Author: Rezaei, Nafiseh
Title: No risk, no gain? Socio-psychology of tourists experience in risky destinations
Advisors: Huang, Sabrina (SHTM)
Hung, Kam (SHTM)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2022
Subject: Risk perception
Travel -- Psychological aspects
Tourism -- Psychological aspects
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: 405 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Safety, security, and risk are different terms in tourism (Hall, Duval, & Timothy, 2004). Risk has been considered a highly subjective concept. It varies across time and space (Yang, Sharif, & Khoo-Lattimore, 2015). Risk perception is broadly studied in the tourism context because measuring the exact scale and range of actual risk is practically impossible. And many factors influence perceived risk (Lepp & Gibson, 2003; Reisinger & Mavondo, 2006; Sönmez & Graefe, 1998). Researchers believe that risk-taking provides tourists with many psychological benefits, such as self-challenge, self-development, and a sense of achievement (Myers, 2010). Besides, scholars suppose that there is ample opportunity to learn whilst travelling, including both planned and unplanned opportunities (Van Winkle & Lagay, 2012). So, visiting risky destinations cannot be exceptional.
The Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotion (CVTAE; Pekrun, 2006) is a comprehensive model to investigate achievement emotions introduced in educational psychology. It provides a big picture of individual learning processes from the antecedents, appraisals, emotions, and outcomes. This theory emphasises that if any variables influence control-value appraisals, they also eventually can affect resulting emotions. So, CVTAE perceives antecedents as a more distal individual and social antecedent for achievement emotions (Pekrun, Frenzel, Goetz, & Perry, 2007). In this study, destination perceived risk (DPR), prior experience with risk (RER), and perceived local people/tour leader support (PLTS) are considered antecedents. These antecedents are mainly related to the specific settings in visiting risky destinations.
Regardless of the type of travel, memorable experiences are sought by tourists through taking their holiday (Hosany, 2012). So, it is one of the significant outcomes for tourists after visiting a destination. As mentioned, travelling provides numerous learning opportunities for tourists; their memorable experience can be perceived as their learning outcome, especially after visiting a risky destination.
This study aims to understand tourists' achievement emotion in visiting risky destinations and its relationships with its antecedents and outcome in tourists' experiences. This study has developed the following objectives to achieve this aim: to assess the tourists' achievement emotions in visiting risky destinations; to investigate the tourists' destination perceived risk (DPR), prior experience with risk (PER), and perceived local people/tour leader support (PLTS) as three distal antecedents of tourists' achievement emotions in visiting risky destinations; to test the influence of the DPR, PER, and PLTS on tourists' control-value appraisals of visiting risky destinations; to examine the influence of tourists' control-value appraisals on achievement emotions of travelling to risky destinations, and to analyse the influence of tourists' achievement emotions of visiting risky destinations on their MTE as the outcome of their trip.
This study has several significances. The majority of studies on risky destinations, as a type of risk-taking, only focus on future travel intentions to specific destinations, revisit intentions or potential tourists' attitudes about travelling to particular destinations (e.g., Aschauer, 2010; Chew & Jahari, 2014; Desivilya, Teitler-Regev, & Shahrabani, 2015; Lepp & Gibson, 2011). There is no study on analysing the tourists' emotions in visiting risky destinations and antecedents and outcomes of these emotions. Moreover, this study attempts to measure achievement emotions experienced during and after visiting a risky destination. Achievement emotion is introduced in the education field, and researchers believe that it is the main emotion that people experience in achievement setting and learning. It consists of seven emotions: anxiety, anger, enjoyment, boredom, pride, hopelessness, and shame (Pekrun, 2006). Investigating achievement emotion and its antecedents and outcome through this theory, for the first time in the tourism context, can provide comprehensive information about tourists' emotional experiences in a destination, especially within risk context. Such information also helps fill the gaps in the socio-psychology of tourist experiences.
This study develops six hypotheses and twenty-seven sub-hypotheses to achieve research objectives and test the proposed model. In order to verify the hypotheses and proposed model, the research philosophy and paradigm are post-positivism, and the approach is PLS-SEM.
