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Contaduría y administración

versión impresa ISSN 0186-1042

Contad. Adm vol.64 no.3 Ciudad de México jul./sep. 2019  Epub 20-Ago-2020 

Segmentation of tourists in the heritage site of Cuenca, Ecuador

Segmentación del turista de sitio de herencia en Cuenca, Ecuador

Tomás López-Guzmán1  * 

José Prada-Trigo2 

Jesús Claudio Pérez-Gálvez1 

Sandra Pesántez Loyola3 

1Universidad de Córdoba, España

2Universidad de Concepción, Chile

3Instituto Tecnológico Superior Luis Rogerio González, Ecuador


This paper contributes to presenting the relationship that exists in a certain tourism destination between the World Heritage Site (WHS) and the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), showing a segmentation of the tourists in Cuenca, Ecuador. The methodology used in this research has been the application of a multivariate technique of grouping items and the realisation of a post-hoc single-variate ANOVA analysis. The results show the existence of three motivational dimensions for visiting the city, two of a cultural nature and the third being hedonic. Depending on the motivation, four types of tourists are identified: the hedonic ICH-WHS tourist, the hedonic WHS tourist, the hedonic tourist and the ICH-WHS tourist. This research reinforces this theme, in a geographic area, Latin America, characterised by a recognised WHS but still little studied in the scientific literature.

JEL code: D11; L83; R58

Keywords: Ecuador; ICH; Motivation; Segmentation; Satisfaction


Este artículo presenta la relación que existe entre determinados destinos turísticos en áreas inscritas como Patrimonio de la Humanidad (WHS) y Patrimonio Inmaterial de la Humanidad (ICH), mostrando la segmentación de los turistas en la ciudad de Cuenca, Ecuador. La metodología utilizada en esta investigación ha sido la aplicación de una técnica multivariante de agrupación de variables y la realización de un análisis ANOVA univariante post-hoc. Los resultados muestran la existencia de tres dimensiones motivaciones para visitar la ciudad, dos relacionadas con la naturaleza cultura y una tercera con una característica hedónica. Dependiendo de las motivaciones, cuatro tipologías de turistas han sido identificados: turista hedónico ICH-WHS, turista hedónico WHS, turista exclusivamente hedónico y turista ICH-WHS. Esta investigación refuerza este campo, en un área geográfica, América Latina, caracterizada por su reconocido WHS y aún poco estudiado por la literatura científica.

Código JEL: D11; L83; R58

Palabras clave: Ecuador; Patrimonio inmaterial de la humanidad; Motivación; Segmentación; Satisfacción


The toquilla straw hat, known worldwide as the Panama Hat, is made with braided sheets coming from the carludovica palmata. And, despite the fact that its name may lead to error regarding the country where it is produced, they are originally from and fabricated in Ecuador, basically in the geographic areas of the provinces of Azuay and Manabí. Their more popular name comes from the use by the workers contracted for the construction of the Panama Canal with the aim of being protected from the sun. In 2012, UNESCO registered the weaving of the toquilla straw hat as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. According to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) 2003, an ICH to be safeguarded under this Convention is defined as the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage (UNESCO, 2003). The city of Cuenca, capital of the province of Azuay, was registered as a World Heritage Site (WHS) in 1999.

The relationship that exists between tourism and the WHS is very close and widely studied by the scientific literature; the cultural and heritage tourism is a segment increasingly studied. In fact, some authors indicate the existence of a label (Marcotte & Bourdeau, 2012) or of a brand (Hassan & Rahman, 2015) for this type of tourist destinations related to UNESCO inscriptions. On the other hand, the World Tourism Organization -WTO- (WTO, 2012) points out that it is necessary to carry out academic studies that analyse the effects of tourism related to the intangible heritage as a tourist product as well as analyse the data obtained through the different tourist products associated with the ICH. WTO (2012) indicates that the principal risks of the ICH in Developed Countries would be the issues related to the authenticity and the commercial exploitation of the heritage, while in the Developing Countries they would be the economic fairness and sustainability. Moreover, it is important to establish a relation between the tourist and the local community (Su, Bramwell & Whalley, 2018).

The fundamental objective of this paper is to present the results of a study that encompasses the segmentation of the tourists according to the motivations for visiting the city of Cuenca, by showing the relationship between the WHS and the ICH and, in this way, touristic products can be created for each group of travellers because the inscription of a site as WHS increases the demand of tourists. The paper is structured, after this introduction, in a second section where the review is carried out of the literature in the field of the relationship between tourism, WHS and ICH; a third section that describes the city of Cuenca; a fourth section where the methodology of the research is presented; and a fifth that includes the results of this research. The paper ends with the conclusions and the references used.

