What is it about?

Consumer behavior is changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus compelling attraction sites to find new ways of offering safe tours to visitors. Based on protection motivation theory, we develop and test a model that examines key drivers of visitors' COVID-19-induced social distancing behavior and its effect on their intent to use virtual reality-based (vs. in-person) attraction site tours during and post-COVID-19. Our analyses demonstrate that visitor-perceived threat severity, response efficacy, and self-efficacy raise social distancing behavior. In turn, social distancing increases (decreases) visitors' intent to use virtual reality (in-person) tours during the pandemic. We find social distancing to boost visitors' demand for advanced virtual tours and to raise their advocacy intentions. Our results also reveal that social distancing has no effect on potential visitors' intent to use virtual reality vs. in-person tours post-the pandemic. We conclude by discussing vital implications that stem from our analyses.

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Why is it important?

Consumer behavior is changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus compelling attraction sites to find new ways of offering safe tours to visitors. Based on protection motivation theory, we develop and test a model that examines key drivers of visitors' COVID-19-induced social distancing behavior and its effect on their intent to use virtual reality-based (vs. in-person) attraction site tours during and post-COVID-19. Our analyses demonstrate that visitor-perceived threat severity, response efficacy, and self-efficacy raise social distancing behavior. In turn, social distancing increases (decreases) visitors' intent to use virtual reality (in-person) tours during the pandemic. We find social distancing to boost visitors' demand for advanced virtual tours and to raise their advocacy intentions. Our results also reveal that social distancing has no effect on potential visitors' intent to use virtual reality vs. in-person tours post-the pandemic. We conclude by discussing vital implications that stem from our analyses.

Perspectives

Consumer behavior is changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus compelling attraction sites to find new ways of offering safe tours to visitors. Based on protection motivation theory, we develop and test a model that examines key drivers of visitors' COVID-19-induced social distancing behavior and its effect on their intent to use virtual reality-based (vs. in-person) attraction site tours during and post-COVID-19. Our analyses demonstrate that visitor-perceived threat severity, response efficacy, and self-efficacy raise social distancing behavior. In turn, social distancing increases (decreases) visitors' intent to use virtual reality (in-person) tours during the pandemic. We find social distancing to boost visitors' demand for advanced virtual tours and to raise their advocacy intentions. Our results also reveal that social distancing has no effect on potential visitors' intent to use virtual reality vs. in-person tours post-the pandemic. We conclude by discussing vital implications that stem from our analyses.

Dr Omar S. Itani
Univeristy of texas at arlington

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This page is a summary of: Light at the end of the tunnel: Visitors' virtual reality (versus in-person) attraction site tour-related behavioral intentions during and post-COVID-19, Tourism Management, June 2021, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2021.104290.
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