Natural Disasters

Modeling Tourists Evacuation Choices while at the Destination (2012)

The purpose of this research project was to examine the factors that influence tourists’ decision making with regard to evacuation in the event of a hurricane. Particularly, the project examined the influence of tourists’ characteristics, confirmation efforts, the content of hurricane information, and social environments on their likelihood of evacuation. Tourists are an underrepresented and an understudied group in the context of hurricanes that frequently threaten the southeastern states. Consequently, the results of this research have a direct impact on the tourism industry and specifically on the Southeastern United States. This research was part of Mr. Ignatius Cahyanto’s doctoral dissertation. The project was funded by the Southeast States Chapter of Travel and Tourism Research Association.

Modeling Tourists’ Evacuation Choices while at the Destination: Effects of Individual Characteristics, Social Contexts, Information Search, and Hurricane Forecasts of a Crisis Occurring, and Use of Social Media (2012)

Tourists are a vulnerable population in the event of a hurricane as they are often in unfamiliar surroundings and are without the habitual support systems of their home community. Therefore, the impact to the tourist in a hurricane situation may be greater than to those in the general resident population. As a consequence, it is crucial to identify types of tourists in order to craft effective hurricane risk communication messages, and to select the most effective channels in which to deliver these messages to tourists. Unfortunately, there remains a dearth of academic research in this area.  The purpose of this research project was to examine the influence of tourists’ individual characteristics, information search strategies, the content of hurricane information, and social factors on their likelihood of evacuation. This project provided significant data for policy formulation by local and state and regional policy makers, Emergency Response Services, and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) so that tourists can be better served when a hurricane landfall is threatening. This research was part of Mr. Ignatius Cahyanto’s doctoral dissertation. The project was funded by the Bill Sims Graduate Student Research Grant.

Understanding Tourists’ Hurricane Risk Information Behavior while in the Destination (2012)

Tourists are an at-risk population in the event of a hurricane. One of the main reasons is that tourists may not speak and/or read the host language and may lack knowledge concerning the unique risks presented by hurricanes. Hence, tourists may be unable to receive, interpret, and respond appropriately to messages. This project specifically examined the interplay between tourists’ personalities, risk-specific beliefs, relevant hazard experiences, current knowledge, and relevant channel beliefs with regard to tourists’ hurricane risk information strategies. The data yielded from this study provided Visitors and Convention Bureaus with the information they require to ensure that messages they distribute to tourists regarding hurricanes can be understood and transmitted in ways that will increase the likelihood that they reach tourists. This research was part of Mr. Ignatius Cahyanto’s doctoral dissertation. The project was funded by the Holland American Line Graduate Student Research Grant.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Perceptions of Potential Visitors to Florida (2010)

The purpose of this study was to monitor the impact of the oil spill on potential visitor’s perceptions of and intentions to travel to Florida. This study was used to better understand the impact of the oil spill on tourism in Florida. To do so, the Tourism Crisis Management Institute collaborated with Research Data Services (Dr. Walter Klages). Primary data for this study was generated from three pulses of online surveys of potential and/or past visitors to Gulf Coast beach destinations conducted by Research Data Services in Tampa, Florida. The first pulse was conducted on May 7-12, 2010, 17 days after the oil started leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. The second pulse was conducted from June 4-8, and the third pulse was conducted from June 18-22. This project was led by Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray.

Identifying the Factors that Influence the Evacuation Decisions of Florida Tourists when Hurricanes Strike (2009)

This purpose of this study was to examine how tourists’ evacuation decisions vary based on the content of the hurricane-warning messages they receive. The mode of data collection focused on a group of tourists in Orlando and stated-preference surveys, which was administered to tourists at several locations within Orlando and Clearwater regions. These modes elicited the behavioral intentions of tourists under scenarios that do and do not currently exist. The project was funded by the Eric Friedheim Foundation, Jacksonville, FL.