Identifying rural tourism markets: A practical tool

Liping A. Cai, Jingrong Jack Liu, Zhuowei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Product attributes of rural tourism are inherently green, and have the potential to appeal to the increasingly overstretched consumers who are in search for a personalized response to their need for physical, emotional, and social appreciation in a simpler environment. The same consumers also become more independent, involved, and discriminatory in the destination selection process. Despite their rich green assets, rural communities face marketing challenges in both financial and human resource terms in the highly competitive tourism marketplace. This study introduces a five-step practical tool that rural destinations can affordably use to engage in a critical marketing task of identifying viable segments of driving market. The tool was developed by applying the geographic concepts of distance decay and clock directions to examine the tourists’ movement from their generating places to a rural destination. The tool’s validity was statistically tested in exponential, logarithm, inverse, and cubic regressions. The study addressed a practical need for rural communities to gain a greater benefit from consumer demands for green products and services, and illustrates the importance of understanding the tourists’ movement patterns in developing effective marketing programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-434
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Leisure Marketing
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 16 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Destination marketing
  • Green assets
  • Rural tourism
  • Spatial analysis
  • Tourist movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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