Indian international students as quasi-domestic travellers in Canada: exploring travel motivations and behaviours

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Dey, Diotima
As the domestic tourism industry is one of the most important economic contributors in Canada’s economy, this exploratory quantitative study focused on the travel motivations and behaviours of Indian international students as quasi-domestic tourists in Canada. As of 2018, 28% of international students in Canada were from India (CBIE, 2019). These international Indian (IIS) students represent a large and potentially lucrative market for various sectors of tourism industry in Canada. Although previous researchers have examined this topic as a homogeneous market, the niche market of IIS have not been studied separately. In order to achieve the research goal, this study employed the REP scales to understand the underlying travel motivations of Indian students in Canada and also explored various travel behaviour aspects of the Indian students. A total of 116 completed questionnaire were collected from Indian students currently enrolled in various academic programs at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The method employed to collect data was an online questionnaire. The data were analyzed through SPSS, a social sciences analytical software. The findings suggested that learning and being close to nature were the main travel motivations for Indian international students. Contrary to the common belief that students seek adventure while travelling, risk-taking and achievement were not found to be travel motivators for IIS. The travel behaviour analysis revealed that the participants travelled for an average of three days, stayed at hotel/motels rather than hostels or a campground, used cars for travelling, and favoured restaurants/bars over other food and beverage options. In general, the findings contrasted many of the general perceptions of student travel but had more similarities to Canadian domestic tourists. The findings were also more similar to motivations and behaviours of Chinese international students than their western counterparts.
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