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Assessing tourists' cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to an unethical destination incident


  • Breitsohl, Jan
  • Garrod, Brian


Studies of how tourists react to unethical incidents in destinations are scarce. Based on an online survey (n = 1350) and grounded in cognitive appraisal theory, this study examines people's reactions to a hypothetical breach of ethics at a tourism destination. Results from a structural equation model suggest that the more severe the incident and the greater the attribution of responsibility to agencies within the destination, the more likely it is that an individual will develop hostile emotions toward the destination. The tourist may then decide to avoid the incident emotionally or to spread negative word of mouth (WOM) about it. The study also highlights the importance of a positive destination image in reducing hostile emotions during such incidents. Moreover, tourists will be more likely to re-visit a destination if they choose to avoid engaging emotionally with an unethical incident and less likely to do so if they spread negative WOM.

Suggested Citation

  • Breitsohl, Jan & Garrod, Brian, 2016. "Assessing tourists' cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to an unethical destination incident," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 209-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:touman:v:54:y:2016:i:c:p:209-220
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2015.11.004

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