Submitted papers are expected to be original contributions and should not be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. They should clearly describe the background of the subject, the author’s work, including the methods used, results and concluding discussion on the importance of the paper.

Theoretical background

Tourism and Heritage

In recent years, the concept of culture and heritage has evolved through two different paths in relation to their inscription by UNESCO (Del Barrio, Devesa & Herrero, 2012): first, the list of heritage sites has been increased from initially being restricted to monuments, historic buildings or archaeological sites to including other cultural perspectives such as gardens, landscape, forms of production or rural heritage; second, another range of elements have been incorporated that intend to recognise the collective identity such as customs, folklore, oral and performing traditions, and which form part of the cultural heritage. Inscription by UNESCO as Heritage, in any of the modalities -WHS or ICH- that exist, means, in the majority of the cases, a significant increase in the number of visitors to these geographic areas and, therefore, an increase in the economic income derived from tourism (Nguyen & Cheung, 2014). In fact, although the destinations where tangible elements exist continue being the most visited by the tourists, in recent years the visits to the places where an ICH can be found are also being bolstered. For this reason, and due to the importance of this type of tourism, the concept of World Heritage tourist (Adie & Hall, 2017) has been coined and the relationship between tourism and culture (Croes & Semrad, 2015).

The analysis of the relationship between tourism, WHS and ICH is conducted in those places that, due to their peculiarities, it is possible to analyse them. In this regard, we would have the example, according to Bille (2012) of the cultural space of the Bedu of Petra and Wadi Rum (declared ICH by the UNESCO in 2008) along with the WHS which is Petra (1985) and the Protected Area of the Wadi Rum (2011) in Petra. In this sense, the research that is undertaken in this paper is linked in this line due to the fact that the weaving of the toquilla straw hat, declared an ICH, is carried out in a geographic area that, to a great extent, is declared a WHS, the city of Cuenca, and, therefore, the visitors that learn and admire the making of this type of hat at the same time can enjoy an extraordinary tangible heritage. Together with that, in the heritage tourism it is important to consider transversal aspects of the travellers, especially in those cities, as it happens in Cuenca, that receive a very large quantity of foreign tourists. All this to make tourists with a different cultural background understand the cultural wealth of the city (Jung, Lee, Chung & Dieck, 2018).

ICH, WHS, and Tourism

Cultural and heritage tourism (Alonso, Sakellarios & Pritchard 2015; Bright & Carter, 2016) is an immersion that the visitor makes in the natural history, in the culture heritage, in the arts, in the philosophy, or in the institutions of other regions or countries (Nguyen & Cheung, 2014) and, therefore, it is necessary to conduct research that allows us to define different types of cultural tourists. The relationship between the ICH and tourism was recently analysed, among others, by three books. Stefano, David and Corsane (2012) approach the conceptual aspect of this term and present different cases of studies in different territories of the world. Dorfman (2012) presents the study of the ICH from a triple viewpoint: the philosophic and conceptual discussion of this term, the analysis of the relations between the intangible natural heritage and the territory, and the presentation of different case studies. The third book is presented by Du Cros and McKercher (2014) where, among other ideas, it reinforces the need for conducting studies on the intangible heritage as a tourism product.

Focussing on the ICH, there are five different strategies, based on the assets coming from the ICH, to convert them in cultural products (WTO, 2012): first, the creation of primary attractions or the construction of facilities specifically dedicated to the exhibit of the ICH; second, the combination of different attractions to generate greater interest for the tourists in relation to the ICH; third, the creation of cultural spaces, especially for those manifestations related to entertainment; fourth, the use of tourist itineraries that already exist, or if they do not exist, the creation of new itineraries; and fifth, the strengthening of festivals and events related to the ICH. On the other hand, four large theme categories are established to define and explain cultural and heritage tourism (McKercher & du Cros, 2002; WTO, 2012): first, the nature and meaning of the experience that a cultural tourist obtains; second, the scope of the corresponding tourist activity; third, the perspective of the tourist activity in general; and fourth, the analysis of the cultural tourism demand and the research on the motivation of the tourists to travel.

However, and in relation with ICH, not many academic studies are conducted due in part to the fact that most studies in the field of heritage tourism are related to places (Vidal González, 2008) which makes difficult the realisation of studies related to the ICH. Nonetheless, we can highlight the research conducted by Gómez Schettini, Almirón and González Bracco (2011) who analysed the tango as a tourist resource in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bille (2012) analysed the Bedouin of Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan as an ICH and its relationship with the strengthening of tourism as well as its synergy with the declaration of the city of Petra as WHS. López-Guzmán and González Santa-Cruz (2017) analysed the relationship between tourism and ICH in the Festival of the Patios in Córdoba, Spain. Schmitt (2008), in turn, analysed the Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech, Morocco. Furthermore, Aoyama (2009) studied the relationship between tourism and flamenco as ICH in the region of Andalusia, Spain. This implies that in recent years, the efforts to popularise the ICH for tourism are evident (Hassan & Rahman, 2015).

