(10) A great resource would be constituted by the Travel and Tourism in Saudi Arabia Euromonitor Report for 2009. Among other things, this report contains information on the most recent internet developments, or the number of tourism related sales made on the internet. The source is however uneasily available; it can be bought from the Euromonitor website at the high cost of 1,190 GBP (approximately $1,800).
(11) The Global Arab Network (2010) promotes an article emphasizing on the desires of the Saudi Arabian government to stimulate the tourism sector. The endeavors are part of a broader strategy to boost the country's economy through more revenues, as well as by creating more employment opportunities. In the context of incremental acceptance of technology and online purchases, combined with sustained efforts to promote tourism, the future is expected to bring about an increased adoption of online shopping for travel products.
III. Research Model and Hypothesis
The hypothesis at the base of the research process revolves around the belief that few people have engaged in online travel shopping in Saudi Arabia and that this limitation is due to constraints such as lack of trust in electronic commerce, low awareness of the existence of the online travel shopping opportunities, lack of trust in the security and reliability of the vendors and their electronic payment systems, the real or perceived complexity in using the online applications or the real or perceived usefulness of the electronic commerce traveling opportunities.
In terms of the research model to be used, this is called the Technology Acceptance Model. This model is generally accepted as a useful means of approaching issues related to the people's acceptability of specific technologies. Research models based on the acceptance of technology have evolved alongside with the technologies themselves. They represent pivotal components in the analysis of information systems and they have constituted focal points in the analyses conducted throughout the past two decades (Khosrow-Pour, 2006). In short, "the technology acceptance model proposes that perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness predict the acceptance of information technology. Since its inception, the model has been tested with various applications in tens of studies and has become a most widely applied model of user acceptance and usage" (Mahmood, 2005).
The technology acceptance model has the benefit of being flexible so that it can be adjusted to serve the specific needs of each research project. Within the current scenario, the model will be constructed on four distinct factors:
ease of using the online application awareness of the existence of online applications which allow for the purchase of travel products and services the trust prospective customers have in the online system, the vendors and the security of the payment, and finally the real or perceived usefulness of the online shopping system
IV. Research Method
4.1. Research Procedure
The research procedure commences at the objectives of the research process and with the identification of the questions to be answered. It continues with the presentation of the current findings within the specialized literature, to then move on to the identification of the data necessary in answering the initially posed questions.
The required data is then collected -- after the collection process has been selected -- and the information retrieved is processed. At the end of this process, the results would be clearly presented (Winstead).
4.2. Sources of Data
The necessary data would be collected through multiple channels, through both direct as well as indirect sources. The indirect sources include books, journal and magazine articles or internet articles. They have the benefit of presenting a complex situation from several standpoints, but the limitation of maybe being biased. These sources would however constitute only of a starting point in the analysis and the information retrieved would be verified.
The direct sources of information include open and direct communications with Saudi Arabian consumers and internet users. The geographic boundaries would be limited through communications in forums, chat houses or other online applications.
4.3. Data Collection Method
In terms of the data to be collected from secondary sources, the method refers to the very study of the books, journals, magazines and so on for the identification of the necessary data. In terms of the primary information to be retrieved, the method refers to the development of a survey integrating several questions referring to the attitudes of consumers towards online shopping, the internet habits of the individual consumers, their experiences with electronic commerce and so on.
4.4. Sample Size and Sampling Method
The sample would consist of 200 individuals. The questionnaire would be posted on several websites and it would invite individual Saudi Arabian consumers to answer it in a few minutes and offer valuable information that would support the development of the domestic e-commerce sector, and as such the entire economy. The technique to be used in the selection of the sample will be that of random sampling, which would not only ensure a relevance of the sample selected, but would also allow the researcher to benefit from the relevance of the results without dealing with the hurdle of mathematic complexities (Babbie, 2008).
4.5. Method of Data Analysis
The final analysis would be constructed on the data retrieved through both primary as well as secondary sources. It would compare the hypothesis and the four identified factors believed to impact the online purchase decision against the results of the survey. Based on the findings, a conclusion would be drawn.
