Tourists travelling on low –cost airlines (LLCs) in Europe have increased sharply, in contrast to the stagnation of traditional companies. Local governments and tourists destinations supporting what it is known as LLCs are nowadays really interested in knowing what type of tourists those companies are attracting and so on which kind ofbehavior they have. From those things which want to be known, one aspects that is receiving attention by policy makers involves the determinants of tourist’s length of stay at the chosen destination.
Economic analysis of tourism demand is usually grounded in neoclassical theories involving consumers choice with demand measured as a quantitative variable. Due to the characteristics of the duration choice used in this model, a time restriction is also included. The way tourism demand it’s calculated here does not differ in it’s specification from the demand for other goods and services. But, when using a more stylized formulation of this model, tourists demand is the result of a standard maximization process by the tourist/consumer, of a utility function, the arguments for which are the consumption of tourism and other goods, using a budgetary and time restriction. The data used in this study have been obtained from traffic passengers traffic at Girona-Costa Brava airport. The information for our duration model are taken from a survey conducted during spring and summer of 2005. This survey was given to tourists who stayed in Catalonia and who used low-cost airlines to travel. The dependent variable, number of days stayed is considered to be continuous and takes values from 1 to 31 days. The explanatory variables are sociodemographic characteristics of the tourist, the type of accommodation chosen, the main reason for travel, whether or not the trip was done during summer destination and whether or not it was and organized trip. One of the categories for each variable acts as a reference category. The results of the model estimations will show the effect of each category of the explanatory variable on the likelihood of length of stay with regard to the reference category.
The expected results from the estimation of the empirical model show values according to what could be expected from the theoretical model used: heterogeneity in preferences among LLC users is observed, and so time and income constraints are relevant for duration, and finally the effects of each explanatory variable can differ among tourists according to their country of origin. The conclusions of this study show that, in general, time and income restrictions are relevant factors and the authors found that there was individual heterogeneity. The model also shows that the tourist group with a longer trip duration are non-senior, married, British tourist who travel in summer to a coastal destinations and stay in campsites. The French travel to sun and sand locations in the summer and stay at campsites. German tourist, as well as, also travel to sun and sand locations in summer time, they are senior, and choose to stay at campsite as well. To end, regarding to Italian tourist, longer stays are positively and significantly associated to not being employed, travelling in summer to a sun and sand locations and staying at campsite.