Re-Examining the Push-Pull Model in Tourists’ Destination Selection: COVID-19 in the Context of Kerala, India
This paper discusses a new conceptual model that can better describe the destination selection decision of tourists during and possibly after covid-19. The utility theory proposed by Lancaster (1966, 1971) is the basis of the proposed model. This research paper revises the existing push-pull literature by redefining ‘pull’ factors as the ‘pull back factors’ or constraints in destination selection. The external destinationrelated pull factors have become risky and unknown to travellers on account of the distress created by covid-19. This model identifies primary push-pull constructs: environment, ethnicity, entertainment, expenses, and endurance. Responses from 311 tourists who have either visited or booked to visit Kerala in 2021 were collated for empirically testing this concept. The classic co-variance-based structural equation modelling approach (cb-sem) was used for statistical validation. From this study, it is observed that the tourists visiting a destination are willing to spend money to experience the climate and culture; but from the entertainment point of view, they
are cost-conscious. A direct positive relationship between the safety and spending habits of the tourists were found. These results call for replacing the current leisureoriented strategies by prioritizing health, culture, outdoor experiences, nature, and well-being.
Keywords: push-pull model, tourist motivation, destination selection, cb-sem
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