Allocentric and psychocentric, tourism
Coined by tourism researcher Plog (1974), these terms describe two types of personality. Psychocentric tourists are self-inhibiting, nervous, and non-adventurous; they often refuse to travel by air for psychological reasons rather than financial or other practical concerns. In comparison, allocentric tourists are outgoing, self-confident, and adventurous. Sometimes psychocentrics are also referred to as dependables and allocentrics as venturers (Plog 2001).
Psychocentric tourists prefer destinations which they can reach by car and select familiar destinations equipped with well-developed tourism amenities, such as hotels, family-type restaurants, and shops. They like comprehensive tour package with well-organized schedules; they expect foreigners to speak their home languages, and they have the habit of purchasing souvenirs. In contrast, allocentrics frequently and often fly to destinations. They prefer less-developed spots to crowded and typical places. They do not pay special attention to the conditions of accommodation and food, but they prefer tour arrangements that allow for considerable freedom and flexibility. They learn foreign languages or at least basic expressions before and during the trips, buy local crafts, and enjoy meeting people from different cultures (Plog 1991).
Plog (1974, 1991, 2001) considers these two personalities as archetypes, and it is rare that a particular individual is either allocentric or psychocentric. He classifies the US population along a psychographic continuum, ranging from the psychocentric at one extreme to the allocentric at the other. Between these two extremes, the “near-psychocentric,” the “mid-centric,” and the “near-allocentric” types are situated. The mid-centrics have characteristics of both types. They typically look for relaxation and pleasure in relatively familiar environments with friends and relatives. For them, holidays mean escapes from daily routines, and their favorite places for holidaying are healthy environment with natural scenery, such as forests or lakeside resorts. On the basis of these concepts, Plog profiles the psychographic position of destinations and explains why people do or do not travel and why particular destination areas rise and fall in popularity.
This model has been widely cited, often with “allocentric/psychocentric diagram” in tourism textbooks, because it is easy to understand. The concepts have also been adopted by many researchers. At the same time, there are critical comments on its continuing usefulness, its simple unidimensional nature, its lack of measurement, and its narrow North American focus. Furthermore, increasing numbers of tourists may change the characteristics of a destination, which may in turn attract new types of tourists. The model that is able to capture such dynamic interplays between the personality of the tourists and the destination would serve as a useful tool in understanding the ever-changing destinations in Asia and Africa.
- Plog, S. 1991 Leisure Travel: Making it a Growth Market…Again! New York: Wiley.Google Scholar