Tourists and Air Pollution: How and Why Air Pollution Magnifies Tourists’ Suspicion of Service Providers

Ke Zhang, Yuansi Hou*, Gang Li, Yunhui Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Air pollution is becoming a serious socio-environmental problem in many modern societies and poses significant economic threats to popular tourism destinations. Despite the documented consequences of air pollution on tourism demand, studies have seldom examined its impact on individuals’ psychological states, especially in the tourism context. Through a correlational study and two experiments, our findings indicate that tourists are more likely to be suspicious of local service providers when travelers perceive a destination as having heavy air pollution (vs. one without such pollution). This relationship presumably exists because tourists experience greater pessimism in an environment with high air pollution, which in turn influences their evaluations of service providers. Following this logic, we show that the effect diminishes when tourists are cognizant of (and thus rely less on) their pessimistic feelings when evaluating service providers. Finally, we offer theoretical and practical implications of this effect in tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661–673
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Volume59
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • air pollution
  • felt pessimism
  • social suspicion
  • tourist–service provider interaction

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