As for the empirical studies focussed on the relationship between heritage and tourism, scientific literature was basically focussed on the tangible capital heritage and on the WHS. In fact, the concept of WHS by the UNESCO was a success in branding a culturally imperative heritage site (Hassan & Rahman 2015). Thus, for example, and in relation with the WHS, we find studies in Israel (Poria, Butler & Airey 2003), Macau (Vong & Ung 2012), Portugal (Correia, Kozak & Ferradeira 2013) or Vietnam (Nguyen & Cheung 2014).

Motivations for the visit

One of the objectives in this research is to analise the motivations of the tourists that visita n ICH. The reasons for which a subject chooses Cuenca to travel to may be extremely diverse. If we go deep in the available literature about motivations for which a person will demand a particular product or service, we observe that the motivation is a dynamic process due to the consumer being different depending on the experience, its age or its state (Pearce, 1982).

Tourists dicide to travel because they have different kinds of motivations and the culture is one of the main ones for the journey (Correia et al., 2013). According to Abuamoud, Libbin, Green and Alrousan (2014) the demand of cultural destinations is influenced by the services given by public workers and private corporations, also with the relevance of the local community in the promotion of tourism in said areas. Nguyen and Cheung (2015) make a difference between tourist motivation and heritage motivation. Between the firsts we find a leisure, personal belonging or knowledge search component. Among the second ones we find personal enrichment knowledge, learning about the city and knowing more about the place. Romao, Neuts, Nijkamp and Van Leeuwen (2015) group the motivations in three big dimensions: culture, business and leisure. Almeida-Santana and Moreno-Gil (2018) group the different motivation in the following: to rest and relax, knowledge and culture, prestige and social attraction, sports, leisure and meeting new people.

In line with the literature review, the hypothesis to examine would be the following:

H1: The visitors in certain destinations have, besides a cultural motivation, other types of motivation of a social or psychological nature that impact their tourist behaviour.

Segmentation of heritage tourists

Following Nguyen and Cheung (2014), one of the issues most debated in heritage tourism is determining who is a heritage tourist. This implies the delimitation of whether all the visitors of a WHS or of an ICH are heritage tourists, or only some of them. In this regard, the academic literature has shown different classification of the tourist categories. Among other classifications, we can highlight those of Silberberg (1995), taking into account the level of interest of visiting cultural heritage sites, classifying them as accidental cultural tourist, adjunct cultural tourist, in part motivated cultural tourist and the greatly motivated cultural tourist. On the other hand, Poria et al. (2003) based on their personal perception of heritage sites classifies them in four categories: tourists who are not aware of the heritage attributes, tourists that do not consider the heritage site as part of their personal perception, tourists that consider the heritage site as part of their personal perception and tourists that consider the heritage site as part of their personal perception although they are not aware of it.

McKercher and du Cros (2003) propose a model that divides the cultural tourists into five different types: purposeful cultural tourists, sightseeing cultural tourists, causal cultural tourists, incidental cultural tourists and serendipitous cultural tourists. This same model is followed by Nguyen and Cheung (2014). On the other hand, Morita and Johnston (2018) go deep in this model dividing serendipitous cultural tourists in to different groups: serendipitous and ancillary.

Contrarily, regarding the ICH, there does not yet exist in the academic literature any type of classification in relation to the type of tourists.

According to the revision of literature the hypotheses is as follows:

H2: Depending on the different motivations to visit a certain destination, there are different types of tourists.

H3: Despite having the cultural motivation as a common link, the ICH and WHS of the same tourism destination are differentiated and are complementary pull factors.

Satisfaction with the visit

The relationship between motivation and satisfaction is very important in the tourism (Albayrak & Caber, 2018) and it has three different approaches: first, motivation as the only overall satisfaction; second, motivation and others variables as the overall satisfaction; and third, the election of the same items to the motivation and to the satisfaction (Albayrak & Caber, 2018).

The full level of satisfaction of tourists is an essential condition to prevail in their thoughts. The tourist destinations must adopt, among others, a systematic control of the satisfaction levels and use them as part of an evaluating criteria and the loyalty. The satisfaction of the tourist is important for different reasons. One of them is that it identifies how much are the components and attributes perceived and explores the character that it´s transmitted by the image of the destination with the end of favouring the maintenance of the attributes and components discussed. Another relevant reason is the fact that it is an indicator of loyalty or future behaviours of the visitor (Yoon & Uysal, 2005; Chi & Qu, 2008; Yuksel, Yuksel & Bilim, 2009). Likewise it is necessary to establish a relation between the motivation of the tourist and the satisfaction with the destination itself (Antón, Camarero & Laguna-García, 2017)

In line with the literature review, the hypothesis to examine would be the following:

H4: Motivation affects the satisfaction of the tourism experience, with the level of satisfaction being higher among the tourists with greater cultural motivation.

