Research Article: 2022 Vol: 26 Issue: 2
Shveta Kalra, University of Delhi
Chhavi Taneja, NMIMS University
Citation Information: Kalra, S., & Taneja, C. (2022). Sustainable Tourism Behaviour In The Post Pandemic Era. Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 26(2), 1-13.
The present research attempts to study various cognitive & affective factors affecting consumer attitude leading to post pandemic tourism behaviours (viz. attraction/avoidance conative behaviour) towards sustainable tourism. Attraction tourism behaviour includes resilience strategies, coping mechanisms, more concern about travel insurance, cautious travel decisions including choosing destination at a remote location surrounded by nature. Avoidance tourism behaviour consists deferring of travelling and cancellation of travel plans. The present research aims to examine the relationship between the cognitive factors such as mindful mind, perceived risk, perceived knowledge (travel and COVID-19-related) etc., affective factors such as travel fear of COVID-19, travel anxiety and behavioural intention for tourism in immediate future. Sustainability of companies is ultimately dependent on customers’ sustainability. By carefully monitoring consumers’ cognitive & affective factors, tourism companies can develop their marketing strategies so as to address the diverse coping, resilience & protection strategies of customers. Internal factors such as consumer motivation, cognitive dissonance, moral stance (moral obligation of taking care of others), consumer confusion have not been included in the present study may also impact the tourism behaviour intention. Likewise, external factors such as economic environment, security, socio-cultural environment may also be studied. Future researches may be conducted by taking these factors into consideration.
Tourism Behaviour, Consumer Attitude, COVID-19, Perceived Risk, Travel Fear, Anxiety, Mindful Mind.
Tourism creates foreign exchange, propels regional development, provides direct support for a wide range of jobs and enterprises, and is the bedrock of many local communities. In OECD countries, tourism directly adds 4.4 percent to GDP and 21.5 percent to service exports. Several OECD countries have substantially higher percentages. The contribution of tourism in Spain is 11.8 percent to GDP and 52.3 percent to total service exports. However, these figures are 8.7% and 78.3% for Mexico, 8.6% and 47.7% in Iceland, 8% and 51.1% in Portugal and 7.4% and 22.2% in France.
Researches done in the past (Novelli et al., 2018) relating to different pandemic viz. SARS in 2003, Swine flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014, Zika-virus in 2015 highlight that there had been huge impact on tourism and recovery is generally pretty slow. In the same way, in case of Covid-19, there is fear amongst people on the severity and contagiousness of the virus. Further, misleading information about the pandemic on social media and doubtful travellers perceptions all significantly lead to reduction in travel demand.
After every ecological or environmental disaster, tourism has a great potential to add to sustainability and is considered as a substitute to sustainable development.
Sustainable development aims to anticipate shock in specific domains whereas resilience provides a response to an expected or unforeseen shock which is costly in terms of direct and indirect effects and asset losses.
The World Tourism Organization UNWTO in 2005 terms Sustainable Tourism as “one whose practices and principles can apply to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments”. Environmental, economic and socio-cultural parts of tourism growth come under the purview of sustainable development. Long term sustainability requires maintaining a suitable balance amongst these three dimensions.
The key is to understand that sustainability must be the philosophy that guides the overall thinking and planning of the entire travel sector, that sustainability is not just caring for the environment or having a social responsibility program; that sustainability is not just another department in the organizational chart. Sustainability is the way of doing things per se.” “Growing better, stronger and balancing the needs of people, planet and prosperity” was also decided as the new vision for global tourism in “One planet sustainable tourism programme” on the event of World Environment Day in 2020.
Extant researchers (Gaddum, 2002; Li et al., 2019; Nocera and Gardoni, 2019) observe that whenever external environment varies in terms of business and economic phases along with catastrophe events (like covid-19), businesses must predict, prepare, mitigate and respond actively.
