The Relationships of Perceived Risk to Personal Factors, Knowledge of Destination, and Travel Purchase Decisions in International Leisure Travel


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Virginia Tech


In the last five years, the world has experienced unexpected tragic events and natural disasters. However, international tourism is expected to grow continually and tourists are therefore becoming more concerned with safety and security during their international travel.

This dissertation investigated individuals' risk perception of vacationing at two scenario international destinations, Australia and Japan. While ten dimensions of perceived risk in international leisure travel were identified in the literature and one additional dimension of "Communication Risk" was proposed for this study, only seven dimensions were found in this study: "Health Risk," "Value Risk," "Psychological Risk," "Social Risk," "Terrorism Risk," "Equipment Risk," and "Communication Risk." The other four dimensions — "Financial Risk," "Time Risk," "Satisfaction Risk," and "Political Instability Risk" — were either merged into other dimensions or did not appear as an independent dimension in this study. The "Communication Risk" which was proposed in this study was found to be a valid dimension of perceived risk in vacationing at international destinations.

The relationships of perceived risk to other factors were also examined. Individuals' characteristics of novelty seeking were negatively related to their risk perception, as were individuals' proficiency of the destination's native language. Those who have experience visiting the destination tended to perceive less risk in vacationing at the destination; the more familiarity/expertise with the destination, the less risk was perceived. When an individual perceived a higher level of risk towards a destination, s/he was less likely to vacation at the destination. Individuals were more likely to choose a packaged tour than independent travel when they had a higher level of risk perception towards vacationing at a particular international destination.



International Leisure Travel, Travel Purchase Decisions, Familiarity/Expertise, Past Experience, Language Ability, Psychographics, Perceived Risk