H5: The complementarity of the ICH and WHS in a tourism destination results in higher levels of satisfaction of the tourism experience.

Description of the geographic area

Ecuador is becoming an important tourism destination in Latin America due to its heritage richness (with two cities recognised as WHS -Quito and Cuenca-), its varied gastronomy, its natural parks and important cities in the business world (such as the case of Guayaquil). In the year 2015, Ecuador received 1,543,091 foreign tourists (Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador 2016). This implies that the tourist activity is one of the large economic engines of the country with a contribution to the economy of 1,557.4 million dollars in 2015, signifying approximately 1.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador, 2016). The economic importance of tourism and its development has been reflected in the realisation of academic research, among which we can highlight that conducted by Erskine and Meyer (2012), Everingham (2015), Gascón (2016) and Croes and Rivera (2017).

The toquilla straw hat is woven with the fibres of a particular palm tree that grows on the coasts of Ecuador. The weavers are mostly peasant families and the weaving techniques are transmitted to the children in the home, through observation and imitation, from an early age. The techniques and the knowledge encompass a complex social and dynamic fabric that includes, among other elements, the traditional techniques of cultivation and production, the different forms of social organisation, and the use of the hat as part of the daily and festive attire. The fabrication of this hat is done, as indicated earlier, in two geographic areas of Ecuador, the provinces of Azuay and of Manabí.

This research is focussed on the city of Cuenca, the capital of the province of Azuay. In 1999, the historic centre of the city of Cuenca was declared WHS in recognition of the following characteristics: the perfect implementation of the principles of urban planning of the Rebirth in America, the fusion reached by different societies and cultures of Latin America, and for being an exceptional example of a colonial Spanish city, planned and positioned in the interior of the continent.

Tourism in Cuenca, and in general in the province of Azuay, is of vital importance for its economy. In the year 2013, 253,051 travellers arrived at its airport (Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador 2016). The tourism sector occupies in the province of Azuay 4,358 workers, of which 1,412 work in the hotel sector and 2,363 in the restaurant sector (Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador, 2016). The importance of the economic development of the tourism sector in the city of Cuenca has also involved the conducting of research, highlighting the research carried out in this area by Xu, Martinez, Van Hoof, Tews, Torres and Farfan (2015).


Data collection

The data used in the paper were obtained through a survey conducted on a representative sample of persons who visited the city of Cuenca, including the places where the process of the fabrication of the toquilla straw hat is explained. From the initial survey, and by means of successive filters, which included a pre-test of 15 surveys given to an initial sample of tourists with characteristics similar to the final sample, the definitive format was reached. The final version of the survey sought the maximum clarity in the questions, the best adjustment of the responses to achieve the objectives marked in the research, and the maximum possible specification in order to keep the interview of the surveyed visitors from being too long. The surveys were conducted in various points of the city, with the premise that the surveyed tourist had already spent a certain time in the destination and, therefore, could give an opinion based on the ICH and the WHS (Correia et al. 2013; Remoaldo, Barreiro, Ribeiro & Santos 2014).

The surveys were conducted by a team of surveyors linked to the Faculty of Hospitality Science of the University of Cuenca, coordinated and directed by the authors of this research. A total of 978 surveys were conducted, of which 858 were valid, during the months of October and November 2015. The surveys were carried out in different survey points selected according to the premises indicated above, on different days and at different times, trying to collect in this way the widest possible range of persons and situations. A non-probabilistic sampling technique was used, which is commonly utilised in this type of research where the sample is available to be surveyed in a determined space and time (Finn, Elliott-White & Walton 2000). It was not stratified by sex, age, training, nationality or any other variable as no previous studies were available that could back this stratification. The rate of rejections to the survey was low and insignificant in accordance with any variable. In no case did the duration of filling out the survey take more than 10 minutes.

Survey design

The survey used in this research is based on different previous works (Poria et al. 2003; Lee, Lee & Wicks 2004; Yuan & Jang 2008; Devesa, Laguna & Palacios 2010; Correia et al. 2013; Remoaldo et al. 2014). The survey was distributed in two languages (Spanish and English). As for its structure, it is divided in three large blocks: the first includes the questions related to the characteristics of the trip, the duration of the stay, the type of establishment that is used for staying overnight and the means by which they had knowledge of the city. The second block of questions focussed on the analysis of the motivations for visiting the city and to learn about the fabrication of the toquilla straw hat, and the level of satisfaction reached according to the experience. The third block includes different sociodemographic characteristics of the visitors such as the age, sex, economic or educational level, among others.

