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The impact of anxiety levels on destination visit intention in the context of COVID-19: the mediating role of travel intention

Ümit Şengel (Faculty of Tourism, Sakarya University of Applied Sciences, Sakarya, Turkey)
Gökhan Genç (Independent Researcher, Sakarya, Turkey)
Merve Işkın (Vocational School of Social Sciences, Ordu University, Ordu, Turkey)
Mustafa Çevrimkaya (Faculty of Tourism, Sakarya University of Applied Sciences, Sakarya, Turkey)
Burhanettin Zengin (Faculty of Tourism, Sakarya University of Applied Sciences, Sakarya, Turkey)
Mehmet Sarıışık (Faculty of Tourism, Sakarya University of Applied Sciences, Sakarya, Turkey)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

ISSN: 2514-9792

Article publication date: 24 February 2022

499

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the effect of tourists' anxiety levels regarding pandemic on their intention to travel and intention to destination visit as a reflection of risk perception.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employed a quantitative research design. Multivariate statistical methods were used because they predict cause and effect relationships. The data collection process was completed in 32 days between March 20 and April 20, 2020. Smart-PLS software was used for data analysis.

Findings

According to the study results, the level of concern tourists have about the COVID-19 outbreak directly affected their intention to travel and indirectly affected their intention to visit destinations.

Research limitations/implications

According to the results of the study, people's anxiety levels about COVID-19 will negatively affect their travel behavior after the pandemic. Such results suggest that when potential travelers' pandemic-induced anxiety levels increase, their travel intention after the pandemic will decrease. In addition, there is a positive relationship between people's intention to travel and post-COVID-19 touristic visit intentions. Therefore, as people's travel intentions increase, so do their destination visit intentions. Another important theoretical implication of this research is that people's pandemic-induced anxiety levels have been shown to negatively affect their destination visit intention through the mediating variable of travel intention.

Practical implications

A multidimensional and stakeholder engagement process needs to be followed to decrease the influences of the pandemic on destinations. Destination management organizations (DMOs) can take an active role in crisis periods to encourage stakeholder participation while attracting tourism demand in the post-COVID-19 era.

Originality/value

This study is important for its topical relevance and for providing specific theoretical and practical implications concerning tourists' travel behavior.

Keywords

Citation

Şengel, Ü., Genç, G., Işkın, M., Çevrimkaya, M., Zengin, B. and Sarıışık, M. (2022), "The impact of anxiety levels on destination visit intention in the context of COVID-19: the mediating role of travel intention", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTI-10-2021-0295

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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