Analysing customer experience in heritage tourism: Empirical evidence from an Italian cultural district


  • Francesco Calza Parthenope University of Naples
  • Marco Ferretti Parthenope University of Naples
  • Marcello Risitano Parthenope University of Naples
  • Annarita Sorrentino Parthenope University of Naples


Despite the multitude and richness of works on tourism experience, few studies have analysed the experiential approach and its key effects in cultural district context.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploratory investigation of the magnitude of the experiential approach in the specific area of cultural district tourism as a contribution to the scarce and preliminary literature on this topic.
To achieve this aim, a structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis is applied to a sample of 400 tourists at San Gregorio Armeno (Naples, Italy) to test the relationships among visitor experience, tourist satisfaction, memorable experience and behavioural intentions. The selected cultural district is an agglomeration of local firms embedded with the aim of producing hand-crafted goods (by respecting traditions, history and the local community), thereby driving unplanned heritage tourism
development based on the visit experience delivered to customers.
The findings of this empirical study show positive relationships among the constructs and interesting moderating effects of the variables (i.e., gender and past experience).
Based on these results, the main contributions to theory are explained, managerial implications (for local firms and policy makers) and future research directions are suggested.

Author Biographies

Francesco Calza, Parthenope University of Naples

Dean of the Parthenope University school of Economics and Low and Full Professor of Management, Department of Business Studies and Quantitative Methods

Marco Ferretti, Parthenope University of Naples

Full Professor of Management, Department of Business Studies and Quantitative Methods

Marcello Risitano, Parthenope University of Naples

Assistant Professor of Management, Department of Business Studies and Quantitative Methods

Annarita Sorrentino, Parthenope University of Naples

Assistant Professor of Management, Department of Business Studies and Quantitative Methods


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