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Abstract

A great deal of academic research has been devoted to examining the effects of secular celebrities, however little attention has been paid to spiritual or religious celebrities, nor are their impacts explored by academic studies on consumption in general and travel experience in particular. We aim to investigate the effects of spiritual celebrity on how visitors perceive a destination as well as their pilgrimage experience. Our study has shown that the direct relationships between the religious side and destination sides are weak in shaping tourist experience, but the indirect effects of both celebrity trustworthiness and expertise on destination image and attachment are robust, in which spirituality plays a crucial mediating role. These results suggest that spirituality is a key medium through which tourists can close the gap between pilgrimage on the spiritual side and their experience on the destination side

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