Albaha region of Saudi Arabia has been known as a tourist attraction site where people go for pleasure of seeing things, and stay in hotels (Wilkerson, 2003). Many tourists have been known to incline to a particular site depending on the services they get there. Most commonly, accommodation has played an integral role in attracting tourists in an area. The success of tourism in an area is determined by accommodation. Development of accommodation has been seen fundamental for any tourism to succeed. Tourism sectors have planned and developed the accommodation sector to achieve success in the industry (Beaver, 2002).
Through improved accommodation sector, the tourism area transform into mass markets and a destination of several tourists. In tourism planning, accommodation development has been integrated in other policies. Tourism has been known to bring about development in transport, communication and infrastructure. Through tourism, many international bodies have evolved. It has also brought technology. Tourists deserve to be accorded the best services ever for them to enjoy their stay. Accommodation sector provides tourists with services they like and wish for comfort and convenience.
Tourism is an economic resource to a country, and improves people’s social lives. Economically, people’s lives have changed, and there is a lot of leisure time for the people. Tourism industry in Saudi Arabia has seen people focus on developing recreation areas for tourists using their income. For tourists to like some tourism regions there must be presence of very nice services in restaurants and accommodation among other area such as the parks, recreational centres, and other basic services. Other than differences in costs and quality of the facilities, housing is another problem, which is even aggravated by high cost and provision of substandard services. It is therefore important to determine the accommodation in Albaha to know their types, location, quality and cost. This is important in determining the views of tourists as to whether they are influenced by the accommodation characteristics.
Justification of the study
Tourists vary in their interest to a tourism facility. The variation some times depends on the accommodation presented by the facility. Some people may not feel comfortable towards certain accommodation from their past experiences. Others may get negative comment about a particular accommodation from friends or other relatives who might have gone to the facility.
Albaha region in Saudi Arabia is very beautiful with tourism resources that if well tapped would bring a lot of benefit. Majority of Australian citizens go to other countries as tourists, and end up using a lot of money. There has never been great focus on Australian tourism sector. The supreme commission for tourism in its role to develop the tourism in the area would want to determine different areas they need to put focus on for them to achieve their goals. With enough information on the preferences of tourists to the facilities, quality facilities can be facilitated. It is important to note the different reasons why the people in Australia do not prefer their own facilities. It is important to research on the accommodation of the tourists since accommodation sector impacts attraction of tourists greatly. The area has not been having adequate accommodation facilities for its tourists despite their high prices. This has impacted the trend of tourists to the accommodation sector. It is therefore very important to determine the factors that cause the trends towards tourism accommodation sector to come up with recommendations that will be useful in improving the facilities.
Many times, people travel during their leisure time to recreational facilities and other leisure opportunities (William, 2008). During this travel, people go to different places, and stay outside their usual homes or even countries. Among the leisure activities, tourism has gained popularity. Tourism is of economical importance to many countries because it brings income from the goods and services offered (Lennon & Foley, 2000). Tourism also creates employment for the unemployed who offer their services in this industry. Some of the services offered in tourism include transportation, hospitality and entertainment. In transportation, taxicabs may be offered while in accommodations, the tourists are offered with hotels and resorts. Music, casinos, theatre and shopping malls are provided in tourism for entertainment. In tourism, visitors who could be foreigners enter, stay or move in and out of a country, city or an area. The stay the tourists make is never permanent, and they are never meant to earn from any activity during their stay (Al-Mayman, Basmah Al-Baha, Saudi Arabia, 2011).
Albaha is a province in Saudi Arabia, which is known for its beauty, and is located in the kingdom’s southwestern part. It links both Holy Makkah and Asir. Baha city is the centre of the province, which include towns such as Almekhwah, Balijurashy and Almandaq. The province has grown greatly in agriculture, and has a high population. Other than agricultural production of dates, vegetables and fruits, the province is also known as a hone producer. The area is surrounded by unique hills and mountains, which have well scattered green fields with different plant species (Fenn, 1989).
The province is a major tourism attraction in Saudi Arabia. The transport infrastructure is well developed with excellent highways and a modern airport. It constitutes breathtaking scenery for its tourists, and the climate throughout the year is wholesome. The temperatures in the area range between 12 and 23 degrees Celsius. During summers, the climate is moderate but cold in winters. This thus means that visitors who seek for moderate climate visit the area in summers as they also enjoy the beautiful sceneries. Zee Ain is a marble village in the province, which serves as a major tourism attraction, and is mostly considered one of the region’s markers. Additionally, there are other attractions in the area such as waterfalls, forests of all kinds, natural animals and water snow. From Albaha to Knofoda beach red sea is only one-hour drive.
