A study on the formation mechanism and spillover effects of tourist destination trust

LIU Weimei1 LIN Derong1

(1.School of Management, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China 361005)

【Abstract】Tourism destination is the spatial carrier where tourists undertake their activities during the process of tourism, and the needs of tourists are basically met and realized through tourist destinations. Thus, it can be seen that tourism destination plays an important role in the tourist’s experience. At the same time, it will also affect the tourist’s attitude and emotion to the tourist destination, and it is embodied in the tourist-destination relation finally. As we all known, the relation between the tourist and the destination has a direct impact on the number of visitors to the destination and tourism income. As a result, the tourist-destination relation has become an important tool for marketing and its sustainable and healthy development depends on the sense of trust and security brought by the destination. As a matter of fact, all kinds of negative news exposed about tourism destinations, such as television and other media, has a strong impact on the destination trust of tourists, and then affects the destination choice of potential tourists and the quality of experience of real tourists. For example, the seafood events that happen frequently in the destination make tourists almost lose confidence in the destination and result in the decrease of destination attraction at last. The rebuilding of confidence in the destination among tourists relates to the building of harmony between destinations and tourists’ visits. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the factors that influence the formation of trust, and also the spillover effect. Hence, this study tried to analyze the effects of self-congruity and functional congruity on destination trust and the relationships among destination trust, personal reciprocity, and place attachment as well as destination loyalty based on the Howard-Sheth model. Data collection can be conducted through online channels and on-site questionnaire distribution, and a total of 810 copies of effective data were collected by the two methods. Then, we made analysis of the data through SEM with AMOS 21. 0. The results show that self-congruity and functional congruity both have significant positive effects on destination trust. To some extent, in addition to the traditional functional attributes, the symbolic meaning of one tourist destination is also attractive to the projection of tourists’ emotion. In addition, the effect of self-congruity on destination trust is also generated from functional congruity, which indicates that destination symbolism is slightly superior than functional attributes for tourists projecting their trust into destinations. As for the results of destination trust, it manifests that destination trust has significant positive effects on tourist-destination reciprocity, place attachment and destination loyalty. Tourist-destination reciprocity plays an intermediary role in the relationship among destination trust, destination loyalty, and place attachment. More importantly, as a new and important construct of tourist-destination relation, reciprocity not only mediates the relationships between destination trust and loyalty partially but also affects destination loyalty indirectly through place attachment. The regulatory role of tourist-destination reciprocity is slightly greater than place attachment in the relationship between destination trust and destination loyalty. As shown, tourist-destination reciprocity and place attachment play a chain dual intermediary role in the relationship between the tourist-destination trust and loyalty, which is the new discovery and contribution of this study, and is different from the existing research results. This study discusses the formation mechanism of destination trust from the perspective of consistency, which is the expansion of the theory of destination trust formation. It also studies the effect transmission mechanism of destination trust, in particular, the evolution of the relationship between destination trust and loyalty, which is the improvement of loyalty theory. Finally, this study provides managers with the corresponding marketing means from the practical point of view to construct the destination trust system. In view of the importance of self-congruity and personal reciprocity, this study puts forward some suggestions for destination marketing and management through the enhancement of destination symbolism and the increase of reciprocity between tourists and destinations with experience products.

【Keywords】 self-congruity; functional congruity; destination trust; tourist-destination reciprocity; place attachment;


Download this article


    [1] Wu, J., and Y. Chang. Effect of Transaction Trust on E-commerce Relationships between Travel Agencies. Tourism Management, 2006, 27, (6): 1253–1261.

    [2] Czernek, K., and W. Czakon. Trust-building Processes in Tourist Coopetition The Case of a Polish Region. Tourism Management, 2016, (52): 380–394.

    [3] Filieri, R., S. Alguezaui, and F. McLeay. Why Do Travelers Trust TripAdvisor Antecedents of Trust Towards Consumer-generated Media and Its Influence on Recommendation Adoption and Word of Mouth. Tourism Management, 2015, (51): 174–185.

    [4] Kim, M., N. Chung, and C. Lee. The Effect of Perceived Trust on Electronic Commerce Shopping Online for Tourism Products and Services in South Korea. Tourism Management, 2011, 32, (2): 256–265.

    [5] Lyu, T., Li, J., Dai, L. et al. Tourism Tribune (旅游学刊), (2): 48–56 (2018).

