Urban air pollution in China: destination image and risk perceptions
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Inbound tourist arrivals into China have been declining in recent years, possibly in response to increasing levels of urban air pollution. To examine Westerners’ contemporary views on China as a travel destination, with a particular focus on air pollution, this research surveyed 600 US and Australian residents. An online panel survey collected data on cognitive and affective destination image, cognitive and affective risk perceptions, intention to visit China and key demographic variables. The findings show that, while China's cognitive image attributes were perceived positively, potential travellers expressed negative views about travel risks in China in general and about air quality in particular. Importantly, feelings towards the risk of air quality had a significant negative impact on destination image as well as intention to visit China. The research contributes to theory by highlighting the importance of considering affective risk perceptions in destination image studies. While some market segments seemed less sensitive to air pollution than others, this paper concludes that unless China proactively addresses the problem of air pollution, for example by seeking to stimulate positive feelings, international arrivals may continue to be compromised.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience