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In the last decennary, the rural infinite was in the attending of many researches in footings of sustainable development ( Jitea, 2011 ; Pocol, 2010 ) . Beside the agricultural sector another of import facet that is besides taken into consideration when speaking about the sustainable development of rural country is touristry. Tourism development should mention to the demand, on one manus, and local schemes on the other manus. Market research demand to be conducted for bettering the quality of the tourer services. Specific instruments to gauge the quality of touristry finish and tourers ‘ services are needed to obtain proper consequences.

Rural touristry represents an option to the authoritative signifier of touristry, by offering the possibility of loosen uping in a natural country, unsaturated, specific to each finish, with a big assortment of touristry services and benefits ( Dumitras et al. , 2011 ) .

Tourism development in rural country imposes conjugated attempts to guarantee services at a competitory quality for both basic and complex services. Along these attempts, it is necessary to accommodate the supply to the demand. Supplying quality services represents a competitory advantage for the investors and improves the profitableness and the public presentations of the house.

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Based on the above mentioned facets, the finding of the touristry attractive force points and the appraisal the quality ‘s degree for touristry services represent the first stairss in developing a scheme for rural touristry in Tarnava Mare Area.

To the aim of the research two chief waies were established:

To indentify of the chief suppliers of touristry services and to set up their grade of satisfaction sing the local action development for advancing and bettering the finish imagine, and the satisfaction degree about the chief facets

To carry on a research on the behavioural features of the tourer and to place their outlook from the guesthouses, and at the same clip the perceptual experience of the quality services from which they benefit at the finish.

The method for informations aggregation and processing selected for both surveies was the enquiry, while the research instrument employed was the study. The questionnaire design was based on the SERVQUAL method utilized to find the services quality, and QUALITEST used to find the quality of the touristry finish.

The SERVQUAL method was used for different classs of services, such as: private wellness attention system ( Butt and de Run, 2010 ) , wellness and fittingness sector ( Soita, 2012 ) electronic commercialism ( Alzola and Robaiana, 2005 ) , public services ( Brysland and Curry, 2001 ) , instruction ( Shekarchizadeh et al. , 2011 ) , banking ( Riadh, 2009 ) , which was besides adapted to tourism services ( Bigne et al, 2003 ; Zhou and Pritchard, 2009 ) , hotel industry ( Devi Juwaheer, 2004 ) .

The SERVQUAL theoretical account is discussed in different articles sing the clients ‘ services satisfaction. Carlos et Al. ( 2007 ) proposed a new attack of this theoretical account utilizing a different graduated table to measure the services in rural touristry, harmonizing to their quality. The writers developed a valuable tool for the directors and decision makers of tourer constitutions, utile for appreciating the quality of services. Kouthouris and Alexadris ( 2005 ) used the method for gauging the quality in sport touristry industry. Bozorgi ( 2007 ) evaluated the quality of air hose services. Grzinic ( 2007 ) analyzed the quality of 16 hotels from Opatijska Riviera on a sample of 253 tourers. Akbaba ( 2006 ) revealed how SERVQUAL method can be used in a concern hotel in Turkey. Rozman et Al. ( 2009 ) presented a method of ranking tourer farms by utilizing a multi-criteria theoretical account based on the qualitative multi-criteria patterning methodological analysis.

Based on old surveies it was considered necessary the development of an original theoretical account, adapted to specific worlds of the studied country, which could assist guesthouses directors to set up the quality of their services and the importance of local merchandises in the development of rural touristry.


tarnava Mare Area is located in the South portion of Transylvania spread on the surface of eight communes: Saschiz, Vanatori, Albesti, Apold, Bunesti, Laslea, Biertan and Danes. This country is known as a Saxon one and is pulling tourers by the diverseness of the landscape, heritage and UNSECO sites ( Akeroyd, 2006 ) . The country is besides known for its local manufactured merchandises which are sold under the trade name Tarnava Mare. During the journey, the tourers have the chance to gustatory sensation and purchase merchandises made by the local manufacturers.

