The impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on tourists’ personal prestige – an experimental study

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Purpose: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has drastically affected the public discourse on tourism in news reporting and on social media, potentially changing social perceptions of travel and its utility for conspicuous consumption. Prestige enhancement is a common tourist motivation, yet, as tourists have been portrayed as irresponsible and even dangerous during the pandemic, the benefits of travel for personal prestige may have been affected. The purpose of this study is to monitor changes in tourists’ personal prestige during the early pandemic in 2020. Design/methodology/approach: The authors developed an innovative study design implicitly measuring the personal prestige of tourists shown on experimentally manipulated social media posts. Three measurement waves were issued to compare the personal prestige of tourists just before, during and after the first lockdown situation in Germany. Findings: Differences regarding evaluations of tourists’ prestige were found for prestige dimensions of hedonism, achievements, wealth and power, suggesting that prestige ascription to tourists has been affected by the changing discourse on leisure travel. Originality/value: This study contributes to the discussion of the socio-psychological effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on customer benefits of leisure travel. It exposes possible impacts of the pandemic on tourisms’ value for conspicuous consumption and prestige enhancement.

ZeitschriftInternational Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research
Seiten (von - bis)238-258
Anzahl der Seiten21
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.07.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to Clara Odermatt for her thorough work in pre-testing and validating the experimental design for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.