Perceived Threat of COVID-19 and Future Travel Avoidance: Results from an Early Convenient Sample in Slovenia

Maja Turnšek, Boštjan Brumen, Marjetka Rangus, Mitja Gorenak, Janez Mekinc, Tanja Lešnik Štuhec


The present study provides a snapshot of Slovenian tourists’ perceptions in a historically unique point of time – the early days of the covid-19-related lockdown. Based on an online survey performed in March and April 2020 the study provides first insights into Slovenian tourists’ perceived threats of covid-19 on two dimensions: severity and susceptibility; how this depends on their demography and past travel experience and what, in this specific point in time, they think about future travel avoidance. The results have shown that age affects the two measured dimensions of perceived threat and future travel avoidance, but only with women. Furthermore, people who have travelled the most in the past express the least likelihood of avoidance to travel due to the covid -19 pandemic. Those who are more educated, on the other hand, perceive higher risk, yet education has no role in their expressed future travel avoidance. The results, moreover, show that the moral obligation towards taking care of others might be a highly important element in the success factor of covid-19 measures and thus future appeals by the tourism industry. Finally, the results show that we cannot easily predict how the general population will behave regarding their future travel avoidance since the opinions are not polarised in the extremes. This does indicate, however, that tourists will be susceptible to the context-specific factors of future travel decisions, such as assurances of health safety provided by the tourism industry.

Keywords: covid-19, tourism, health threat perception, future travel avoidance, fear appeals

Full Text:



Abrams, K. M., Leong, K., Melena, S.,&Teel, T. (2020). Encouraging safe wildlife viewing in national parks: Effects of a communication campaign on visitors’ behavior. Environmental Communication, 14(2), 255–270.

Aro, A. R., Vartti, A.-M., Schreck, M., Turtiainen, P., & Uutela, A. (2009). Willingness to take travel-related

health risks-a study among Finnish tourists in Asia during the avian influenza outbreak. International Journal

of Behavioral Medicine, 16(1), 68.

Atherton, T., &Wilks, J. (1994). Health and safety in Australian marine tourism: A social, medical and legal appraisal. Journal of Tourism Studies, 5(2), 2–16.

Bajpai, K. P. (2000). Human security: Concept and measurement (Kroc Institute Occasional Paper No. 19). University of Notre Dame.

Bhati, A., Upadhayaya, A., & Sharma, A. (2016). National disaster management in the asean-5: An analysis of

tourism resilience. Tourism Review, 71(2), 148–164.

Boksberger, P. E., Bieger, T., & Laesser, C. (2007). Multidimensional analysis of perceived risk in commercial air

travel. Journal of Air Transport Management, 13(2), 90–96.

Brug, J., Aro, A. R., Oenema, A., de Zwart, O., Richardus, J. H., & Bishop, G. D. (2004). sars risk perception,

knowledge, precautions, and information sources, the Netherlands. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 10(8), 1486–

Brug, J., Aro, A. R., & Richardus, J. H. (2009). Risk perceptions and behaviour: Towards pandemic control of

emerging infectious diseases. International Society of Behavioral Medicine, 16, 3–6.

Byrnes, J. P., Miller, D. C., & Schafer, W. D. (1999). Gender differences in risk taking: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 125(3), 367–383.

Carr, N. (2001). An exploratory study of gendered differences in young tourists perception of dangerwithin London. Tourism Management, 22(5), 565–570.

Chang,H.-H. (2010).Nationality’s differences in youth tourists’ travelling risk perceptions and satisfactions within

Taiwan. Journal of Tourism, 11(2).

Churchill, G. A. Jr. (1979).Marketing research:Methodologial fundations. Dryden Press.

Cohen, E. (1973). Nomads from affluence: Notes on the phenomenon of drifter-tourism. International Journal of

Comparative Sociology, 14(1/2), 89–103.

Cohen, S. (2010). Searching for escape, authenticity and identitiy: Experiences of lifestyle travellers. InM. L.Morgan, & J. R. B. Ritchie (Eds.), The tourism and leisure expeerience: Consumer and managerial perspectives (pp.27–42). Channel View Publications.

Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 16(3), 297–334.

Darley,W. K., & Smith, R. E. (1995). Gender differences in information processing strategies: An empirical test of

the selectivity model in advertising response. Journal of advertising, 24(1), 41–56.

Dillard, J. P., & Li, S. S. (2020).How scary are threat appeals? Evaluating the intensity of fear in experimental research. Human Communication Research, 46(1), 509–532.

Elsrud, T. (2001). Risk creation in traveling: Backpacker adventure narration. Annals of Tourism Research, 28(3),


European Commission. (2020). Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond (com(2020) 550 final). European Commission.

Floyd, D. L., Prentice-Dunn, S., & Rogers, R. W. (2000). A meta-analysis of research on protection motivation theory. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30(2), 407–429.

Frisby, E. (2003). Communicating in a crisis: The British Tourist Authority’s responses to the foot-and-mouth

outbreak and 11th September, 2001. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(1), 89–100.

Garg, A., & Kumar, J. (2017). The impact of risk perception and factors on tourists’ decision making for choosing

the destination Uttarakhand/India. Ottoman Journal of Tourism and Management Research, 2, 144–160.

Gibson, H., & Jordan, F. (1998a, 26–30 October). Shirley Valentine lives! The experiences of solo women travelers. Paper presented at the Fifth congress of the World Leisure and Recreation Association, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Gibson, H., & Jordan, F. (1998b, 16–20 July). Travelling solo: A cross-cultural study of British and American women aged 30–50. Paper presented at the fourth international conference of the Leisure Studies Association, Leeds, uk.

Gibson, H., & Yiannakis, A. (2002). Tourist roles: Needs and the lifecourse. Annals of Tourism Research, 29(2), 358–383.

Goldman, L. K., & Glantz, S. A. (1998). Evaluation of antismoking advertising campaigns. Jama, 279(10), 772–777.

Hajibaba, H., Gretzel, U., Leisch, F., & Dolnicar, S. (2015). Crisis-resistant tourists. Annals of Tourism Research, 53, 46–60.

Halek, M., & Eisenhauer, J. G. (2001). Demography of risk aversion. Journal of Risk and Insurance, 68(1), 1–24.

Hall,C.M.,Dallen, J. T.,&Duval,D. T. (2003). Security and tourism: Towards a new understanding? In C. M. Hall,

J. T. Dallen, & D. T. Duval (Eds.), Safety and security in tourism (pp. 1–18). The Haworth Press.

Hallahan, T. A., Faff, R.W., &McKenzie,M. D. (2004). An empirical investigation of personal financial risk tolerance. Financial Services Review, 13(1), 57–78.

Hawes, D. K. (1988). Travel-related lifestyle profiles of older women. Journal of Travel Research, 27(2), 22–32.

Hunter-Jones, P., Jeffs, A., & Smith, D. (2008). Backpacking your way into crisis: An exploratory study into perceived risk and tourist behaviour amongst young people. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 23(2/4), 237–247.

Inglehart, R. F.,&Norris, P. (2012). The four horsemen of the apocalypse:Understanding human security; The 2011 Johan Skytte Prize lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies, 35(1), 71–96.

Ivanuša, T., Lesjak, M., Roša, M., & Podbregar, I. (2012). Soodvisnost okolja, turizma in nacionalne varnosti. In

G. Meško, A. Sotlar, & K. Eman (Eds.), Ekološka kriminaliteta in varovanje okolja-multidisciplinarne perspektive

(pp. 433–464). Fakulteta za Družbene vede.

Karl, M. (2018a). The influence of risk perception on destination choice processes. European Journal of Tourism

Research, 18, 160–163.

Karl, M. (2018b). Risk and uncertainty in travel decisionmaking: Tourist and destination perspective. Journal of

Travel Research, 57(1), 129–146.

Kim, S., Leht,X.,&Kandampully, J. (2019).The role of familiarity in consumer destination image formation. Tourism

Review 74(4), 885–901.

Kinnaird,V., & Hall,D. (1996).Understanding tourismprocesses: A gender-aware framework. Tourism Management, 17(2), 95–102.

Kozak, M., Crotts, J. C., & Law, R. (2007). The impact of the perception of risk on international travellers. International Journal of Tourism Research, 9(4), 233–242.

Kurež, B. (2011). Sodobno varnostno okolje in turizem. Varstvoslovje: Journal of Criminal Justice & Security,

(3), 330–347.

Lau, J. T. F., Yang, X., Tsui, H. Y., & Pang, E. (2004). sars related preventive and risk behaviours practised byHong Kong–mainlandChina cross border travellers during the outbreak of the sars epidemic inHongKong. Journal of Epidemiology and Comunty Health, 58(12), 988–996.

Laver, S. M., Wetzels, J., & Behrens, R. H. (2006). Knowledge of malaria, risk perception, and compliance with

prophylaxis and personal and environmental preventive measures in travelers exiting Zimbabwe from Harare

and Victoria falls international airport. Journal of Travel Medicine, 8(6), 298–303.

Le Serre,D., Legohérel, P., &Weber, K. (2013). Seniors’motivations and perceived risks: A cross-cultural study. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25(2), 61–79.

Lepp, A., & Gibson, H. (2003). Tourist roles, perceived risk and international tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 30(3), 606–624.

Lepp, A., & Gibson, H. (2008). Sensation seeking and tourism: Tourist role, perception of risk and destination

choice. Tourism Management, 29(4), 740–750.