Sampling and sampling error

The specific framework of the research is the tourist who visits the city of Cuenca, including the places where the elaboration of the toquilla straw hat is explained, regardless of whether or not he spends the night in the city or if he visits other places in the province of Azuay. As for the number of tourists that visit the city, there are no reliable data due to the scarcity of official statistics on the tourism activity and on hotel occupancy in Cuenca. The only information available is that provided by the local Municipal Tourism Foundation for Cuenca (FMTC). According to it, the number of tourists that have visited the province of Azuay in recent years is approximately 800,000 persons annually. Of this number, the FMTC estimates that, on average, around 200,000 visitors annually arrived in the city of Cuenca. Therefore, to start from that amount of visitors, with guiding intentions, in the case of being a random sampling, the sample error for a trust level of 95% would be of ± 3.4%.

Data analysis

The data, results and conclusions that are presented in this paper are listed with the segmentation of the tourists that visit the city of Cuenca according to the motivation and with the degree of satisfaction regarding the experience of the visit. The tabulation and statistical analysis of the data was done using the SPSS v. 22 computer program. In the research, different statistical techniques were used. In this regard, statistics were used to assess the reliability and validity of the responses to the survey (Cronbach’s alpha). The exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was applied as a data reduction technique for the purpose of finding homogeneous groups from the point of view of the motivation for travelling to the tourism destination. There are different methods to extract the factors - main components, non ponderated squared minimums, general squared minimums and maximum authenticity-. The different methods differ so much in the calculus algorithm as in the matrix of the analysed object. In our case the extraction of factors has been done applying the method of main components, being the factors the autovectors of the reescalated correlations matrix that takes equal or superior values to the unit (Morrison 2004).

Taking the motivational dimensions extracted from the factorial analysis as reference, the multi-variate technique of grouping cases (K-means clustering) was used with the aim of analysing the similarity existing among the surveyed persons. From the groups or segments of the K-means analysis, association statistics and measurements were applied that provide information necessary for studying the possible patterns of association existing among variables starting with a table of two-dimensional contingencies. Statistical procedures were also applied to test hypotheses on means from the variance analysis (post-hoc single variate ANOVA), verifying which specific mean differs and controlling the rate of error.

Results of the research and discussion

Motivations of the visit

In the survey on which this research was based, a question was included with different items that tried to include the most frequent and relevant motivations for the trip analysed in previous research (Lee et al. 2004; Yuan & Jang 2008; Devesa et al. 2010), adapting them and taking into account the specific characteristics of the tourism destination and of the visitors. After conducting a pre-test, nine items were selected, measured on a Likert 5-point scale (with 1 being not important; and 5 being very important) in order to determine the relative importance of a series of factors in the decision to travel and visit the tourism destination. Internal and external factors were included, such as establishing the Crompton theory (1979) between push and pull motives. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of the final scale reached a value of 0.621, which indicates a commendable internal consistency between the elements of the scale. The critical level (p) associated with the F-statistic (349.261) of the variance analysis, which was used to test the null hypothesis that all the elements of the scale have the same mean (ANOVA), is less than 0.001, with it not being, therefore, possible to maintain the hypothesis that the means of the elements are equal. An item-item correlation analysis allowed identifying two of them that, in general, presented low correlations. These items were omitted from the analysis which is included below, with this implying a significant increase in the level of consistency of the motivational variables (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.718; F = 233.375 < 0.001).

From the motivational variables that are considered in table 1, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted that allowed extracting three motivational dimensions for visiting the city of Cuenca. To the object of EFA two items were excluded - “business” and “visit friends and family” - after showing in the results an irrelevant impact in the motivational scale of the tourist. The analysis provides an indirect indicator of the importance that the travellers gave to the destination’s different attributes. Although the interest resides in the factorial scores which are derived from the components as tool for establishing the strength of the motivations of each visitor, it is useful to characterise each of the extracted factors.

