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Domestic tourism and the effects of behavioral changes, government-media trust and moderation of “maintenance of country image”: theoretical analysis

Ammar Yasir (School of Management, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China)
Xiaojian Hu (School of Management, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China)
Murat Aktan (Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Mugla Sitki Kocman Universitesi, Mugla, Turkey)
Pablo Farías (Departamento de Administración, Facultad de Economía y Negocios, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Abdul Rauf (School of Management Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 11 January 2024




Contemporary changes have occurred in country-level policies and tourists’ intentions in recent years. The role of maintaining a country’s image is trendy in crisis control but has not yet been discussed in domestic tourism research. Extending the Stimulus Organism Response model, this study aims to focus on “trustable WOM creation” in China. In addition, it aimed to discover how behavioral changes encourage domestic tourism intention (DTI).


This study explored the mediating role of DTI and the moderating role of maintenance of country image (MCI) for trustable word of mouth (WOM) creation. Using the snowball sampling technique, a structural equation modeling analysis (Smart PLS-4) was employed to analyze the data of 487 Chinese tourists.


Findings confirm that behavioral changes positively encourage domestic tourism and discourage international tourism, with significant negative moderation by MCI. MCI has an insignificant positive moderating effect between government-media trust and DTI. Furthermore, DTI positively and directly affects the creation of trustable WOM. In addition, it had a 20% mediation effect (VAF%) between behavioral changes and WOM creation, higher than the rejected mediation effect (12%), in the causal relationship between government-media trust and WOM creation.

Practical implications

WOM creation varies from different behavioral changes, but findings suggest that government-media trust and DTI influenced it significantly. Based on the study findings, the government and media can enhance domestic tourism by maintaining the country’s image. These findings both encourage and control the recovery of tourism.


This study provides a theoretical explanation for tourists' behavioral changes during the pandemic. Moreover, it shows that despite avoiding international tourism due to behavioral changes and government-media trust, MCI moderation with the mediation effect of DTI can create trustable WOM. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to theoretically promote tourism through DTI-induced psychology as a mediator and an organism affect prevailing among Chinese tourists.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 72171067).


Yasir, A., Hu, X., Aktan, M., Farías, P. and Rauf, A. (2024), "Domestic tourism and the effects of behavioral changes, government-media trust and moderation of “maintenance of country image”: theoretical analysis", Kybernetes, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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