    [6] Kim, T. T., W. G. Kim, and H. Kim. The Effects of Perceived Justice on Recovery Satisfaction, Trust, Word-of-Mouth, and Revisit Intention in Upscale Hotels. Tourism Management, 2009, 30, (1): 51–62.

    [7] Gong, J., Xie, L. & Peng, J. Tourism Tribune (旅游学刊), (4): 55–68 (2014).

    [8] Diao, Z. Journal of Guilin Institute of Tourism (桂林旅游高等专科学校学报), (5): 69–71 (2005).

    [9] Wang, C. Chinese Rural Economy (中国农村经济), (4): 59–71 (2015).

    [10] Loureiro, S. M. A. C., and F. J. M. GonzaLez. The Importance of Quality, Satisfaction, Trust, and Image in Relation to Rural Tourist Loyalty. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 2008, 25, (2): 117–136.

    [11] Nunkoo, R., H. Ramkissoon, and D. Gursoy. Public Trust in Tourism Institutions. Annals of Tourism Research, 2012, 39, (3) 1538–1564.

    [12] Luo, Q., and H. Zhang. Building Interpersonal Trust in a Travel-related Virtual Community A Case Study on a Guangzhou Couchsurfing Community. Tourism Management, 2016, (54): 107–121.

    [13] Yao, Y., Chen, Z. & Jia, Y. Tourism Tribune (旅游学刊), (4): 48–56 (2013).

    [14] Choi, M., R. Law, and C. Y. Heo. Shopping Destinations and Trust-Tourist Attitudes Scale Development and Validation. Tourism Management, 2016, (54): 490–501.

    [15] Deutsch, M. Trust and Suspicion. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1958, 2, (4): 265–279.

    [16] Frost, T., D. V. Stimpson, and M. R. Maughan. Some Correlates of Trust. The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied, 1978, (99): 103–108.

    [17] Morgan, R. M., and S. D. Hunt. The Commitment-Trust Theory of Relationship Marketing. Journal of Marketing, 1994, (58): 20–38.

    [18] Moorman, C., G. Zaltman, and R. Deshpande. Relationships between Providers and Users of Market Research the Dynamics of Trust within and between Organizations. Journal of Marketing Research, 1992, 29, (3): 314–328.

    [19] Cao, W. & Xu, C. Journal of Beijing International Studies University (北京第二外国语学院学报), (9): 45–53 (2014).

    [20] Wang, L. Master’s thesis, Hunan Normal University (2009).

    [21] Birdwell, A. E. A Study Of The Influence of Image Congruence on Consumer Choice. The Journal of Business, 1968, 41, (1)76–88.

    [22] Wang, C. Advances in Psychological Science (心理科学进展), (5): 922–933 (2013).

    [23] Johar, J. S, and J. Sirgy. Value-Expressive Versus Utilitarian Advertising Appeals When and Why to Use Which Appeal. Journal of Advertising, 1991, 20, (3): 23–33.

    [24] Kressmann, F., M. J. Sirgy, A. Herrmann, F. Huber, S. Huber, and J. Lee D. Direct and Indirect Effects of Self-image Congruence on Brand Loyalty. Journal of Business Research, 2006, 59, (9): 955–964.

    [25] Chon, K. Self-Image / Destination Image Congruity. Annals of Tourism Research, 1992, (19): 360–376.

    [26] Sirgy, M. J., and C. Su. Destination Image, Self-Congruity, and Travel Behavior Toward an Integrative Model. Journal of Travel Research, 2000, 38, (4): 340–352.

    [27] Hung, K., and J. F. Petrick. Testing the Effects of Congruity, Travel Constraints, and Self-efficacy on Travel Intentions An Alternative Decision-making Model. Tourism Management, 2012, 33, (4): 855–867.

    [28] Akhoondnejad, A. Tourist Loyalty to a Local Cultural Event The Case of Turkmen Handicrafts Festival. Tourism Management, 2016, (52): 468–477.

    [29] Chen, C., and S. Phou. A Closer Look at Destination Image, Personality, Relationship and Loyalty. Tourism Management, 2013, (36): 269–278.

    [30] Pan, L., Lyu, X. & Li, H. Human Geography (人文地理), (3): 9–18 (2016).

    [31] Ning, C. & Cao, Y. Journal of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (中南财经政法大学学报), (2): 122–129 (2016).