In one of the virtual webinars organized by ABTA in July 2020 on “Consumer Attitudes towards sustainability post-COVID-19”, it was discussed that this pandemic has changed the way consumers think about tourism. An overwhelming 48% felt that the pandemic has made them more concerned about the environment & 40% feel more determined than ever to make sustainable travel choices. New Zealand is one of the finest examples to rethink tourism by using lockdown to create a more sustainable destination. Milan created new cycle paths in the city & Austria's Ski Resort of Ischgl is now moving away from its party reputation.
United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) first devised the term “Sustainable development” in 1987 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Responsible tourism or sustainable tourism is one of the many ways to protect our environment. Observing the objective of sustainable tourism is important as tourism embodies 5% of the world’s GDP and 6 to 7% of total employment. Amongst global exports, international tourism stands at fourth position (after fuel, chemicals and automotive products) and is valued at USD 1 trillion a year with 1.4 billion international tourists UNWTO in 2018. Tourism is amongst the top five export earners in over 150 countries (www.unwto.org). Also, Tourism contributes a significant 10% to the GDP of India, with 95% of rooms coming from the Bed and Breakfast hotels in India. Guesthouses and unbranded budget hotels and a mere 5% of rooms coming from the branded hotels - standalone, hotel chains, luxury hotels, and resorts1.
According to KPMG report 2020, 8.1% of the country’s workforce is represented by travel and tourism sector rendering into around 42.7 million jobs. Further, it is projected that 10 to 15% of jobs in the sector will be missed due to pandemic. The above mentioned employment loss is due to the devastating impact of the pandemic on the economies and healthcare systems of the largest contributor to both foreign and domestic tourism in India. China, Germany, US and UK which are among the top ten nations contributing 65 percent of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA’s) in India are also amongst the top 15 countries badly affected by the pandemic (in terms of number of cases).
Similarly, Maharashtra, Kerala, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the top states contributing maximum to domestic tourism have also been acutely hit by the pandemic. Covid pandemic has also given a chance to rethink travel and tourism in terms of sustainability. Indirectly this pandemic has created an exceptional opportunity for the earth to heal.
The situation is unprecedented. The case of tourism is different from other business sectors as the unsold capacity (for eg. in accommodation) can’t be marketed in subsequent years which has confirm implications for employment as well. Social and environmental factors are inter-connected and are risk multipliers to a business even if apparently isolated in terms of industry, sector or geography.
What sustainability means is very personal, and brands that can connect these definitions will reap the benefits. For some, sustainability is environmental, for others, it is about the social and community impacts of visiting a destination, and for some, it is both. At the moment there is a trend towards the social and community side of sustainability - these aspects are resonating more with consumers who want to leave a progressive impact on the local people and economy of a destination. Brands need to communicate what sustainability means to their target markets, weave this into their communication plans and demonstrate tangible ways they are becoming more sustainable.
Rationale of the Study
Previous researches have already explored the general effect of covid-19 on tourism. It’s a familiar point that consumers’ attitude plays an important role in tourists’ behaviours (Hosni et al., 2018) what exactly causes the change in “consumer attitude” needs to be explored. To bridge this vent, the current paper seeks to study the antecedents and behavioural consequences of the changed ‘consumer attitude’ post covid-19. The motive of the paper is to discover the antecedents of consumer attitude and the resultant change in behavioral intentions; these affecting sustainable tourism behavior. The study proposes a conceptual framework to discover the relationship between cognitive factors such as mindfulness, perceived risks etc., affective factors such as travel anxiety, travel fear, pandemic fear, behavioural intentions to travel in the near future. The paper also adopts the Tourists’ attitude behaviour model by exploring the tourists’ attraction behavior strategies such as coping and resilience and avoidance behavior strategies such as deferred travel and cancellation of travel plan. As there is lack of studies on attitude led behaviour in tourism literature, the study provides insights into understanding and addressing the tourists’ travel and tourism intentions after the outbreak.
