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Tourism Tribune ; 37:4, 2022.
Article in Chinese | CAB Abstracts | ID: covidwho-1904045


As the major public health emergency with the fastest spread, the greatest range, and the most difficulty in controlling recently, COVID-19 has created a huge shock and exerted an impact on public physical and mental health. Health tourism is an effective way of alleviating the general public's physical and mental health. Thus, it is necessary to examine the event strength of COVID-19 with respect to the willingness to undertake health tourism. Such research into tourists' behavior following the spread of COVID-19 could help identify potential areas of development for the tourism industry in the period of the pandemic under normal control. Many studies have investigated the negative shock and impact of COVID-19. However, little research has focused on behavioral responses in that regard. Hitherto, studies have ignored development opportunities in the tourism industry following COVID-19. By applying the stimulus-organism-response (SOR) model and event system theory, we conducted a survey among 313 participants by means of an online questionnaire. Using the structural equation modeling technique, we aimed to identify the effect of recognizing the event strength of COVID-19 (novelty recognition, disruption recognition, criticality recognition) on the intention to undertake health tourism;we did so by taking into account the mediating role of risk perception and moderating role of risk communication. We obtained the following findings. (1) The novelty recognition of the event strength of COVID-19 tended to decrease the willingness to undertake health tourism;disruption recognition did not affect that intention. However, criticality recognition did increase such willingness.(2) Novelty recognition exerted a negative impact on risk perception;criticality and disruption recognition positively improved risk perception. (3) Novelty and criticality recognition indirectly affected the intention to undertake health tourism through the partial mediating effect of risk perception. Disruption recognition indirectly affected such intention through the mediating role of risk perception.(4) Risk communication did not directly promote the intention to undertake health tourism, but it did moderate the impact of risk perception with respect to such intention. Thus, releasing more risk information makes the public more aware of health matters, which increases the intention to undertake health tourism. This study makes an important contribution to research and tourism management. First, we constructed and empirically examined a conceptual framework using the SOR model: it provided a good theoretical framework to analyze the mechanism between recognition of event strength and the intention to undertake health tourism;it broadens the application possibilities of the SOR model. Second, we clarified practical means for developing the tourism industry in the period of the pandemic under normal control;examples here are the wellness tourism industry promoting the planning and design of wellness tourism products as well as increasing investment in safety and sanitation. Such measures could also help improve risk communication, raise public awareness of risk and wellness, and promote wellness tourism.