PolyU launches Tourist Satisfaction Index to gauge the satisfaction level of tourists


The School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has launched the PolyU Tourist Satisfaction Index (PolyU TSI) today (December 17) to gauge the satisfaction level of inbound tourists by countries and regions.

Spearheaded by Professor Haiyan Song, chair professor of Tourism and associate director of SHTM, this pioneering project aims to fill in the gaps by creating a comprehensive system, which will provide authorities concerned and industry personnel with much-needed information for decision making and planning purposes. The research project is supported by the Niche Area Research of PolyU.

The index was compiled based on interviews of 3,000 respondents from a wide range of countries and regions. According to Professor Song, “We have put the focus of the empirical study on Hong Kong, where tourism has been seen as one of the major economic pillars. The project has currently produced satisfaction indices for the seven important regional source markets of the six tourism-related sectors in Hong Kong.”

Several cities within the Pearl River Delta Region, including Macau and Shenzhen, also showed interest in using the index to assess their strengths as a tourism destination. Of particular interest to Hong Kong will be the ability to benchmark the local indices against those of other destinations. The scope of this project is expected to expand in the future.

“The launch of PolyU TSI is another contribution that our school has made to the tourism industry,” Professor Kaye Chon, SHTM director, noted. “With an improved ability to measure the satisfaction of its customers, the Hong Kong tourism industry will continue to bolster local economic development. SHTM is proud to support its industry in this new way and looks forward to the added well-being the PolyU TSI will bring to the community.”

The first PolyU TSI study showed tourists from North America with the highest satisfaction level with a score of 78.43 out of 100. In terms of satisfaction level, the Americans are followed by Australians, New Zealanders, and tourists from the Pacific region with a satisfaction index score of 76.22. The third most-satisfied source market is Europe, Africa, and Middle East, the visitors from these regions attributed to a tourist satisfaction score of 75.04.

The remaining source markets are all found in Asia. Mainland tourists appeared to be the most satisfied among Asian customers, with a PolyU TSI of 74.32. Closely following the mainland tourists are those from south and southeast Asia, with an index figure of 71.28. This is followed by the two source markets of Taiwan and Macau and of Japan and Korea, both showing the satisfaction index scores of 66.33 and 66.27, respectively.

Further analysis has shown that among the six tourism-related sectors, the transportation sector received the highest tourist satisfaction index score of 77.79, followed by the immigration sector 74.27, and attractions 74.26. The hotels are ranked fourth with an index score of 71.67, while the retail shops and restaurants are ranked fifth and sixth with an index score of 69.44 and 68.85, respectively.

Given the sectoral tourist satisfaction indexes presented above, the overall PolyU TSI stood at 72.65, indicating that inbound tourists are generally satisfied with the services of Hong Kong’s tourism sectors during the year of 2009.

The PolyU TSI is compiled based on a sophisticated model and a vigorous research framework, which captures the multiple dimensions of tourist satisfaction. The framework is able to produce tourist satisfaction indices for individual tourism sectors and then the overall destination satisfaction index. Individual indices can be estimated for various source markets of individual tourism-related sectors on a regular basis in order to monitor the dynamics of the destination’s competitiveness over time. The PolyU TSI will be updated annually.

PolyU’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management is one of the world-leading providers of hospitality and tourism education. It is ranked no. 2 in the world among hotel and tourism schools based on research and scholarship, according to a study published in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research in November 2009.

With 60 academic staff drawing from 18 countries, the school offers programs at levels ranging from PhD to Higher Diploma. It was awarded the 2003 International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators Institutional Achievement Award in recognition of its significant contribution to tourism education and is one of the global training centers in the Education and Training Network in Asia recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.