Sustainable tourism includes care for the environment, society as well as economy. A positive attitude towards sustainable tourism reflects attraction tourism behavior in the form of resilience strategies, coping mechanisms, more concern about travel insurance, cautious travel decisions including choosing a destination at a distant location amidst the close vicinity of nature. Likewise, a negative attitude may result in temporary or long-term deferment of travel and tourism plans.
To alleviate the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 on tourism, marketers involved in the tourism sector should better understand the consumers’ mind-set and attitude for travel post covid-19 instead of simply predicting tourism demand. On the basis of the above discussion, following research questions are proposed in the next section.
RQ1: How do cognitive & affective factors impact travel intentions post-COVID-19?
RQ2: How do variables such as consumer’s travel experience and risk aversiveness moderate the relationship between cognitive, affective & conative attitudes?
Objectives of the Study
(1) To identify the various factors affecting travel behavioural intentions post COVID-19.
(2) To study the linkages between cognitive factors viz. mindfulness, perceived risks, perceived knowledge (travel-related & COVID-19 related) & affective factors (viz. travel fear & anxiety) & tourists’ behaviour intention post-COVID-19.
(3) To study the moderating impact of travel experience and risk aversiveness in the relationship between the cognitive and affective factors and travel behavioural intentions.
(4) Results of this present study will help tourism marketers or providers to build effective communication and guidelines to encourage mindful travel, release concerns of perceived risk, address ‘travel fear and anxiety’ leading to coping strategies, cautious travel and/or resilience; eventually encouraging travel after the pandemic outbreak.
Method of Research
The paper uses relevant published researches before and during COVID-19. The propositions have been developed based on analysis of extant literature, secondary sources of information including books, published reports & articles. Some of the keywords used for the search of information are consumer attitude, cognitive, affective, conative factors, travel, tourism, sustainable tourism. The screened papers were considered by the research objective and scope of research. Empirical findings of each paper were classified by taking into account the data and then taking notes inductively. Through an analysis of relevant published researches during COVID-19, the present study has analysed the major components in the consumer’s attitude and their association with behavioural intentions or travel behaviour in the near future, as follows Figure 1.
The following section examines the factors and moderators in detail. Propositions have also been formulated in the discussion section.
Cognitive appraisal (which can be positive or negative) determines tourism behaviour of travelers’ (Ajzen & Kruglanski, 2019). Consumers’ positive attitude towards consumption behaviours is dependent on product image and anticipated cognitive/emotional benefits (Oliver, 2010). Factors like mindfulness were found to significantly affect travellers confidence, satisfaction, attitudinal and behavioural loyalty towards a destination. Moreover, assert that perceived risks has significant role in influencing avoidance of domestic travel due to Ebola virus. Perceived threat of covid-19 was also found to affect post crisis behaviour of tourists. These factors are discussed next.
Frauman and Norman (2004) define mindfulness as “active processing of relevant and important information with focused attention on the information to generate new ideas about the situation”. Moscardo (2009) state that a mindful mind is capable of generating more than one perspective on a given situation. Kabat-Zinn (1994) also assert that mindfulness is about “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment non-judgementally”.
People notice thoughts and feelings as mental events without becoming overly attached to them or reacting to them in an automatic, repetitive way (Bishop et al., 2004). It is high time to reimagine sustainability agenda for tourism with different ways of assimilating mindfulness concept in different forms of tourist experiences as mindfulness is coming as resurgence concept in tourism research.
Mindful tourists are “those who pay attention to the present moment (not the past or the future), attending to the actual somatic sensations lived at the destination in an open, non-reactive and non-judgement way rather than accepting their present emotions and thoughts”.
Being aware of the social contacts inspires mindful consumers to deliver honest response on tourist services received.
Moscardo (2009) compared the learning potential of tourists and found that tourists with increased mindfulness learn more passionately, be more happy and act in a more positive manner as compared to people with a low mindfulness level. Also, customers’ mindfulness act as a game changer for destination marketing organizers to retain their destination more sustainably, to generate interest for more tourists and regulate the number of tourists which can be occupied within a given place (Moscardo, 2009). Mindful tourists are expected to be self- aware of delusive tourism marketing as they feel more happy.
