and service. All three dimensions of attributes were found to contribute significantly to tourist experience satisfaction, with heritage product attractiveness contributing the most. The research further noted that the degree to which tourists were emotionally involved with a heritage destination could also affect their experience satisfaction. Additionally, the study indicated that heritage motivation appeared to have no direct effect on determining tourist satisfaction; rather, with the mediating effect of destination attribute assessment and tourist emotional involvement with the destination, the contribution of heritage motivation toward satisfaction became significant. In other words, motivation can positively influence heritage destination satisfaction only when tourist expectations of a heritage experience were met and tourists were actually involved in tourism activities. The findings of this research contribute both conceptually and practically to heritage tourism destination planning and management to create a satisfying heritage experience.