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Reopening after the pandemic: leveraging the destination image to offset the negative effects of perceived risk


  • Francesca Canio

    (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

  • Elisa Martinelli

    (University of Modena and Reggio)

  • Giampaolo Viglia

    (University of Portsmouth
    University of Aosta Valley)


The Covid-19 pandemic outbreak is dramatically affecting travelers’ behavioral intentions. The higher level of risk perceived has reduced people’s intention to travel, especially among those lacking self-confidence. The present study investigates how travelers’ personality traits (i.e., information acquisition and personal outcome decision-making) impact destination image and perceived risk to get infected by the Covid-19 virus may influence travelers’ attitude and travel intention. An online survey was administered among social networks. A structural equation model was developed on a dataset of 344 questionnaires filled by Italian travelers. The findings of the study confirm that, on one hand, the high sense of travelers’ perceived risk, enhanced by personal outcome decision-making, is dramatically reducing their travel intentions by reducing travelers’ attitude toward travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the destination image, enhanced by information acquisition, offsets the negative effect of risk. This study provides insights to tourism operators and policymakers who are trying to cope with an unstable and raveled sector, badly hit by the pandemic. In this stage of the pandemic, operators should improve the image of their service quality to reassure travelers of the possibility of contracting the virus at restaurants and accommodations. Policymakers should support policies to encourage domestic tourism.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Canio & Elisa Martinelli & Giampaolo Viglia, 2023. "Reopening after the pandemic: leveraging the destination image to offset the negative effects of perceived risk," Italian Journal of Marketing, Springer, vol. 2023(2), pages 99-118, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ijmark:v:2023:y:2023:i:2:d:10.1007_s43039-023-00066-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s43039-023-00066-3

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