However, any pandemic is an opportunity to improve the quality of future tourist experiences by making them extra remarkable. We can say that less frequent travel provides more space to make it more valuable and less trivial also reports that travel involving basic experiences like domestic travel including stay-cation will be more in demand as it provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family.
Even destination marketing agencies in Peru and Cyprus have created initiatives to encourage tourists about essential physical sensations such as natural sounds of water and nature, food preparation, and other tangible experiences that were frequently overlooked by solitary tourists during lockdowns. Mindful travel is expected to stimulate sensory insights, bringing sensory delights of focused attention to the new exterior and internal regions.
Based on the above discussion, it can be inferred that mindful tourists will prefer more meaningful and deliberate ways to travel, will travel with greater awareness, care, sense of responsibility. It is therefore proposed that:
Proposition 1: Mindfulness leads to attraction behaviour amongst tourists in the form of resilience practices & cautious travel.
Perceived risks: Extant researchers done in the past proclaim that risk perception plays an important part in tourism decision making process state that if destinations wish to attract more tourists, they must provide a safe and secure environment where tourists feel safe from dangers.
Perceived risks are expected to affect consumer behaviour which, in turn, impacts the purchase choices define perceived risk as “the probability for negative results to play out”.
Generally, perceived risk can be characterized as “[...] the individual’s perceptions of the uncertainty and negative consequences of buying a product (or service)”. Ill-adapted behaviours, emotional distress and avoidance reactions among common people are common outcomes of perceived risks of infection. Past researches Liu et al., 2016) assert that for the tourism sector, perceived risk is associated with tourists’ perceived uncertainty and potential adverse outcomes which result from the consumption of travel and tourism offerings. Perceived uncertainty and hostile outcomes can be categorised into 8 different typologies, viz. “health, psychological, physical, equipment, financial, satisfaction, time, and social risk”, respectively.
In case of tourism, perceived risk is a kind of subjective judgment by tourists which often results in adverse impact for tourism (Moutinho, 1987; Cater, 2006). Tourism risk perception emanated from the asymmetry objectively present in tourism safety information and subjective perception of tourists (Cui et al., 2016); Li et al. (2011) report that tourists’ perceived risk perception is bound to increase in a short time after the impact of sudden crisis.
Health, psychological and social risks are the three different risk typologies which are most relevant to the tourists’ likelihood of traveling in the near future following pandemic. state that the in case of travel and tourism activities, “health risk” is associated with the probable threat to tourists’ health and well-being also assert that perceived health risk is of utmost importance to tourists’ decision making process. Tourists’ conative behaviour is impacted by perceived susceptibility to and severity of health risk which repeatedly acts as a heuristic cue in tourism decision making process.
Psychological and social risks are also aggravated by the distinctive nature of corona virus. Psychological risk has the probability that “the travel and tourism experience will not replicate constructively on the tourist, with respect to their self-image or personality”.
Social risk is related to “how the reference groups such as friends and family would react to tourists’ choice to undertake travel and tourism” . Psychological risks assuming this aspect includes “fear, unnecessary tension, worry and discomfort” which are associated with traveling among tourists as its constituents. Psychological risk in tourism covers “risk of anxiety/stress/discomfort/fear that culminates from travelling”. Based on the above discussion, it is, therefore proposed that:
Proposition 2: Perceived risks lead to avoidance behaviour amongst tourists in the form of cancellation, deferment.
Perceived Knowledge (Travel related & COVID-19 related)
Tourists’ product, branding and destination selection decisions plays an important role in Tourists’ perceived knowledge in case of international tourism industry. Past researches consider travellers’ perceived knowledge as a crucial cognitive factor to find out the attitudinal and societal variables in travellers’ choice foundations and behaviours. Tourists’ knowledge covers aspects such as knowledge tourism destinations, products or other objects assert that perceived knowledge in tourism sector includes “one’s capability to identify and appreciate a diverse tourism related topics, difficulties and behaviours”. found that travellers always want to avoid a situation when they don’t have knowledge about directing their particular actions.
