Examining Travel Constraints and Perceived Risk on Intention to Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Malaysian Consumers

Norzalita Abd Aziz, Fei Long
Graduate School of Business, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Safwan Marwin Abdul Murad
School of Business Management, Universiti Utara Malaysia


Tourism industry is susceptible to risks, threats, disasters as well as epidemics. These factors are major constraints towards tourism activities. For instance, the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic in the tourism industry has transformed consumer behaviour in travelling, such as development of negative emotions and mistrust among tourists. Different travel constraints account for different effects on consumer’s intention to travel or to go for holiday. However, what are the most important travel constraints influencing travel intention among Malaysians amid the current pandemic? The question remains debatable. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to clarify this arguable question. Using a quantitative research approach, this study examines the effects of structural constraints (i.e. cost, time, space) and intrapersonal constraints on intention to travel/go holiday among Malaysian consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, this study investigates whether perceived risks moderate the relationship between the travel constraints and intention to travel. The findings of the study indicate that intrapersonal constraints have a negative effect on intention to travel, and the negative relationship between intrapersonal constraints and intention will be stronger if perceived travel risks are higher. The findings provide valuable information. Significantly, this information can be used by destination marketers and authorities to develop the right strategies and policies for increasing Malaysian consumers’ confidence towards travel in the future.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour, COVID-19 pandemic, Travel constraints, Travel risks, Travel intention