Risk, Trust, and The Roles of Human Versus Virtual Influencers

Nisreen Ameen, Jun-Hwa Cheah, Faizan Ali, Dahlia El-Manstrly, Roberta Kulyciute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on the theory of sociology of trust and risk, this study proposes and empirically tests a conceptual model of tourists’ new destination visit intentions. The model links tourists’ subjective knowledge to trust and risk perceptions and explores the moderating effects of social media influencers (human vs virtual) and tourists’ psychographic factors in this context. Data were collected from two studies: Study 1, through a survey distributed to participants in Malaysia (n=493 valid responses); and Study 2, through a between-subjects design experiment with another sample of participants in Malaysia (n=470 valid responses). The findings expand knowledge in tourism research by showing that destination trust mediates how subjective knowledge influences perceived risk. Optimism and life satisfaction have significant moderating effects in this context. Furthermore, the relationship between destination trust and visit intention is moderated by human and virtual influencers, according to whether their message is positive or negative.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Early online date19 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2023

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