In case travellers’ knowledge is not enough they won’t practice their action just to reduce the probable uncertainty. People always compare their own perceived knowledge about an object/product/incident/subject with others and think it’s high when they are aware more as compared to others.
COVID-19 related knowledge-Awareness and understanding about the ways of spread of Covid-19, level of confidence in diagnosis, level of satisfaction of health information about the virus, the drift of new cases and death, probable cure of the coronavirus are the variables included under the Covid-19 knowledge. Perceived knowledge of covid-19 include international travellers’ cognitive assessment of their ability to identify and recognize covid-19, its destructive effect on humans, its hazardous influence on the tourism industry and added associated issues for example compulsory home isolation, national border closures, strict quarantine measures and unemployment and education. The protocols given by Govt. is likely to be adopted by travellers’ having a strong knowledge of covid-19 related issues. Only those travellers’ will prefer a safer destination choice behaviour which then leads to augmented intention to engage in behaviour in conjunction with perceived behavioural control. It is, therefore, proposed that:
Proposition 3: Perceived knowledge (travel-related & COVID-19 related) leads to attraction behaviour amongst tourists in the form of resilience & cautious travels.
The affective state of any traveller is always related to the desire to travel; still little attention has been paid by researchers on people’s moods and sentiments. People’s behaviour regarding choice of any destination is also affected by emotions apart from cognitive factors. The situation of any pandemic creates two different negative emotions i.e. anxiety and fear which affects people’s intention to travel. Irrespective of age, race and culture, fear is an important emotion experienced by any individual whereas anxiety is the nasty feeling and biological reaction when a person is frightened. Novel coronavirus ha more than 10 million people worldwide, hence it’s common to feel panic, scared and anxious.
Travel fear: Fear is a fundamental emotion. Basically fear is an “emotion triggered by danger, pain, or harm”. Since the eruption of covid-19, individuals have grown fearful of COVID-19. A pandemic of this magnitude or a viral outbreak such as the COVID-19, has the capacity to cause people to fear. There is constant state of fear as there are higher chances of getting infected with no safety assurance results in mental trauma and anxiety of people. It also impacts the mental health of the people as well as their psychological well-being observe that it is the panic of infection which usually exists over a long period which then results into frightful consumption and communication behaviours during and post the outburst of pandemic. Fear of pandemic also affects people’s attitude towards tourism and travel behaviour. The social media platforms add to this fear factor through watching other peoples’ responses and exposures towards pandemic on the online platforms. It is necessary to understand society’s “travel fear” to help recover the tourism industry post covid-19.
Anxiety-Anxiety is “a mental state of tension and worry about the future”. Anxiety is a “fear of negative consequences”. Risky purchasing involves unknown consequences which often creates anxiety assert that when any act involves high anxiety, it generally acts as an indication to circumvent taking risks. The outburst of novel corona virus scares as well as makes people anxious. During pandemic time, risk and uncertainty are utmost high, therefore, various factors such as “traits of the products or destination, potential adverse consequences, need of the situation and values” are evaluated before deciding to travel.
Traveling during pandemic is a risky affair with tourists having no accessible safeguards and health care during the pandemic, their anxiety related to infection creates a sense of feebleness and increased concern towards traveling. Different people evaluate products differently. Like, some people consider a destination as hazardous and unsafe while others regard the same as enjoyable and thrilling. Therefore, we propose the following proposition-
Proposition 4: Individuals’ pandemic-related ‘Travel fear’ and ‘Travel anxiety’ significantly decreases their travel intentions; leading to avoidance behavior
Conative Attitude towards Travel or Travel Behaviour
Now the question comes: What will be the recent trends in travel when normal travel restarts post covid-19? What will be the potential new travel behaviours? After any pandemic, some new anxieties and concerns always arise. Hence, it becomes vital to forecast the pattern of changed tourist behaviour so that those involved in tourism sector could explore the base of resilience strategy to perfectly react to the given situation post pandemic.