There are all kinds of facilities in Albaha province that provide joy and comfort to the tourists in their holidays. There are service providers, and organized human resources to make sure each of the visitors is taken care of. There are several hotels and motels for the visitors. Additionally the area provides theme parks and fortresses that give the history of Albaha. The committee for the promotion of tourism in Saudi Arabia has implemented tourism schemes such as social, religious and cultural schemes to enjoy their stay in the city (Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, 2011). The citizens of Saudi holiday in summer in Albaha instead of travelling abroad for the same. Many of the visitors call Albaha the pearl of resort because it fascinates them greatly. There are health, educational and tourists’ institutions in the city. The attractiveness of the area attracts visitors from all parts of the area and outside (Alnokhba, 2003).
Accommodation in tourism is an important factor that can influence the trends of tourisms in a facility. This means that most of all, the tourism sector needs to make sure that the accommodation is well placed with beautiful and comfortable characteristics for the visitors. The rent costs should also be realistic and affordable (Hunter & Erin, 2008). The accommodation should suit both the old and the young. Services providers in this sector should make sure that the customers get positive experience for them it paints it positively even to the outside people. This way, the general facility will acquire the preference of majority visitors thereby making them increase the income (Cooper etal, 2008).
Aims and objectives
The study seeks to:
- identify the types of accommodation in Albaha region in Saudi Arabia
- identify the characteristics of construction, services and spatial patterns
- analyse tourists trends towards the types of tourist accommodation in the area
- identify the factors that influence the trends
- come up with recommendations and suggestions that will be useful for those responsible in the sector.
The research will be testing the following hypothesis;
- There is no statistical relationship between the characteristics of tourists (nationality, age, economic, social, educational, and spatial) and their attitudes towards tourist accommodation in the area of the courtyard.
- There is no statistical relationship between the characteristics of tourist accommodation (architectural, service, and spatial) and tourist trends towards tourist accommodation in Albaha region.
- There is no statistical relationship between the rents of tourist accommodation area of the yard and tourist trends towards her.
- There is no statistical relationship between previous experience of tourists in the area of the yard and their attitudes towards the tourist accommodation area of the courtyard.
- There is no statistical relationship between the extent of difficulties faced by tourists in search of tourist accommodation area of the yard and tourist trends towards this accommodation.
Both qualitative and quantitative study designs will be used to achieve the objectives of the research. Quantitative methods will be employed to find the relationship between each of the factors that influence the trends of tourists towards accommodation sector in Albaha region of Saudi Arabia. This will be done through descriptive research design where association between the variables will be determined. A sample size of 100 participants will be used to avoid bias.
The study will seek to know if the characteristics of people in terms of age, sex, social or economic backgrounds influence their attitude towards tourism accommodation sector in Albaha region of Saudi Arabia. Residents of all ages will be chosen randomly to participate in the study where interviews will be conducted on the same. The selection of the research sample will include moving around all the towns of Albaha, and choosing households randomly where both the young and the old will be interviewed on the preferences of tourism accommodation and how they feel about it. The data will be recorded on a scale of highly preferred=5, preferred=4, neutral=3, least preferred=2 and not preferred=1 for further quantitative analysis.
The influence of the characteristic of accommodation in terms of architecture, service and spatial on the tourist trends to tourism accommodation sector and spatial dimension will be tested through interviews conducted on the residents of the province where the respondents will be randomly selected from the six towns of the province. Each will be asked questions in relation to the characteristics of the accommodation given in the region and results will be recorded for further quantitative analysis. In each of the characteristic questioned about, the results will be recorded on the scale of highly preferred=5, preferred=4, neutral=3, least preferred=2 and not preferred=1.
The effect of rent costs of tourist accommodation on the trends of tourists on the accommodation will be tested through interviews conducted on a randomly chosen subject from all the region’s town and results recorded. Each of the participants will be asked questions on how the rent s affected their trend to the accommodation sector in the region.
The way previous experiences of tourists in the area affected their attitudes towards the tourist accommodations sector in Albaha will be tested through interviews where participants will be chosen on the basis that they either have been there for the holidays or they have heard the experiences from their friends or relatives. Interviews will be conducted on the randomly chosen participants and the results recorded for further analysis on a scale of highly preferred=5, preferred=4, neutral=3, least preferred=2 and not preferred=1.
Determination of how difficulties in search of tourism accommodation in the area influenced the trends of tourists in accommodation sector, interviews will also be conducted on randomly chosen participants and results recorded for quantitative analysis on a scale of highly preferred=5, preferred=4, neutral=3, least preferred=2 and not preferred=1.
The data collected will be analysed statistically to determine the statistical relationship between the variables through correlation. This way it will be easy to tell for sure the main factors that influence the trends of tourists towards accommodation sector in Albaha of Saudi Arabia region.
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