Should we cancel? An examination of risk handling in travel social media before visiting ebola-free destinations

Isaac Mizrachi, Galia Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Risk perceptions can be far more meaningful in a tourist's decision-making process than the objective conditions at the proposed destination. As a result of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, many African destinations that are Ebola-free are suffering from a negative impact on travel bookings. This exploratory study examines the user discourse about Ebola and the risk-handling strategies associated with it as reflected in travel social media. Thematic analysis of 200 user posts on Trip Advisor forums regarding travel to Ebola-free countries in Africa revealed three main themes representing that online discourse: Positive Thinking and Encouragement; Knowledge Development and Preparation; and Personal Risk Assessment. The findings provide a better understanding of online communities' attitudes to Ebola risk perceptions and the ways to handle them. The study may thus assist tourism authorities in destinations suffering from health-related stigmas and misconceptions in their marketing efforts to sustain the industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • African tourism
  • Ebola
  • Risk-handling
  • Social media
  • Tourist risk perceptions
  • Trip Advisor

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