This study examines key socio-cultural factors that influence Saudi tourists’ decisions to travel abroad. The paper utilises qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews with males and females, whose views remain under-researched. It explores how Saudi Arabia's deeply embedded religious and tribal value systems and structures shape tourists’ destination choices and travel behaviours. The findings show that social norms and cultures of surveillance, alongside social obligations, act as push factors, decreasing the appeal of domestic tourism. Moreover, data suggest that seeking personal space and freedom, and the ability to engage in norm-breaking practices, are pull factors that make international destinations, especially those with fewer co-nationals, appealing. Practically, the study helps to identify marketing strategies that domestic and international destinations can adopt to target and accommodate Saudi tourists more effectively. Theoretically, the findings help to conceptualise a middle ground between what we call ‘extensionist’ and ‘rejectionist’ views of cultural influence and to appreciate the cumulative, intersecting impacts of socio-cultural imperatives.
Madkhali, HuthayfahLugosi, Peter
Oxford Brookes Business School
Year of publication: 2023Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-01-27