How attitudes and preferences influence tourists’ hazard-induced travel deterrence
Report in scientific conference
BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PURPOSE. Tourist decisions represent a complicated system of factors, and interconnection existing between such factors is mediated by decision maker’s characteristics, among the others. When the risk represented by dangerous situations comes into play, complexity augments even further and mental processes that lead to elaborate information useful to take decisions are influenced by the potential danger for one’s safety. Thus said, understanding what lies behind tourists’ risk perception and, consequently, travel deterrence is fundamental for policy makers in order to deal with effects that potential life threatening events may have on tourism demand. The present research aims at determining how attitudes and preferences in a tourism-related context influence young tourists’ visualization of a destination’s dangerousness. METHOD AND DATA SOURCE. We propose an Ordered Logit Model in which the dependent variable is represented by the individual evaluation that four life-threatening situations (terrorist act, natural catastrophe, political uprising and epidemics) may represent a deterrent from traveling to holiday destinations. Among the independent variables adopted to model risk perception we include a series of latent variables capturing constructs such as attitudes toward international travel, social acceptability and preferences for different ways to live the travel experience. The research is based on data collected from a sample of University students (in Lugano, Switzerland) who were submitted a structured survey. This included questions regarding individuals’ perception of specific risky situations, psychographics concerning travel attitudes and preferences (all measured with Likert scales), past travel experiences as well as personal traits. PRELIMINARY RESULTS. It is possible to determine different attitudes and preferences related to tourist decisions: these affect differently and distinctly individuals’ perception of the four life-threatening events and their impact on travel deterrence. Moreover, respondents’ personal traits such as gender and continent of origin contribute to explain the formation of different attitudes and preferences. IMPLICATIONS. Assessing how individuals shape their risk perception is extremely important from a tourism policy and marketing point of view because it is crucial to understand what makes them feel (or not) cautious or anxious in potentially risky situations. This is particularly important for those realities whose tourism sector has a strategic importance for destination’s economy and social life but have to face the menace deriving from fragile situations human-related (e.g. terrorism and political uprisings) and/or nature-related (e.g. natural catastrophes), which obviously have a negative impact on tourism flows. In order make visitors feel reassured and safe and minimize the effects that negative events may have on destination’s tourism sector, marketing and communication campaigns targeted at sensible consumers should appeal to their attitudes and preferences toward international travel.
ATLAS 2015 Conference “Risk in Travel and Tourism: geographies, behaviours and strategies”
20-23 Oct. 2015