by Anastasia Nanni in collaboration with University of Leeds
We are living some threatening and uncertain times. Measures to control the spread of Covid-19 have obliged most of the countries to almost complete lockdown. This has critically affected the tourism industry. So far, research is vague on how threatened tourists would behave and how can tourism respond to their changing needs. While research has investigated tourist attitudes towards virtual tours, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to combine Terror Management Theory to technological innovation in tourism research. Here, we present an experiment, where participants were first asked about their mortality salience levels and then randomly assigned to either interactive or non-interactive virtual tours from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We find that the more people feel threatened, and the more important technological adoption is to their self-esteem, the more they are willing to pay for an interactive (vs. control) virtual tour and to donate to the MET. We discuss important and timely implications of these findings for the literature on tourism, mortality salience, and technology, but also for tourism practitioners struggling in these times.
The Paper: "Mortality Threats and Technology Effects on Tourism"