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Title: Investigating the use and effectiveness of travel advisory system : a case of Hong Kong's outbound travel alert system
Authors: Wong, Pui Yan Ophelia
Degree: M.Phil.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Travel safety has long been identified as a major concern for overseas travel. Risks of terrorism, political instability, pandemics, and natural catastrophes are of particular care to travelers as they are a matter life and death. This brings to the fore the importance of travel advisory systems (TAS), especially in the increasingly volatile travel industry. Its research efforts however are still significantly less than warranted. To date, the components of an effective TAS remain unclear, the accountability and neutrality of the information provided by the systems have recently been questioned due to political concerns, and there is a lack of studies that compare the travel advisory information offered by different countries and empirically solicit views and ideas on travelers' intention to consult the advisories. To fill in these gaps, three research stages were developed for the study. In the first stage, a content analysis was conducted on 19 travel advisory websites which were selected based on the world's top 20 tourist-generating markets. The study scrutinized the travel advisory information presented and the consistency in issuing travel warnings across countries. The optimal presentation methods and fundamental travel advisory constituents were drawn from the study. In the second stage, Hong Kong's Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) system was used as a case study to explore the perceptions from the main users through qualitative interviews. The OTA system was chosen based on the view that it is a relatively new mechanism and has often been criticized for not being well received by various groups of stakeholders. In particular, it is either unknown to or not valued by Hong Kong residents and the ambiguity of the system has reported to cause confusion to the business operation of travel and insurance companies. Therefore, exploring how the various groups of OTA users, including Hong Kong travelers, tour operators, and insurance companies, perceive the effectiveness of the OTA system and how OTAs have affected these users since its inception are valuable research areas. Recommendations for improving the OTA system to cater to the needs and preferences of related stakeholders are provided.
In the final stage, a quantitative approach was adopted to operationalize the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) and to investigate the primary factors that influence Hong Kong travelers' intention to consult and follow OTA advice. The main survey was carried out at the Hong Kong Intentional Airport and a total of 710 valid questionnaires were obtained. Structural equational modeling was applied to examine the relationships among perceived travel risks, protection motivation, perceived effectiveness of the OTA system, and adherence intention of OTA advice. In addition, multiple regression analysis was performed on the protection motivation factors and adherence intention. The results suggest that the strongest relationship appears between perceived effectiveness of the OTA system and behavioural intention to comply with OTA advice. Implications based on the research findings are provided. This research is one of the initial attempts in providing a comprehensive review on TAS. It enriches the researchers' as well as government authorities' knowledge in this field, especially the roles, functions, and weaknesses of the existing systems. Most importantly, this research has successfully applied PMT in the tourism context and provided a theoretically sound approach in studying the phenomenon of TAS.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Travel -- Safety measures
Tourism -- China -- Hong Kong
Pages: 226 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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