V. Time-Frame for Study
The completion of the research project would require four different stages, as follows:
(1) At the first stage, the focal point would be represented by the identification of the research questions, as well as that of the hypotheses. This stage would be completed in an estimated month.
(2) During the second stage, the necessary data would be collected from secondary sources. In other words, the literature review would be conducted and edited. The stage would require an estimated two months.
(3) The third stage integrates the development and implementation of the questionnaire. At this stage, it is also necessary to collect the information and to process it. It is estimated that this stage spreads throughout the duration of three months.
(4) During the fourth stage, the results would be assessed and a conclusion would be formed. Additional research questions would be formulated. The entire project would be edited, and the estimated duration of this stage is of six weeks.
VI. Preliminary References List
The initially identified references include all those which have been previously mentioned, which play the role of starting points. Yet, relying on the experience of previous researches, it has to be noted that as a research project advances, it raises more questions than the initially identified ones. As a parenthesis, a good research project is in fact expected to raise additional questions for future research studies. Returning to the issues of the references, the progression implies the usage of additional sources. Yet, at this point, the preliminary references list consists of the following:
Al-Otaibi, M.B., Al-Zahrani, R.M., Electronic Commerce in the Kingdon of Saudi Arabia, King Saud University, http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/DrRasheed/My%20Publications/Ecommerce_in_KSA.pdf last accessed on April 7, 2010
Anderson, D.R., Sweeney, D.J., Williams, T.A., 2009, Statistics for business and economics, Cengage Learning, ISBN 0324658354
Babbie, E.R., 2008, The basics of social research, 4th edition, Cengage Learning, ISBN 0495094684
Kalathil, S., Boas, T.C., 2003, Open networks, closed regimes: the impact of the internet on authoritarian rule, Carnegie Endowment, ISBN 0870031945
Kosrow-Pour, M., 2006, Emerging trends and challenges in information technology management, Vol. 1, Idea Group Inc., ISBN 1599040190
Lee, I., 2009, Electronic Business: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications, Volume 1, Idea Group Inc., ISBN 1605660566
Mahmood, M.A., 2005, Advanced topics in end user computing, Vol. 4, Edition 4, Idea Group Inc., ISBN 1591404746
Taylor, J., 1999, Selling on the Cyber-Souq, The Middle East, No. 291, Edition of June
Teitelbaum, J., 2002, Dueling for Da'wa: State Vs. Society on the Saudi Internet, The Middle East Journal, Vol. 56, No. 2
Sait, S.M., Al-Tawi, K., Hussain, S.A., 2004, E-Commerce in Saudi Arabia: Adoption and Perspectives, AJIS, Vol. 12, No. 1
Shoult, A., 2006, Doing business with Saudi Arabia, 3rd edition, GMB Publishing Ltd., ISBN 1905050062
Wimmer, M.A., 2005, Electronic government: 4th international conference, Birkhauser, ISBN 3540284664
Winstead, R.L., Outline of Research Procedure, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, http://www.nsm.iup.edu/rwinstea/resproc.shtm last accessed on April 7, 2010
2003, Information and telecommunication technology in Saudi Arabia, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, http://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-s/md/03/wsispc3/c/S03-WSISPC3-C-0025!!MSW-E.doc last accessed on April 7, 2010
2004, Saudi Arabia A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 1419146211
2005, E-Commerce reaches new heights in Saudi Arabia, AME Info, http://www.ameinfo.com/61990.html last accessed on April 7, 2010
The Report: Saudi Arabia 2008, Oxford Business Group, ISBN 1902339002
2009, Travel and Tourism in Saudi Arabia, Euromonitor, http://www.euromonitor.com/Travel_And_Tourism_in_Saudi_Arabia last accessed on April 7, 2010
2010, March 31, Saudi Arabia to boost tourism contribution to 11% of the GDP, Global Arab Network, http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201003315347/Travel/saudi-arabia-to-boost-tourism-contribution-to-11-of-the-gdp.html last accessed on April…