Harmonizing to the informations offered by the metropolis halls official sites, the entire figure of the population is 29,921 people with a denseness of 34 persons/square metre. The information related to the socio-economic indexs reveals the fact that agritourism is present in about all of the communes.

To accomplish the research aims by the indicated waies, two questionnaires were developed. In the first instance, a questionnaire was developed for tourers, and in the 2nd one a questionnaire was developed for guesthouses ‘ proprietors. The SERVQUAL and the QUALITEST methods were used in both questionnaires. The methods were carefully analyzed and adapted to the necessity and worlds of the rural touristry in general, and Tarnava Mare Area in peculiar.

The SERVQUAL method, known besides as the GAP theoretical account, helps the services suppliers to set up the quality of the services based on the outlook and the perceptual experience of the clients, which are the tourers. This method involves the rating of 22 statements related to the services, from two different points of position. First, the clients have to measure each statement on graduated table from 1 to 7, where 1 means non indispensable at all and 7 agencies really indispensable, indicating out what they expect from the analyzed service ‘s class. Second the clients have to measure each statement on graduated table from 1 to 7, where 1 agencies strongly disagree and 7 agencies strongly agree, uncovering how they perceived the service they benefited from. The degree of the quality was calculated for each statement based on the difference between perceptual experience and outlook. Following, the degree of the quality is calculate for each of the five dimensions and so for the full service. When the mark is below nothing means that the quality of the services did non run into the tourers ‘ outlook, and when the mark is above nothing, it means that service ‘s quality achieve tourers ‘ outlook. There are many grounds why perceptual experiences do non run into outlook get downing from the deficiency of involvement of the directors to the research market until the improper manner of presenting the services ( Fig. 1 ) .

Fig. 1. GAP Model

Beginning: After Zeithaml et al. , 1990, pp. 46

For this research, the tourers were asked to measure what they expect from a guesthouse in general, and how they perceived the quality of the services they benefit from. The proprietors were besides asked to measure the same 22 statements harmonizing to what they believe the tourers would wish to happen in a guesthouse. This was done to look into if the directors have cognition of the tourers ‘ desires and which are the failing of the concern.

The SERVQUAL method was foremost developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry in 1985. Harmonizing to them, the sensed service quality can be expressed as follows:

Perceived service quality = perceived service ( P ) – expected service ( E ) ( 1 )

The 22 statements are grouped into the five dimensions of the SERVQUAL and are described in Tab. 1.

Tab. 1: Dimensions of SERVQUAL



Item in graduated table


Physical installations, equipment and visual aspect of forces



Ability to execute the promised service faithfully and accurately



Willingness to assist clients and supply prompt service



Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to animate trust and assurance



Caring individualised attending the house provides its clients


Beginning: Parasuraman et al. 1988 pp 176

In order to determinate the general quality of the studied service, the first measure is to calculate the degree of quality for each dimension by utilizing the undermentioned expression ( Zheithaml et al. , 1990 ) :

( 2 )

where: SQj represents the quality of the service for the dimension J, j=1, aˆ¦ , 5

Pij represents the perceptual experience for statement I from dimension J, i=1, aˆ¦ , 22, j=1, aˆ¦ , 5

Eij represents the outlook for statement I from dimension J, i=1, aˆ¦ , 22, j=1, aˆ¦ , 5

nj represents the figure of statements for dimension J

Based on this the mean degree of the entire service ‘s quality can be computed utilizing the undermentioned expression:

( 3 )

where: SQ represents the general degree of the service ‘s quality

SQj represents the quality of the service for the dimension J, j=1, aˆ¦ , 5

Another manner to calculate the degree of the entire service ‘s quality is utilizing the importance of each dimension of the service:

( 4 )

where: pj represents the per centum of each dimension to the entire degree of service ‘s quality.

For finding the importance of each dimension, respondents were asked to rank the five dimensions on a graduated table from 1 to 5, where 1 means most of import and 5 agencies less of import. Based on their replies it was computed the weight norm.