Table 1 Factorial grid of rotated components - Motives for visit to Cuenca 

Motivation variables Components Motivational Dimensions
1 2 3
Learn process for making toquilla straw hats 0.930 Cultural-Intangible
Visit workshops that make toquilla straw hats 0.926
Try the gastronomy 0.775 Cultural-Tangible
Get to know the tangible heritage wealth 0.770
Spend the day out 0.879 Hedonic
Relaxation 0.697
Entertainment 0.619
Eigenvalues 1.832 1.729 1.668
% explained variance 26.175 24.695 23.821
% accumulated variance 26.175 50.870 74.691
KMO (Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin) 0.684
Bartlett sphericity test Chi-square = 1,730.147 sig < 0.001

Extraction method: Analysis of principal components. Rotation method: Varimax with Kaiser

Source: Own elaboration

The first of the factors obtained explains somewhat more than 26% of the total variance of the motivation grid, with important weight in cultural motives related to knowing and learning about the fabrication of the toquilla straw hat. This dimension was catalogued with the concept of Cultural-Intangible. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (0.889) of the two items that make up the dimension reveal the reliability of the subscale. The second factor extracted groups cultural motives related to the important historic and/or artistic heritage and its gastronomy. Taking into account that Cuenca is also a WHS, this motivational dimension has been classified as Cultural-Tangible. This component explains nearly 25% of the total variance of the motivation grid, constituting a reliable subscale, with Cronbach’s alpha (0.616). The third factor groups hedonic interests and corresponds to visitors that look for space and time to enjoy themselves far from the daily tensions. This component explains nearly 24% of the total variance of the motivation grid, also constituting a reliable subscale, with Cronbach’s alpha (0.695). In line with the core of Crompton’s motivational theory (1979) and other later research (Hassan & Rahman, 2015), the obtained results test one of the posed research hypotheses: the visitors in certain destinations have, besides a cultural motivation, other types of motivation of a social or psychological nature that impact their tourist behaviour (H1).

Segmentation of the tourists

The study of the motivations provides the basis for establishing a segmentation of the tourists that arrive in Cuenca. Thus, a non-hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted with the factorial scores of the three extracted dimensions, under the criterion of maximising the variance between types and minimising the variance within each of them. The best solution that meets the criteria is that which establishes four clusters for segmenting the tourists that visit the city of Cuenca. Table 2 shows the characterisation of the clusters from the means of the motivation variables. The ANOVA F-statistic tests that the compared means are not equal, but it does not allow specifying where the detected differences are found. In order to know which mean differs, a particular type of test called post hoc multiple comparisons or a posteriori comparisons was applied. In carrying out the comparisons, it cannot be assumed that the population variances are equal, the critical level associated to Levene’s test statistic is less than 0.05 for all cases and, therefore, the equality of variances is rejected. The ANOVA F-statistic is based on the fulfilment of two suppositions (normality and homoscedasticity), and given that it is not possible to assume that the population variances are equal, Welch’s test statistic is used as an alternative to the ANOVA F-statistic (table 3). The critical level associated with this statistic is less than 0.05 and, therefore, the hypothesis of equality of means can be rejected and it can be concluded that the averages of the motivational variables of the four compared clusters are not equal.

Table 2 Characterisation clusters from motivational variable 

Motivation variables Cluster ANOVA
1 2 3 4
Mean S.D Mean S.D Mean S.D Mean S.D F Sig.
Learn process for making toquilla straw hats 3.71(*) 0.892 1.64(*) 0.741 1.42(*) 0.704 3.13(*) 1.172 339.062 < 0.001
Visit workshops that make toquilla straw hats 3.66(*) 0.862 1.71(*) 0.792 1.31(*) 0.555 3.15(*) 1.233 345.483 < 0.001
Try the gastronomy 4.18(*) 0.909 4.37(*) 0.799 2.56(*) 1.032 3.80(*) 0.994 153.538 < 0.001
Get to know the tangible heritage wealth 3.87(*) 1.009 4.19(*) 0.831 2.36(*) 1.049 3.70 1.047 133.96 < 0.001
Spend the day out 4.45(*) 0.728 3.66(*) 1.384 3.76(*) 1.413 1.94(*) 1.041 134.221 < 0.001
Relaxation 4.28(*) 0.937 4.50(*) 0.843 3.50(*) 1.334 2.76(*) 1.239 91.578 < 0.001
Entertainment 3.93(*) 1.096 4.31(*) 0.893 3.04(* 1.314 2.71(* 1.253 78.435 < 0.001
Business 2.70(*) 1.688 2.32(*) 1.668 2.53(*) 1.732 2.11(*) 1.488 9.614 < 0.001
Visit friends and family 1.85(*) 1.360 1.33(*) 0.844 1.89(*) 1.531 1.99(*) 1.527 4.186 < 0.006

(*) The values in bold type present significant differences in three of the means of the four clusters in the post-hoc ANOVA. In order to be able to test for the significant differences between the different means the Games-Howell test was applied.

