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Segmenting European Tourists by Nationality: An Investigation of Visitors to Attractions on the Danish Island of Funen

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Market segmentation has long been recognized as an important issue for the travel and tourism industry. Several approaches to defining market segments have been suggested, including nationality as one of the most controversial segmentation variables. It has been debated whether or not the formation of the European Union has caused a trend towards homogenization of cultures in the European countries, thereby making nationality a less useful segmentation construct. The purpose of this article is to discuss and empirically illustrate the value of a nationality‐based segmentation strategy for tourist marketers. To fulfil this purpose the article first discusses the rationale for tourist marketers to apply a nationality‐based segmentation strategy. Next, for further empirical investigation a framework is suggested highlighting relevant aspects associated with tourists' visits to attractions. The usefulness of nationality‐based segmentation is exemplified from a substantial dataset based on tourists visiting one out of six selected attractions situated on the Danish island of Funen. The study identifies five nationalities from which the attraction visitors can be segmented and targeted with different promotional programmes. These five segments constitute 95% of the total sample of tourists, making nationality‐based targeting obviously attractive. The results reveal significant differences between nationalities and provide guidelines for the allocation of promotional resources and development of marketing strategies for each segment.

Keywords: Segmentation strategy; nationality; survey; tourist behaviour

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Marketing & Management, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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