The pandemic has affected tourists’ attitudes and behaviours in unforeseen ways, often subconsciously, said a new study.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Tourism Research, indicated that post-pandemic tourism could curb our motivation for new adventures.
“We found that a Covid-19 threat also made people overestimate the crowdedness of public spaces and feeling uncomfortable in crowded places like restaurants or shopping malls,” said researcher Florian Kock from Copenhagen Business School.
“Understanding the long-term psychological impact of the pandemic will be a crucial success factor for businesses during and long after the Covid-19 era,” Kock added.
For the study, the team implemented two survey-based studies at the start of the pandemic with 960 travellers to understand the deep-rooted changes of travel attitude and behaviour, gathering empirical insights.
They found that feeling vulnerable to Covid-19 activates a so-called ‘behavioural immune system’ that in turn makes people engage in various behaviours that helped our ancestors survive when facing a disease.
In the first study, the authors measured the degree to which individuals perceive a higher infection risk of Covid-19.
They found that those who fear Covid-19 are more prone to being nationalistic and xenophobic, meaning that they favour those who are like themselves and avoid foreigners.
In the second study, they found that those tourists who perceive Covid-19 as a big threat, subconsciously engage in behaviours in order to lower their travel-related risk perceptions.
As such, tourists found strategies to mitigate the travel risk by, for example, travelling in groups, buying travel insurance, and visiting the places they had visited before, thereby increasing destination loyalty.