Source: Own elaboration

Table 3 Robust homogeneity tests of variances and equality of means 

Motivation variables Homogeneity Variances (Levene) Equality of means (Welch)
Learn process for making toquilla straw hats 16.66 < 0.001 365.114 < 0.001
Visit workshops that make toquilla straw hats 33.93 < 0.001 428.713 < 0.001
Try the gastronomy 6.10 < 0.001 139.967 < 0.001
Get to know the tangible heritage wealth 7.26 < 0.001 130.405 < 0.001
Spend the day out 38.81 < 0.001 209.007 < 0.001
Relaxation 26.12 < 0.001 85.937 < 0.001
Entertainment 10.57 < 0.001 80.339 < 0.001
Business 8.24 < 0.001 14.529 < 0.001
Visit friends and family 41.98 < 0.001 4.526 < 0.004

Sorce: Own elaboration

The first of the clusters is integrated by 29.6% of the surveyed tourists, with the segment that shows high scores in the items related to the Cultural-Intangible dimension. Furthermore, the high scores in the items related to the other two obtained dimensions is another important datum of this cluster. It deals, therefore, with a visitor who, besides increasing his cultural level in relation to the tangible and intangible heritage, also seeks to break with his daily routine and relax. This segment has been called the hedonic ICH-WHS tourist. The second cluster, which includes 27.6% of the sample is characterised by noting the highest scores in the items related to the second and third dimension, and significantly low scores in the first. This is a visitor who poses the trip as a tool for breaking with his routine, to enjoy the Ecuadorian cuisine and to admire only the tangible heritage. This segment is identified as a hedonic WHS tourist. The third cluster is characterised by noting only high significant scores in the items related to the hedonic dimension and showing the lowest significant scores in the items related to the cultural dimensions. In conclusion, it deals with a visitor in whom the emotional factors are a priority compared to the attributes of the tourism destination, and for this reason we identify him as a hedonic tourist. This segment represents 24.8% of those surveyed.

The last of the obtained clusters is the group that noted the lowest registers in the items related to the hedonic dimension, clearly being related to the other two extracted areas. This segment is identified as the ICH-WHS tourist by approaching the visit to enjoy the tangible and intangible attributes of the city of Cuenca, as the cultural destination that it is. It is the most reduced group since it represents 18.0% of the sample size. This percentage is in relation to that posed by McKercher and Ho (2006) in the sense that around 11% of the tourists in heritage sites are tourists that seek the acquisition of knowledge in their visit. On the other hand, and in line with other research (Alonso et al., 2015; Nyaupane & Andereck, 2014), the results test the following research hypothesis: depending on the motivations there are different types of tourists (H2). Likewise, the identification of segments 1 and 4 tests that the ICH and WHS are differentiated and are complementary pull factors (H3).

Segmentation of tourists and satisfaction with the visit

The satisfaction declared by the visitors after their tourist experience in Cuenca is high. It was measured on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being strongly disagree; and 5, strongly agree from the two items related with their experience (table 5). The results show that 87.1% of the tourists were quite satisfied, with scores equal to or over 4 in both items, and 49.6% declared having fully enjoyed it. From the basis that the visitors were contented with their experience, it went into depth in this important aspect analysing what relationship there could be with the motivations of the visit as it is essential for good tourism management and planning.

The results show that the three extracted dimensions discriminate significantly in the degree of perceived satisfaction (table 4). The correlation indices, despite not being very high, reveal that the greater the presence of reasons related to the Cultural-Intangible dimension, the higher the level of perceived satisfaction, with the hedonic dimension being the one that seems to have less impact. From the segmentation made, it is necessary to analyse the relationships that the identified groups or clusters could have with the perceived satisfaction.

Table 4 Differences between level of general satisfaction and motivational dimensions 

Motivational Dimensions ANOVA Homogeneity Variances Equality of Means Pearson´s Correlation
F Sig. Levene Sig. Welch Sig.
Cultural- Intangible 6.642 < 0.001 3.463 < 0.001 7.090 < 0.001 0.24(**)
Cultural- Tangible 6.094 < 0.001 2.986 < 0.001 7.803 < 0.001 0.16(**)
Hedonic 1.873 < 0.020 0.842 < 0.631 ----- ----- 0.11(**)
(**) The correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (bilateral)

Source: Own elaboration

The results reveal a positive assessment of the experience by the four identified tourist clusters (table 5). The robustness tests on the means of the variable satisfaction show that the averages among the four compared clusters are not equal (table 6). Thus, the assessment is higher in the first cluster, which corroborates the greater relevance of the cultural dimensions, the satisfaction with the trip seems to increase as the desire to know both the tangible and the intangible heritage prevails over the rest of the motives for visiting the city. The third cluster shows that those tourists with a higher hedonic motivation assess to a lesser degree their tourist experience. The level of satisfaction of the fourth group also shows evidence of a greater joint effect of the cultural dimensions.

