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The research will be divided into five chapters. The first chapter will provide general information the case study, what question it rises, and how it is delimited in time and space. The second chapter will include the discussion of the literature review discussing the relevant themes, typologies, and theory relating to the research question. Followed by the methodology chapter, which will explain the study methods the researcher has used. The findings of both interviews and questionnaires will be presented in chapter four alongside the discussion of the results. Finally, chapter five will be the concluding chapter giving recommendations to both academics and the Vietnamese tourism industry.
The key theoretical concepts will be used in this research are cultural tourism, cultural motivator, and cultural tourist typologies. Firstly, cultural tourism is a key concept of the research to distinguish cultural tourists with other types of tourists. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) defines cultural tourism as “movements of persons essentially for cultural motivations such as study tours, performing arts and cultural tours, travel to festivals, and other events, visit to sites and monuments, travel to study nature, folklore or art, and pilgrimages” (WTO 1985: 6).
Secondly, the understanding of the cultural motivator concept allows the researcher effectively conduct relevant the questionnaires, analyze and compare the results of what the motivations of European cultural tourists traveling to Vietnam are, and what motivations can be added to the existing concept. According to Ivanovic (2008) the main motivation behind cultural tourism is the need to escape from typical routine with something that is unique and unusual from everyday life. Sidonia and Cristina, (2013) suggested that decisions to travel for culture can also be affected by family, however, motivations such as desire to improve their own knowledge or to discover and immerse themselves into different cultures also holds an important role to cultural tourists.
The third important concept will be used to conduct the research is cultural tourist typologies. Determining different types of cultural tourists will aid the researcher in finding specific motivations of European cultural tourists to travel to Vietnam. Mckercher and du Cros (2003) defined five types of cultural tourists ranging from purposeful cultural tourist to incidental tourist (See figure). Definitions of these types of tourists are needed to examine the researcher’s respondents. The figure is based on deep or shallow experience and low to high in motivation to visit a cultural tourist attraction. Mckercher and du Cros (2003: 46) also mentioned that cultural tourism is not defined by one motive, “different people will engage with cultural tourism at different levels, depending on level of knowledge, number and type of travel partners, own interests, etc.”
Despite challenges posed in these theories, typologies are important in first finding what type of European cultural travelers will be. These tourist typologies can also give an insight into what motivates European tourists to travel to unfamiliar country like Vietnam.
To answer to the research question, I will analyze the official materials and data from the various kinds of source, conduct questionnaires and interviews to European cultural tourists at cultural heritage sites in Vietnam, focusing on popular sites such as Hue Complex of Monuments, Hoi An Ancient Town, and Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Primary research and secondary research will be used. Primary research involves data that is collected first hand and therefore is the collection of original data. In secondary research, however, there is no new data but draws on data obtained from other existing sources (Naoum, 2013; Clark et al., 1998). The researcher uses both primary research and secondary research because primary research is easy to obtain by the researcher due to personal contacts and the researcher has full control over the questions asked to participants, making it much more specific and in-depth than secondary data (Hox and Boeije, 2005). In case of answering the questions related to the motivations, experiences, expectations and recommendations like in this research, the primary research method even plays a more important role.
While the implementation of questionnaire method belongs to quantitative research, the interview method belongs to qualitative research. Firstly, quantitative research is described as a means for testing objective theories by examining the relationship among variables. This method is mainly used to investigate a large number of people and gain statistical data with descriptive results (Labaree, 2009; Muijs, 2011). Therefore, quantitative methods will be used and analyzed in this study to provide a better understanding of a larger group of participants with mutual experiences or motivations to then formulate the methods for qualitative methods. Questionnaires will be chosen as a primary research method to provide a simple basis of statistical analysis on motivations of European tourists travel to Vietnam for culture. Secondly, the qualitative method will be used. From these questionnaires, the qualitative research will be prepared in the form of in depth semi-structured interviews. Qualitative research is a valuable method in understanding what people think, believe and understand about a certain subject and enables the researcher to probe on certain questions to consider why, not just what (Mark, 1996). The best option for the researcher is to use semi-structured interviews since they are classified as specified questions that will allow more probing to seek clarification, elaboration, provide more latitude than structured interview and combine the flexibility of an unstructured interview but can relate to key concepts (Finn, Elliott-White, and Walton, 2000).
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