A positive difference between the perceptual experiences and the outlooks means that the quality of the delivered service has lower degree than the expected one, a negative value means that the quality of the delivered service has lower degree than the expected one and zero agencies that the quality of the delivered service was fulfilling.

The 2nd method which was analyzed and adapted to the rural touristry worlds was the QUALITEST method. This method, in its original signifier, was foremost proposed by the European Commission for Enterprise and Industry in 2003, when the “ Manual for Measuring the Quality Performance of Tourist Destinations and Services ” was published. This manual provides a tool to ease measurement, monitoring and benchmarking the quality public presentation of the tourer finish and services, called QUALITEST. The nucleus of this tool is a set of 16 headline indexs used in the Quality Performance Evaluation of tourer finish and services.

Harmonizing to this manual, the tourer finish is understood to be an country which is promoted to tourist as a topographic point to see and where the touristry merchandise is coordinated by one or more governments or organisations. The manual proposes that boundaries of the tourer country to be same with the 1s of the municipal boundaries.

The original method is based on interviews conducted on tourers, touristry suppliers and local action organic structures. Since the research country is spread on 7 communes, it was found more proper, at this phase of the research, to concentrate the attempt on placing the quality ‘s degree of tourer finish from the points of position of tourers and directors of the guesthouses. Therefore, both tourers and directors where asked to measure the quality of the tourer finish based on 11 statements ranked from 1 to 5, where 1 agencies really low and 5 agencies really high. Based on their replies the quality of the tourer finish was established and the strengths and the failing of the country were evidenced.

The QUALITEST has been developed so that it can be applied to any type of finish in Europe, no affair if it is rural, urban or costal. In instance of the rural finishs from Romania the most representative countries are: Maramures, Lunca Ilvei, Bucovina, Delta Dunarii, Bran-Rucar, Marginimea Sibiului, Muntii Apuseni, Sancariu, Tarnava Mare. In some of these countries a few jobs could originate sing the boundary line of the country boundaries, because these are non the same with the administrative 1s.

It is of import to understand that QUALITEST is non focused merely on the quality of the merchandise, but besides on the quality of the country.

In order to obtain a better imagine of tourers ‘ profile and a utile instrument for mensurating the touristry quality, beside all these statements, inquiries about the journey budget and the socio-demographic features were added.


SERVQUAL is a method widely used for gauging the services ‘ quality. Buttle ( 1995 ) realized a critical analysis of the method indicating out the chief way of the research of quality services. Cronin and Taylor ( 1994 ) suggest that the adequacy-importance theoretical account of attitude measuring should be adopted for service quality research.

The appraisal of services quality has been long discussed. Tribe and Snaith ( 1998 ) developed the HOLSAT ( Truong and Foster, 2006 ) method to measure the satisfaction degree of visitants in a tourer finish. Murphy ( 2003 ) highlighted the importance of be aftering the touristry activity and of supplying qualitative services by utilizing the SERVQUAL method. Lynch ( 2007 ) developed the ATTRACTQUAL method to measure the quality of tourer sights.

Based on the SERVQUAL theoretical account, Khan ( 2003 ) developed a new theoretical account named ECOSERV, for gauging the quality of ecotourism based on six dimensions alternatively of five as it is the instance of the original theoretical account.

The quality of rural touristry services was besides studied but non that intense. It can be mentioned the surveies carried on by A?rtomir ( 2009 ) sing the farm touristry services and the one conducted by Albacete-Saez ( 2006 ) which developed a graduated table for mensurating tourers ‘ satisfaction in the rural country, get downing from the SERVQUAL theoretical account.

Previous research in the part reveals that the SERVQUAL theoretical account demand to be adapted to the world and the specialnesss of Tarnava Mare country ( Muresan and Arion, 2009 ) .

Due to the features of the analyzed guesthouses it was considered proper to extinguish from the research instrument the portion of the study addressed to the employees because all the analyzed adjustment installations are household concern. In this instance, spread 2, spread 3 and gap 4 were eliminated from the new theoretical account, although spread 4 could look due to the leaning of overpromises and spread 3 due to the hapless engineering.

