|Dr. Hudson visiting a popular wellness retreat in India, the Isha Yoga Center in Tamil Nadu|
SmartState Center team members Simon Hudson, Fang Meng and David Cardenas have just had a paper accepted in the International Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research. The paper, co-authored with former PhD student Karen Thal, examines the direct relationships between behavioral intention and factors driving the growth of the wellness tourism industry in the U.S. Two models were estimated and tested using the theory of planned behavior (TPB), each incorporating two constructs – life stress and involvement in health - in addition to theoretically stipulated antecedents to behavioral intention. Both constructs were found to be significant predictors of behavioral intention. However, involvement proved a much stronger predictor than life stress. This would suggest that growth in the wellness tourism market is associated with health and wellness practices that are central rather than peripheral to potential wellness tourists’ ways of life. Just as environmental values are associated with greener travel behaviors, so too wellness tourism appears to be an extension of ingrained values and attitudes - rather than an escape from unhealthy or stress-filled lifestyles.