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Consumer perception of healthfulness and appraisal of health‐promoting tourist destinations

Lizone Chang (Lizone Chang is a Lecturer in the Department of Tourism Management, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science, Tainan City, Taiwan. Rian Beise‐Zee is an Associate Professor in the College of International Business, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan.)
Rian Beise‐Zee (Lizone Chang is a Lecturer in the Department of Tourism Management, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science, Tainan City, Taiwan. Rian Beise‐Zee is an Associate Professor in the College of International Business, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan.)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 5 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The article seeks to study consumer evaluation of the health benefits of a health‐promoting destination. Health‐promoting destinations often attempt to scientifically prove health benefits. It is suggested that health destinations should instead attempt to reflect consumers' preconceived health beliefs, rather than reform them. The aim is to test the applicability of the expectation‐disconfirmation theory to health promoting destinations and to offer recommendations for place marketing of destinations which are positioned as proving health benefits.

Design/methodology/approach

Cognitive dissonance is a central theoretical concept in the model of consumer evaluation of the health benefits of a health‐promoting destination. The authors suggest that low cognitive dissonance between subjective health beliefs and the characteristics of a destination results in positive customer evaluations of the destination. This hypothesis was tested through regression analysis of data collected via a survey of 240 visitors at seven hot spring resorts in Taiwan.

Findings

The study suggests that the subjective beliefs of tourists regarding what is healthful are important criteria for tourists to evaluate the health benefits of a destination.

Research limitations/implications

The expectation‐disconfirmation theory is successfully applied to the tourism sector and health care.

Practical implications

Based on the results, consumer research about what is believed to be beneficial to health is important when designing and promoting a health place.

Originality/value

Destinations have been mostly studied as wellness destinations. However, many destinations promote scientific health benefits. The effect of consumer health perceptions on the attractiveness of health‐promoting destinations has received little attention. While common in tourism, the results are a novel approach to health care destinations.

Keywords

Citation

Chang, L. and Beise‐Zee, R. (2013), "Consumer perception of healthfulness and appraisal of health‐promoting tourist destinations", Tourism Review, Vol. 68 No. 1, pp. 34-47. https://doi.org/10.1108/16605371311310066

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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