Table 5 Characterisation cluster from the variable satisfaction 

Variables Satisfaction with tourist experience Cluster ANOVA Mean
1 2 3 4
Mean S.D Mean S.D Mean S.D Mean S.D F Sig.
In relation with the ICH 4.20(*) 0.863 3.63(*) 1.181 3.71(*) 1.099 4.02(*) 0.961 13.312 < 0.001 3.89
In relation with the WHS 4.53 0.650 4.58(* 0.728 4.35(* 0.820 4.43( 0.765 3.704 < 0.012 4.48
Level of satisfaction. Medium 4.37(*) 0.621 4.10 0.809 4.04 0.799 4.20( 0.686 8.235 < 0.001 4.18

(*)The values in bold type present significant differences in three of the means of the four clusters in the post-hoc ANOVA. In order to be able to test for the significant differences between the different means the Games-Howell test was applied.

Para poder contrastar las diferencias significativas entre las diferentes medias se ha aplicado la prueba Games-Howell.

Source: Own elaboration

Table 6 Robust homogeneity tests of variances and equality of means 

Satisfaction tourist experience Homogeneity Variances (Levene) Equality of means (Welch)
In relation with the ICH 13.404 < 0.001 14.028 < 0.001
In relation with the WHS 4.526 < 0.004 3.368 < 0.019
Level of satisfaction. Medium 2.855 < 0.026 9.078 < 0.001

Source: Own elaboration

The results clearly show that the tourists give a different meaningful assessment of the experience depending on being more or less related to the reasons that motivated the trip and with this the posed research hypotheses were confirmed: the motivation affects the satisfaction of the tourism experience, with the level of satisfaction being higher among the tourists with greater cultural motivation (H4); and the complementarity of the ICH and WHS in a tourism destination results in higher levels of satisfaction with the tourism experience (H5). This conclusion clearly involves the management of the tourism companies and the public sector of the city. Thus, the initiatives destined to increase the satisfaction of the visitors must start from an analysis of the reasons that motivate the trip in order to impact the presence and proper provision of the tourism product.


The recognition of a certain area as a WHS signifies, besides the cultural recognition and an obligation to preserve it, an important attraction to draw a certain type of tourist. The majority of the academic studies are focussed on the analysis of the WHS, and at present, the number of research projects that approach the relationship between the ICH and tourism are scarce due to the fact that this type of inscription is relatively recent, as well as, especially, to the difficulty that exists in clearly defining this relationship due to the fact that on most occasions it does not correspond to a defined geographic area. Nonetheless, on some occasions it is possible to establish the relationship between the ICH and tourism. Once of these possibilities is the realisation of research that studies the making of the toquilla straw hat, recognised as an ICH by the UNESCO in 2012, as a tourist product in the city of Cuenca, recognised as WHS in 1999.

This paper contributes to complete the academic literature existing on the links of the tourist with the Intangible Cultural Heritage that he visits, and with the tourist’s behaviour. In fact, it is one of the first investigations carried out on this subject in Latin America. This paper presents a segmentation of the tourists that visit the city of Cuenca according to different motivations. Therefore, from the motivational viewpoint, the results show the existence of three dimensions for visiting the city, two of a culture nature (one related to the ICH and the other with the WHS of Cuenca) and a third of a hedonic nature. Depending on the motivation models, four types of tourists are identified: a hedonic ICH-WHS tourist, a hedonic WHS tourist, a hedonic tourist and an ICH-WHS tourist. In the same way, it clearly shows that the visitors make a different meaningful assessment of the experience when it is more or less related to the reasons that motivate the trip, with the highest level of satisfaction being among the tourists with greater cultural motivation. In addition, the complementarity existing between the ICH and WHS results in higher levels of satisfaction of the tourism experience.

We consider that the principal practical application of this research is to contribute to understanding the motivations of the visitors in relation to the city of Cuenca as a WHS and to the fabrication of the toquilla straw hat for the purpose of designing tourist and cultural products that better satisfy the needs of the tourists and that, at the same time, are compatible with the sustainable management of the destination.

The result offer relevant information for the tourism managers that must know the different segments in their effort to take advantage of the economic and cultural power of the toquilla straw hat. The findings make the need to direct and make the artisans of hats to show the potential benefits of this product as a relevant tourist call in the city of Cuenca.

The principal limitation of this paper is centred on the fact that the collected data were obtained from a sample of visitors of a specific area of Ecuador and of a very specific type of tourism which is cultural tourism, and a very determined time period. This limits the generalisation of these results, while it opens possibilities of comparing with other destinations where the ICH can also be studied.

As a future line of research, a study is recommended of the perception that the residents have of the fabrication of the toquilla straw hat as a tourism resource for the city of Cuenca.


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Received: August 30, 2017; Accepted: October 01, 2018; Published: November 29, 2018

* Corresponding author. E-mail address:ás López-Guzmán)

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