Travel intention can be defined as “one’s desire or intention to travel”. Cognitive and affective factors are important in determining travel intentions. People generally make a negative perception for a destination which is viewed as “risky”. Information on the number of people infected, number of person died etc. make people more fearful and decreases their perceived safety level and hence, their travel intention decreases.
Past researchers Kim et al., 2007) on post pandemic behaviours concentrated on impact on industry or on tourism demand no single study has earlier been done on finding the attitudinal factors associated with these changed behaviours.
Resilience: How rapidly a particular destination adapts to disturbances and how quickly it restores its stability defines the resilience of a destination. Past researches Fountain and have explored responses of tourist operators to disasters and crises, limited research has been done on tourists’ resilience in managing risks and adversities in travel and tourism state that individuals’ resilience rises as they cope with fear, which helps to mitigate perceived losses and improves catastrophe adaptability. It is more difficult to calculate and predict risk when it is seen as a nascent emotional response to a threat. Past researchers (Cater, 2006; observe that fear significantly impacts tourists’ selections in destinations and allied areas (e.g. dark tourism, adventure tourism) (Cater, 2006).
Extant researchers found that as a dynamic protective process, resilience gets impacted by different coping strategies which can be either adaptive coping or maladaptive coping. As people’s adaptive behaviours (e.g. planning, protection) against the threat (Hua et al., 2018; Rutter, 1987) gets significantly increased by resilience, it is often debated that people with high level of psychological resilience may perform cautious travel and hence display attraction behaviour rather than avoidance behaviour towards travel post covid-19.
Cautious travel: Spending money for travel insurance is not always a priority for people. People are hesitant to purchase travel insurance for a variety of reasons including ignorance or wish for saving money. As the number of epidemics has increased five times during the last decades because of infectious diseases and epidemics not remaining locally confined, people are concerned about finding themselves in a crucial condition due to unpredicted health issue or fear of catching infection on their next trip and paying high prices for treatment outside their home country. Moreover, there is also concern for people who bought travel (hotel reservations, ticket purchases) before pandemic and who, without trip cancellation and interruption insurance, find themselves losing a substantial amount of money.
Avoidance behaviours: When travellers’ fear is triggered by a health crisis, travel avoidance is a direct preventive action to lessen the danger of likely hazards. Expected outcomes can be deferred travel or postponement of travel plans to a later date or cancellation of plans.
Travel behaviour (particularly for transit use) gets affected by the fear of infection and perceived risks and the influence differs depending upon the infected area and the demographics of people (Kim et al., 2007). Self-protective behaviour like cancelling or delaying international trips to avoid infection during pandemic depends on key variables such as prior travel experience and risk averseness attitude of travelers. These two moderators - travel experience and risk aversiveness are discussed in this section.
Travel experience: Perceived risks to the same travel form differ conforming to the different personal characteristics of people. Older people are less aware of potential dangers such as health hazards, terrorism or natural disasters. Extant researches conducted a study on travel risk perception & travel experience & concluded that the most experienced tourists perceive less risk as compared to the tourists perceiving high risks. Also, women were found to have high perceived risk of health and food and foreign tourists with more travel experience have less perceived risks.
Travelers generally avoid visiting destinations in the future that are considered risky However, state positive relation between travel experience and preference for destinations with higher risks. Therefore, it is proposed that:
Proposition 5: A mindful mind leads to attraction behaviour for people who have more travel experience as compared to people with less travel experience.
Proposition 6: Perceived risk leads to avoidance behaviour for people with less travel experience as compared to people with high travel experience.
Proposition 7: Perceived knowledge (travel-related & COVID-19) leads to attraction behaviour for people with more travel experience as compared to people with less travel experience.
