The article “Length of stay for low-cost tourism” aims to analyze, using an appropriate econometric study, the time spent at the destination among tourists who fly mostly with “low cost” companies. Through this analysis, it may be possible to obtain new data and information that could be used in tourist destination areas and which will help to clarify which sociodemographic aspects influence this process. Note that Spain is one of three countries in the world that attracts larger volume of tourists, highlighting the community of Catalonia as the region of Spain that attracts larger number of people visiting it, mostly from other European countries.
The literature on this topic is relatively limited. Previous studies were conducted by Alegre and Pou (2007), Gokovali, Bahar and Kozak (2007) and Fleischer and Pizam (2002). They all find interesting results which will be latter completed with the study performed in this article by Martinez-Garcia and Ray.
The model used is mainly based on the economic theory about demand functions based on consumer utility as well as their budget and temporary restrictions. The dependent variable of this model is the time spent at the place of destination by the people visiting it. The authors finally choose to use duration model, also known as survival or hazard models. This model allows obtaining estimations when the duration is correlated with the explanatory variables of the model. Within all duration models which the econometric science provides, the authors use a log-logistic scheme, as this model is the one showing the highest value for the log-likelihood function and a lower value in the AIC criterion.
The database used for this study was drawn from a survey that was given to tourists flying to the Girona-Costa Brava’s Airport during the spring and summer of 2005, being only asked European tourists. The dependent variable, as discussed above, is continuous and takes values from 1 to 31. The explanatory variables are varied and were chosen according to the economic model used. They are classified into: socio-demographic variables (age, sex, education level, occupation level), nationality, place of destination (Girona, Barcelona or seaside locations), the main reason for travelling, type of accommodation closed, whether the trip was organized or not, and also asking if they were travelling during high season and finally whether it was a family trip, or not.
The results were clear. The following variables have a positive effect: Irish, Dutch or Belgian, and to a lesser extent French nationalities, to be over 50 and having only primary education, travelling during summer time to coastal towns, as well as sojourn in a camping site and rented properties. By contrast, certain values show a negative effect on the dependent variable, such as: to be autonomous or a worker of a low middle class. The remaining variables seem to have no clear effect in the regression.