    [32] Simonin, B. L., and J. A. Ruth,. Is a Company Known by the Company It Keeps Assessing the Spillover Effects of Brand Alliances on Consumer Attitudes. Journal of Marketing Research, 1998, 35, (1): 30–42.

    [33] Wang, H. & Yan, Y. Nankai Business Review (南开管理评论), (1): 132–145 (2018).

    [34] Liang, P. & Meng, J. The Journal of World Economy (世界经济), (12): 90–110 (2013).

    [35] Li, W. & Liu, H. Management Review (管理评论), (3): 128–138 (2014).

    [36] Sirdeshmukh, D., J. Singh, and B. Sabol. Consumer Trust, Value, and Loyalty in Relational Exchanges. Journal of Marketing, 2000, (66): 15–37.

    [37] Han, H., S, and S. Hyun. Image Congruence and Relationship Quality in Predicting Switching Intention Conspicuousness of Product Use as a Moderator Variable. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 2013, 37, (3): 303–329.

    [38] Kang, J., L. Tang, Y. Lee J, and R. H. Bosselman. Understanding Customer Behavior in Name-brand Korean Coffee Shops The Role of Self-congruity and Functional Congruity. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 2012, 31, (3): 809–818.

    [39] Davies, G., and R. Chun. The Use of Metaphor in the Exploration of the Brand Concept. Journal of Marketing Management, 2003, (19): 45–71.

    [40] Schultz, D. E., and S. Baily. Customer / Brand Loyalty in an Interactive Marketplace. Journal of Advertising Research, 2000, 40, (3): 41–52.

    [41] Wei, H. & Liu, G. Soft Science (软科学), (11): 43–47 (2009).

    [42] So, K. K. F., C. King, B. A. Sparks, and Y. Wang. The Influence of Customer Brand Identification on Hotel Brand Evaluation and Loyalty Development. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 2013, (34): 31–41.

    [43] Wu, W., T. S. Chan, and H. H. Lau. Does Consumers’ Personal Reciprocity Affect Future Purchase Intentions. Journal of Marketing Management, 2008, 24, (3–4): 345–360.

    [44] Cong, Q., Yan, H. & Wang, Y. Journal of Management Science (管理科学), (6): 54–63 (2007).

    [45] Gremler, D. D., and K, P. Gwinner. Customer-Employee Rapport in Service Relationships. Journal of Service Research, 2000, 3, (1): 82–104.

    [46] Yuksel, A., F. Yuksel, and Y. Bilim. Destination Attachment Effects on Customer Satisfaction and Cognitive, Affective and Conative loyalty. Tourism Management, 2010, 31, (2): 274–284.

    [47] Lee, T. H., and Y. L. Shen. The Influence of Leisure Involvement and Place Attachment on Destination Loyalty Evidence from Recreationists Walking their Dogs in Urban Parks. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2013, (33): 76–85.

    [48] Bai, K. Human Geography (人文地理), (4): 120–125 (2010).

    [49] Churchill, G. A. A Paradigm for Developing Better Measures of Marketing Constructs. Journal of Marketing Research, 1979, (16): 64–73.

    [50] Chaudhuri, A., and M, B. Hoibrook. The Chain of Effects from Brand Trust and Brand Affect to Brand Performance The Role of Brand Loyalty. Journal of Marketing, 2001, 65, (4): 81–93.

    [51] Zeithaml, V., L. L. Berry, and A. Parasuraman. The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality. Journal of Marketing, 1996, 60, (2): 31–46.

    [52] Wu, M. 问卷统计分析实务———SPSS 操作与应用. Chongqing: Chongqing University Press (2010).

    [53] Anderson, J. C., and D. W. Gerbing. Structural Equation Modeling in Practice A Review and Recommended Two-Step Approach. Psychological Bulletin, 1988, 103, (3): 411–423.

    [54] Fornell, C., and D. F. Larcker. Evaluating Structural Equation Models with Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error. Journal of Marketing Research, 1981, 18, (1): 39–50.

    [55] Qu, Y. & Li, T. Tourism Tribune (旅游学刊), (9): 17–25 (2012).

This Article


CN: 11-1047/F

Vol 41, No. 07, Pages 121-135

July 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Theoretical model and research hypotheses
  • 4 Research design and methods
  • 5 Empirical results and analysis
  • 6 Conclusion and implication
  • References