Loker-Murphy, L., & Pearce, P. L. (1995). Young budget travelers: Backpackers in Australia. Annals of Tourism Research, 22(4), 819–843.

Maloney, E. K., Lapinski,M. K., & Witte, K. (2011). Fear appeals and persuasion: A review and update of the extended parallel process model. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5(4), 206–219.

Mansfeld, Y., & Korman, T. (2015). Between war and peace: Conflict heritage tourism along three Israeli border areas. Tourism Geographies, 17(3), 437–460.

Mao, C.-K., Ding, C. G., & Lee, H.-Y. (2010). Post-sars tourist arrival recovery patterns: An analysis based on

a catastrophe theory. Tourism Management, 31(6), 855–861.

Mathis, M., Briand, S., & Prentice, T. (2015). Emerging and re-emerging infectious threats in the 21st century. Weekly Epidemiological Record, 90(20), 238–244.

Mattila, A. S., Apostolopoulos, Y., Sonmez, S., Yu, L., & Sasidharan, V. (2001). The impact of gender and religion

on college students’ spring break behavior. Journal of Travel Research, 40(2), 193–200.

Matyas, C., Srinivasan, S., Cahyanto, I., Thapa, B., Pennington-Gray, L., & Villegas, J. (2011). Risk perception and evacuation decisions of Florida tourists under hurricane threats. Natural Hazards, 59(2), 871–890.

McGehee,N.G., Loker-Murphy, L., &Uysal,M. (1996).The Australian international pleasure travel Market:Motivations from a gendered perspective. Journal of Tourism Studies, 7(1), 45–57.

McKercher, B., & Hui, E. L. L. (2003). Terrorism, economic uncertainly and outbound travel from Hong Kong. Journal of Travel and TourismMarketing, 15(2/3), 99–115.

Mekinc, J., & Dobovšek, B. (2011). Uvodnik. In J. Mekinc & B. Dobovšek (Eds.), Varnost v turizmu (p. 7). Annales.

Mitchell, V. W., & Vassos, V. (1998). Perceived risk and risk reduction in holiday purchases: A cross-cultural and

gender analysis. Journal of Euromarketing, 6(3), 47–79.

Moreira, P. (2004, 8–10 December). Stealth risks and catastrophic risks: Risk perception in a tourismdestination. Paper presented at the Proceedings from the New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality Conference 2004, Wellington,

New Zealand.

Moreira, P. (2008). Stealth risks and catastrophic risks: On risk perception and crisis recovery strategies. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 23(2/4), 15–27.

Moussa, G. (2001, 27–28 November). Challenges to human security in theMiddle East. In What Agenda for Human Security in the Twenty-first Century? Paper presented at the First InternationalMeeting of Directors of peace Research and Training Institutions Paris, France.

Oberleitner, G. (2002). Human security and human rights (etc OccasionalPaperVol. 8, No. 8). EuropeanTraining

and Research Centre forHuman Rights and Democracy.

oecd. (2020). Tourism policy responses to the coronavirus (covid-19). oecd.


Paris, R. (2001). Human security: Paradigm shift or hot air? International Security, 26(2), 87–102.

Park, K., & Reisinger, Y. (2010). Differences in the perceived influence of natural disasters and travel risk on international travel. Tourism Geographies, 12(1), 1–24.

Pechmann, C., Zhao, G., Goldberg,M. E., & Reibling, E. T. (2003). What to convey in antismoking advertisements

for adolescents

Pizam,A., Jeong, G.-H., Reichel, A., van Boemmel,H., Lusson, J.M., Steynberg, L., Kucerova, J. (2004). The relationship between risk-taking, sensation-seeking, and the tourist behavior of young adults: A cross-cultural study. Journal of Travel Research, 42(3), 251–260.

Pizam, A., Reichel, A., & Uriely, N. (2001). Sensation seeking and tourist behavior. Journal of Hospitality & Leisure Marketing, 9(3/4), 17–33.

Qi, C. X.,Gibson, H. J., & Zhang, J. J. (2009). Perceptions of risk andtravel intentions:The case of China andtheBeijing Olympic Games. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 14(1), 43–67.

Reichel, A., Fuchs, G., & Uriely, N. (2007). Perceived risk and the non-institutionalized tourist role: The case of Israeli student ex-backpackers. Journal of Travel Research, 46(2), 217–226.

Reisinger, Y., & Mavondo, F. (2005). Travel anxiety and intentions to travel internationally: Implications of travel risk perception. Journal of Travel Research, 43(3), 212–225.

Reisinger, Y., &Mavondo, F. (2006a). Cultural consequences on traveler risk perception and safety. Tourism Analysis, 11(4), 265–284.

Reisinger, Y., & Mavondo, F. (2006b). Cultural Differences in Travel Risk Perception. Journal of Travel & Tourism

Marketing, 20(1), 13–31.

