FACTORS AFFECTING CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION DECISION-MAKING
Keywords:conference participation, decision-making, academic conference, meeting industry, business travel and tourism
Business travel, as the sector with the fastest growth in the tourism industry globally, has received increased attention from both countries and cities, particularly from emerging destinations. In developing economies, business travel, including attending meetings, conferences, incentives and other business events, often plays a leading role in the growth of the wider travel and tourism sector. Therefore, tourism authorities and convention bureaus at the national and city levels have been struggling to attract international conferences and a larger number of participants to conferences. Understanding factors, which appear to be important in the conference participation decision-making process, can help conference organizers and destinations to attract more participants and thus gain more benefit from this growing sector of the tourism industry. Therefore, this study aims to examine factors affecting the conference participation decision-making from the academics' perspective. Furthermore, it investigates how different socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents influence the extracted factors of the conference participation decision-making process. The data was collected from the academics employed at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia. The findings reveal six dimensions of conference participation decision-making: destination stimuli, costs and destination accessibility, educational and professional opportunities, intervening opportunities, location factors, and conference factors. The results also show that there are statistically significant differences in some extracted factors between respondents of different gender, age, education level, and academic position, while the frequency of participation in international conferences does not influence the factors. The results could be of interest to all stakeholders in the business travel and tourism industry.
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