The Middle East is regarded as a risky destination. Current media coverage presents the Middle East as the riskiest destination in the world (Jones, 2019). Therefore, the scope of this research consists of ten countries in the Middle East that are considered risky destinations. These ten countries are Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The risk profiles of these destinations are more related to their geographical position in relation to conflict, strained international relationships, especially with the USA, and mass media exposure.
The statistical population of this research is all international tourists who have travelled to at least one of the ten Middle Eastern countries before. In the sampling method, a worldwide perspective has been applied. So, the destination is the Middle East Region, and the markets are one or two countries in each continent. Therefore, there are ten countries as destinations and seven countries as target markets. The questionnaire has been scripted through the Qualtrics platform. Dynata, the online survey company, has been asked to help in distributing the survey. Before conducting the main survey, a pilot-test has been completed by 83 participants from Australia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. After analysing the pilot-test results, a minor modification has been made to the questionnaire. The final version has been translated into five other languages through the back-translation method. After conducting the main survey, 871 accepted samples have been collected, achieving the rule of thumb. The proposed model has been tested using SmartPLS 3.0 software.
The findings of the present study offer strong support for the proposed structural model. Five out of six hypotheses and twenty out of twenty-seven sub-hypotheses were supported. This study found that DPR, before travelling to a risky destination, negatively influences their self-efficacy and task value during their trip. But their PLTS has a positive effect on their self-efficacy and task value. Their self-efficacy and task value during their trip have negative influences on their negative achievement emotions include anxiety, anger, boredom, hopelessness, and shame -for task value only- and positive effects on tourists' pride and enjoyment during and after travelling there. Three achievement emotions out of seven have influences on tourists' memorable experiences in risky destinations. Pride and enjoyment as positive emotions have positive influences on MTE, and anger has a negative one. The predictive power and predictive relevance of the endogenous variables such as SE (R2 = 0.473, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.288), TV (R2 = 0.414, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.290), enjoyment (R2 = 0.450, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.308), pride (R2 = 0.480, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.345), and MTE (R2 = 0.691, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.386) demonstrated the substantial capability of the model on prediction and its relevance.
This study has significant theoretical and practical contributions and implications. Although the concept of "sense of achievement" is important in the tourist experience, no study has examined "achievement" through emotion-perspective and investigated the antecedents and outcome of that for tourists. This study has applied and extended the Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotions from the education field to the tourism context to have this comprehensive picture. It has been done by introducing new antecedents and outcomes for tourists' achievement emotions based on tourists' learning experiences in the tourism context, especially risk tourism. Besides, there are very few empirical studies on Middle Eastern countries, especially tourists' experiences there. This study could provide a comprehensive picture of tourists' achievement emotions mechanisms, including before, during, and after travelling to the ME region as a risky destination. Tourists' perceptions about local people and tour leader support demonstrated an essential role in tourists' belief about their capabilities to travel to a risky destination and the importance of this trip for them. However, they experienced all seven achievement emotions whilst travelling or afterwards, but mostly their positive emotions, e.g., pride and enjoyment, could influence the memorability of their trip.
It suggests DMOs and marketers in ME countries consider the results of this study as a blueprint in their tourism development plan because it is based on real tourists' experiences in this region. They need to focus on their specific perceived risk -such as terrorism- in their marketing and advertising to clarify their reality. The crucial role of local people in tourists' experiences, either during or after their trip, demonstrates the worth of allocating time and money to educate them. Tourists perceive visiting a ME country as an important, interesting, and useful trip. Therefore, DMOs are required to enrich their experiences by investing more in top attractions, organising different events, building more special hotels that can present the culture and traditions of this country, etc. Concentrating on tourists' negative emotions whilst visiting a ME destination and antecedents of these emotions is highly recommended to DMOs. This study gave them comprehensive insights on some reasons for these negative emotions: high perceived risk before the trip, low perceived local people/tour leader support, low self-belief about their capacities to travel there, and low perceived importance/usefulness of trip. They should not ignore these negative emotions by referring to their insignificant influence on memorable tourist's experiences of travelling there. As tourists still remember their negative emotions, they might be harmful to ME destinations' tourism development.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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