Investigating the Effect of Risk Perception of Covid-19 on Tourists' Behavioral Intentions Towards Untact Tourism, Case study: Visitors to the Tourism Attractions of Amol City in the Second Wave of Prevalence

Document Type : Research Article


1 PhD in Business Management, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 M.A of Business Administration, South Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
The tourism industry has long been recognized as one of the most vulnerable industries in the face of all kinds of crises. Meanwhile, health-related crises such as epidemics can have a direct negative impact on the tourism industry; because travel can facilitate the spread of epidemics. As of December 2019, cases of "unknown viral pneumonia" have been reported, initially associated with exposure to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China. Subsequently, on January 6, 2020, a new coronavirus capable of infecting humans was discovered, called Covid-19. Covid-19 changed the image of the world in every way and had a significant impact on tourism demand. Fear, anxiety and fatigue are common in the community due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Citizens experience depression as a result of being isolated from society in order to minimize face-to-face contact. Hence, citizens have promoted " Untact tourism " to quench their thirst for travel and leisure and minimize the potential dangers of Covid-19. This type of tourism refers to a behavioral mode to minimize direct contact between people. This study highlights Untact tourism as a health-protecting behavior due to people's risk perception of Covid-19. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of risk perception of Covid-19 on tourists' behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism based on the frameworks of the Health Belief Model and Theory of Planned Behavior. And it seeks to answer the question of whether the perceived risk of Covid-19 by tourists has a positive effect on their behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism? The insights gained from this study provide a mechanism for health-protective behaviors resulting from individuals' risk perception in times of global health crises and their consequences for tourism destinations to adopt appropriate strategies to deal with the effects of epidemics.
The present study is an applied one in terms of purpose. Since this study examines the effect of risk perception of Covid-19 on the behavioral intentions of tourists towards Untact tourism, it is a descriptive correlation and based on a structural equation model. The statistical population of the study was all tourists who visited the tourism attractions of Amol city during the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19 in September and October 2020. In this research, the questionnaire was online, the link of the questionnaire was sent in social networks related to tourism channels of   Amol city. Respondents were asked to answer a questionnaire if they had traveled to the tourism attractions of Amol during the months of September and October. During the one-month period, 246 questionnaires were collected by available methods and analyzed. Structural equation modeling for data analysis was performed by using of Smart-PLS software.
Results and discussion
The present study is conducted due to the growing need to better understand the role of protective behaviors during the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. This study demonstrates the importance of risk perception of coronavirus as a basis for the formation of tourists' attitudes and behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism. In the literature, previous researchers have extensively discussed the effect of risk perception on behavioral intentions in tourism. However, little researches have been done on the effect of risk perception of Covid-19 on tourists' behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism. In addition, the indirect effects of perceived risk of Covid-19 on tourists' behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism were confirmed.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of risk perception of Covid-19 on behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism during the second wave of Covid-19 epidemic through the development of the planned behavior theory. In particular, this study highlights a significant insight into Untact tourism as a preventive or covert health behavior associated with Covid-19 based on the Health Belief Model. From a theoretical point of view, this study used the concept of " Untact " in tourism to explain the new pattern of behavior among tourists during the epidemic. In particular, this concept has been highlighted as a health-protective behavior based on the Health Belief Model, although previous research has examined it from a technology-based perspective. That is, the study discusses " Untact " as a concept to demonstrate a typical but innovative tourism behavior that satisfies people's desire to travel even during an epidemic while minimizing disease risks. Untact behaviors of individuals used for health care purposes could be potential avenues for future post-coronary research. From a practical point of view, this study will benefit marketers and tourism industry activists and provide an opportunity for them to develop and implement Untact tourism services and strategies to ensure a high risk perception of Covid-19 leads to tourist behavioral intentions towards Untact tourism. Also, tourism activists should consider Untact tourism as a new model that meets the needs of people to minimize perceived risk as well as provide their travel needs. This is not just the elimination of service conflicts, but can be a superior service based on a high level of customization. They can also send messages about their efforts to implement Untact tourism as a guarantee for the safe travel experiences of tourists.


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