Proposition 8: Travel fear & anxiety leads to avoidance travel behaviour more for people with less travel experience as compared to people with high travel experience.
Risk aversiveness: Define risk aversiveness as “consumers’ consistent choice tendency to face different risk levels” or “consumers’ willingness to accept risks” and is an integral trait for risk selection trait.
However, expected benefits and perceived risks influence consumers’ attitude though perceived risks has a negative correlation with people’s attitude towards risks. A minor increase in perceived risk can cause risk-averse persons to shift their buying behaviour. However, for risk takers, a sufficiently high perceived risk may have little bearing on their purchasing decisions.
In a study by it was found that the regular practice of meditation by soldiers during a highly stressful period before deployment, was correlated with lower scores on negative emotions & less deterioration of working memory asserts that the practice of meditation will immediately after meditation result in a state that will make the meditator more risk-averse.
Zhu & Deng (2020) in a study on rural tourism among Chinese tourists, concluded that risk aversion adversely impacts travel intention in rural tourism and recommendation intention in rural tourism.
Human’s mind usual tendency is to get diverted easily. Negative thinking gets easily absorbed in people’s minds. Building mental resilience through mindfulness is the easiest way to overcome the mind’s natural tendency. During pandemic time, mental resilience means managing our minds in a way so that our ability to face first arrow that covid-19 and travel restrictions strikes gets increased and to break the second arrow i.e. the anxiety and worries about financial implications and other dark scenarios flooding us.Mental resilience in challenging times like this pandemic means managing our mind in a way that increases our ability to face the first arrow that COVID-19 & travel restrictions strikes us & to break the second arrow i.e. the anxiety & worries about financial implications & other dark scenarios flooding us. The second arrow i.e. the emotional & psychological response to a crisis is human & natural too. People with a calm mind are more resilient & utilize coping mechanisms & thus, attraction behavior towards sustainable travel behavior. Therefore, it is proposed that:
Proposition 9: A mindful mind leads to attraction travel behavior for risk takers as compared to risk-averse people.
Proposition 10: Perceived risks lead to avoidance behavior more for risk-averse people as compared to risk-takers.
Proposition 11: Perceived knowledge (travel-related & COVID-19 related) leads to attraction travel behaviour more for risk takers as compared to risk-averse people.
Proposition 12: Travel fear & anxiety leads to avoidance travel behavior more for risk-averse people as compared to risk-takers.
Limitations & Directions for Future Research
On one hand, this pandemic has resulted in mass anxiety and fear amongst common people and high-risk perception and information overload through social media on the other hand. This has a detrimental impact on the tourism industry and could hinder tourism recovery even after the pandemic gets over. There is a pressing requirement to adapt and reinvent travel and tourism businesses and destinations for this new normal to renovate the tourism sector up to an extent. Due to Covid-19, people have shift their inclination and behaviours towards familiar, predictable, safe tourist destinations with low risk and low fear. Improving post-disaster economic recovery and visitor numbers can be effective only with government policies media engagement and introducing new tourism products. Creating awareness amongst risk-averse travellers for their preferred destinations viz. lesser-known places, small towns /rural areas closer home – may induce interest.
With the “fear of exposing other family members” being paramount, travel is likely to be restarted with the less risk-averse younger generation; who could be targeted by tourism operators. Amid the uncertainty, pre-trip planning and trust on online forums for prompt and crystal clear access to information and experiences of other travellers will play a significant role, thus providing mindful mind and stress-free travel. Recommendations from family and friends will have an edge over traditional promotions. Authorities are going to play a role at the forefront for providing timely and accurate information to travellers ahead of and during the travel. Also, in today’s hyper-connected world, since all kinds of information exchange happens through online mode, communicating with the millennial would be ideal through popular social media. Travel blogs, travel-related social media forums such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. may be ideal platforms and may provide the visual trigger.
It is imperative for businesses to re-evaluate their operating models as regulations are changing, customer attitude and perceptions are shifting due to covid-19 repercussions. The tourism industry will need to universally step up its safe-travel protocols, ensure hygiene best practices and appropriate health measures, usage of cashless and contactless innovative solutions e.g. digital identity proofs. Augmented and virtual reality techniques need to be used to stimulate traveling drive in tourists to optimize sector recovery. Correct and timely information which is easily accessible provided to travellers with online forums to answer queries will assist tourists in their decision making and will also dissipate the fear. Dynamic pricing, last-minute cancellations, a robust refund policy may be necessary measures to address cognitive dissonance amongst travellers. Any type of promotions and messages by the businesses should have growing access to information through innovative formats. There should be clarity around cancellation policies too. To regain traveller trust and dispel anxiety around refunds, businesses should focus more on transparency and authenticity. Not only innovating with best practices but also being eloquent and descriptive in their communication.
Effective communication will be the game-changer. To re-establish trust among travellers, businesses should ensure that everything possible is being done to ensure high quality of service and safety, communication, marketing and positioning will be critical. Reassurance would be the most critical factor in modifying consumer attitudes towards attraction behaviour.
Originality of the Study
The present paper is unique as it has incorporated the influence of attitude-led behaviour impacting the tourism industry in the post-pandemic era. One of the aims of this study was to forecast how people will react to changes in the tourism industry after the COVID-19 health crisis. Strategies and actions are guided by understanding fluctuating tourist behaviour so that suitable response measures for the recovery and sustainability of the tourism industry can be provided. The study has made several significant contributions to research. Given this rhetoric on the striking relationship between evolving consumer attitude towards sustainable practices, and travel behaviour, the conceptualization of the synergies and contradictions between consumer attitude and sustainable travel behaviour, is warranted. It examines the antecedents of tourist attitude by integrating theories from cognitive factors (i.e. mindfulness, risk perception), affective factors (i.e. travel fear and anxiety), and their relationships with attraction travel behaviours (coping strategies, resilience, cautious travel) and avoidance travel behaviours (deferment or cancellation). The expected insights of this present paper could help marketers and businesses in decoding the consumer psyche, evaluating the cognitive and emotional appraisal towards travel due to pandemic-evoked conditions, hence proposing a reformed tactic or strategy to travel & tourism marketers for the post-COVID-19 era.
Implications for Marketers
The sustainability of companies is ultimately dependent on customers’ sustainability. By carefully monitoring consumers’ cognitive & affective factors, tourism companies can develop their marketing strategies to address the diverse coping, resilience & protection strategies of customers. Understanding tourists’ ‘travel fear’ can help tourism authorities and providers to improve the post-pandemic tourism recovery process. The relationships between mindfulness, perceived risk, travel fear, anxiety, coping and resilience suggest that practitioners can develop ways to increase the consumers’ coping capacities in post COVID-19 travel resulting in an increase in optimism.
Factual and/or emotion-oriented communication interventions provide more information on cautious travel, risk prevention measure, developing emotional appeals, using testimonials and influencer marketing to gain public acceptance of travel and tourism especially on social media.
No study is free from limitations. Other internal factors such as consumer motivation, cognitive dissonance, moral stance (moral obligation of taking care of others), consumer confusion, which have not been included in the present study, may also impact the tourism behaviour intention. Likewise, external factors such as economic environment, security, the socio-cultural environment may also be studied. Future researches may be conducted by considering these factors. The present conceptual model can also be tested empirically in the future. Future research may also focus on adding new insights by evaluating the connection between ‘travel fear and anxiety’ and people’s expectant travel time and travel choices after the pandemic.
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Received: 05-Jan-2022, Manuscript No. AMSJ-22-11002; Editor assigned: 07-Jan-2022, PreQC No. AMSJ-22-11002(PQ); Reviewed: 22-Jan-2022, QC No. AMSJ-22-11002; Revised: 25-Jan-2022, Manuscript No. AMSJ-22-11002(R); Published: 31-Jan-2022