Therefore the new theoretical account can be represented as in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2 The proposed GAP Model

The analyzed guesthouses are ranked either to two or three flowers. Due to the fact that the categorization of the adjustment installations in Romania is purely based on the proficient features, the qualitative facet non being taken into consideration, the analysis of the informations could be done both on the micro and macro degree for each class of comfort. Estimating the quality of the guesthouses is an of import measure in developing new market schemes. Servicess have some peculiar features which differentiate them for the merchandises and do them more hard to be evaluated, such as: are non touchable, are non heterogenic, and are consumed at the same clip with the bringing procedure.

The specialnesss of the rural touristry imposed that some of the statements from the SERVQUAL theoretical account to be reconsidered to take to more relevant consequences for the worlds of the Rumanian rural touristry in general, and particularly in Tarnava Mare ( Tab. 2 ) .

Another accommodation of the method consisted in the manner of using the questionnaire to the tourers. The original method suggests two different minutes, one before the service is delivered, and one after tourers visited the country. Because of the big figure of respondents coming from different parts of the universe, on one manus, and the surface of the research country on the other, the tourer were asked to measure the statements at the same clip from two different points of position related to the outlook of the services of the guesthouses from the rural country in general and to the services offered by the guesthouse where they were accommodated.

Tab. 2: Original vs. modified statements of the SERVQUAL theoretical account

Original statement

Modified statement

Excellent companies will hold modern looking equipment

Architecture of the edifices and internal ornament is pleasant, simple and in harmoniousness with the rural milieus

Employees at first-class companies will be neat-appearing

Staff looks good groomed and frock

Employees in first-class companies will give prompt services to clients

Employees in first-class companies will ever be willing to assist clients

When a job arises petition is rapidly dealt with

Staff gives you good advice sing the tradition, events and gastronomy of the topographic point

The 2nd method was besides adapted to the worlds of the research country. In this instance the statement related to the adjustment installations was removed since there were another 22 statements from the first method mentioning to this subject. Alternatively of this, a statement related to the general quality of the services was added. The last three statements from the original method related to the quality of the local environment, bathing countries, and air in the finish were compressed to a individual 1: “ Quality of the natural environment ( cleanliness of the country, air pollution ) ” .

Sing the aims of the research, the statement related to the quality of the nutrient and drink was kept. In add-on, other inquiries related to the local merchandises were added.

Primary consequences of the study reveal the fact that from the entire figure of 412 visitants of the country, merely 6.8 % of them had consumed or bought local merchandises, even if more than half are at least satisfied by the quality of the nutrient and drink. One ground for this contradiction can be explained by the fact that the proprietors did non offer the proper information to tourers about the local merchandises. This is reflected by the negative mark obtained in the instance of the statement related to the information about tradition and local gastronomy, from the SERVQUAL method.

Tourists and visitants of the Tarnava Mare Area have noted differences between tourers services they expected to have and the tourer services they received in fact, although Iowa was noted that directors of the guesthouses have tended to overrate the outlook of the tourers ( Muresan et al. , 2011 ) .


Tourism represents an of import issue in the development of local communities and is necessary to recognize the fact that one of the most valued facets for tourers during their journey in general is represented by nutrient and drink sector. For this country is even more of import if the culinary tradition and the local merchandises trade name is taken into consideration. Analyzing and accommodating the supply to tourers will increase the touristry sector and besides the life criterion of the local people.

The consequences of this research offers to directors, and non merely but besides to local organic structures, an original and dependable theoretical account in order to gauge and measure the impact of developing touristry in rural country. Local merchandises remain an undiscovered section in the development of the nutrient touristry sector as good. By bettering the quality of the tourer services and developing new signifiers of touristry in rural countries, the life criterion of the local community can lift. For all these the local organic structures, touristry suppliers and local community should join forces and concentrate their actions on the same waies.

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