Customer Engagement with VR-enabled Tourism Activities at Cultural Heritage Sites
Keywords:Customer Engagement, Virtual Reality, Virtual Tourism, Alternative Attractiveness, Cultural Heritage Sites, Pro-cultural Orientation
Despite the tremendous amount of academic interest in virtual reality (VR), the existing conceptual models that presented VR attributes as antecedents of users’ acceptance and attitudes, failed to examine the power of VR technologies in promoting the alternative attractiveness of virtual tourism compared to traditional onsite visitation. This is of great significance to the solution of over-tourism issues frequently seen in the today’s tourism destinations, especially world-famous cultural heritage sites. Therefore, the present study fills the literature gap and empirically validates a conceptual framework that shows how visitors’ engagement with VR-enabled tourism activities could lead to an enhanced alternative attractiveness of virtual tourism, and their pro-cultural behaviors. A total of 571 valid responses from US visitors that have adopted VR-enabled tourism activities were collected to confirm the role of four VR attributes, i.e., immersion, vividness, presence, and enjoyment, in motivating users’ engagement behaviors with VR tourism activities. The study findings also testified that visitors who engaged with VR tourism activities are likely to adopt pro-cultural behaviors in the future and assessed the alternative attractiveness of VR tourism against the traditional onsite visitation. The findings will provide valuable implications for policymakers who aspire to preserve the cultural heritage sites while promoting cultural heritage destinations through advanced VR technologies.
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