Riley, P. J. (1988). Road culture of international long-term budget travelers. Annals of Tourism Research, 15(3), 313–328.

Rittichainuwat, B. N., & Chakraborty, G. (2009). Perceived travel risks regarding terrorism and disease: The case of Thailand. Tourism Management, 30(3), 410–418.

Roehl,W. S., & Fesenmaier, D. R. (1992). Risk perceptions and pleasure travel: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Travel Research, 30(4), 17–26.

Rogers, R. W. (1975). A protectionmotivation theory of fear appeals and attitude change1. The Journal of Psychology, 91(1), 93–114.

Seabra, C., Dolničar, S., Abrantes, J. L., & Kastenholz, E. (2013). Heterogeneity in risk and safety perceptions of

international tourists. Tourism Management, 36, 502–510.

Sezgin, E., & Yolal, M. (2012). Golden age of mass tourism: Its history and development. InM. Kasimoglu (Ed.), Vision for global tourism industry: Creating and sustaining competitive strategies (pp. 73–90). IntechOpen.

Sharpley, R., & Craven, B. (2001). The 2001 foot and mouth crisis-rural economy and tourism policy implications: A comment. Current Issues in Tourism, 4(6), 527–537.

Smith, M. (2003). Holistic holidays: Tourism and the reconciliation of body, mind and spirit. TourismRecreation Research, 28(1), 103–108.

Smith, R. D. (2006). Responding to global infectious disease outbreaks: Lessons from sars on the role of risk perception, communication and management. Social Science & Medicine, 63(12), 3113–3123.

Sönmez, S. F., & Graefe, A. R. (1998a). Determining future travel behavior from past travel experience and perceptions of risk and safety. Journal of Travel Research, 37(2), 171–177.

Sönmez, S. F., & Graefe, A. R. (1998b). Influence of terrorism risk on foreign tourism decisions. Annals of Tourism Research, 25(1), 112–144.

Squire, S. J. (1994). Gender and tourist experiences: Assessing women’s shared meanings for Beatrix Potter. Leisure Studies, 13(3), 195–209.

Tavitiyaman, P., & Qu, H. (2013).Destination image and behavior intention of travelers to Thailand: The moderating effect of perceived risk. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 30(3), 169–185.

Torres, R. (2002). Cancun’s tourism development from a Fordist spectrum of analysis. Tourist Studies, 2(1), 87–

Tsiotsou, R. H., Ratten,V., Byon,K.K.,&Zhang, J. J. (2010). Development of a scale measuring destination image.

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 8(4), 508–32.

unwto. (2011). Tourism towards 2030: Global overview.


unwto. (2019). International tourism highlights.


unwto. (2020, 17 April). Covid-19 response: 96 of global destinations impose travel restrictions, unwto reports.


Vartti,A.-M.,Oenema, A., Schreck,M.,Uutela,A., de Zwart, O., Brug, J., & Aro, A. R. (2009). sars knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors: A comparison between Finns and the Dutch during the sars Outbreak in 2003. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 16(1), 41.

Wang, F., & Lopez, C. (2020). Does communicating safety matter? Annals of Tourism Research, 80, 102805.

Wantono, A., & McKercher, B. (2020). Backpacking and risk perception: The case of solo Asian women. Tourism

Recreation Research, 45(1), 19–29.

Williams, A. M., & Baláž, V. (2013). Tourism, risk tolerance and competences: Travel organization and tourism hazards. Tourism Management, 35, 209–221.

Witte, K. (1992). Putting the fear back into fear appeals: The extended parallel process model. Communications

Monographs, 59(4), 329–349.

Witte, K. (1994). Fear control and danger control: A test of the extended parallel process model (eppm). Communications Monographs, 61(2), 113–134.

Witte, K., & Morrison, K. (2000). Examining the influence of trait anxiety/repression-sensitization on individuals’

reactions to fear appeals. Western Journal of Communication, 64(1), 1–27.

Yang, E. C. L.,&Nair,V. (2014). Tourismat risk:Areviewof risk and perceived risk in tourism. Asia-Pacific Journal

of Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism, 3(2), 1–21.

Yuen, K. F., Li, K. X., Ma, F., & Wang, X. (2020). The effect of emotional appeal on seafarers’ safety behaviour:

An extended health beliefmodel. Journal of Transport & Health, 16, 100810.


Zeng, B., Carter, R. W., & De Lacy, T. (2005). Short-term perturbations and tourism effects: The case of sars in

China. Current Issues in Tourism, 8(4), 306–322.

Zhang, L., Li, H., & Chen, K. (2020). Effective risk communication for public health emergency: Reflection on

the covid-19 (2019-ncov) outbreak inWuhan, China. Healthcare, 8(1), 64.


  • There are currently no refbacks.