Travel Behavior and Fear of Crime

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This year, more foreign citizens visited the United Kingdom than in January 2016. (ONS 2016). Despite terror attacks in London and other major European cities, the tourist industry in the United Kingdom is thriving. This paper examines how tourists' behavior is influenced by their fear of violence. The parts that follow (a) describe relevant literature; (b) include secondary data sources; (c) address primary data collection and analysis; and (d) clarify the ethical concepts involved in the study. The study of Hajibaba and Dolnicar (2016) identified cancellation behavior as the dependent variable while the independent variables were personality, risk taking, international travel experience, travel party composition, and motivations. These variables were correlated with six crises, particularly financial, crime, pandemic, political instability, terrorist attack, and earthquake. Their results show that “risk aversion is a common driver of cancellation across all kinds of crises” (p.103). Other characteristics, such as personality and experience in international travel can likewise have an effect whether to cancel or not.

In turn, Machado (2012) looked into the effects of a natural disaster on a major tourist destination in Europe. He focused on Madeira Island of Portugal which experienced severe flooding in February 2010 resulting to loss of lives and property. Machado (2012) pointed out that since there has been a tendency to “underestimate the importance of safety, security and risk” in previous studies, he proposes a “strategic approach to destination management from proactive pre-crisis planning through to strategic implementation and finally evaluation and feedback” (Abstract). The study of Mawby, Brunt and Hambly (2000) focused on the experience of British people regarding their latest holiday. Their data showed that tourists experienced “high victimization rates” (Abstract) while on holiday. They pointed out that despite tourists’ concern over security and safety, only a few consider crime as a problem when they decide their holiday destination.

These three studies are key sources because they can contribute to the overall design of the research project.. Hajibaba and Dolcinar (2016) provides a summary of previous studies related to how tourists behave when confronted with a particular crisis and presents a graphic representation of their “hypothesized drivers of cancellation behavior” adopted from their earlier work in 2015 (p. 99). Such graph may also be used as a reference for the current study. Machado (2012) highlighted the importance of destination image. In the case of Madeira, the image projected was its lack of preparedness for disasters such as the intense flooding. Such image can contribute to the drop in the number of tourists that may visit the island. Finally, Mawby, Brunt, and Hambly (2000) presented tourists perception. Their findings also showed a particular aspect that has not been shown in the literature yet.

Secondary Data Sources

Three potential sources for secondary data are the Mirror website, Tourism and Hospitality Research Journal, and several chapters from the book The Geography of Tourism and Recreation: Environment, Place and Space. The article of Wheatstone (2016) published by the Mirror website identifies latest crime figures in England and Wales. From its analysis of five victim-based categories, specifically “violence against the person, theft, sex offences, robbery and criminal damage and arson,” Cleveland came out as the one “with  the most victim-based crime per head in England and Wales.” The article likewise presented graphs comparing different cities in England and Wales and answering questions such as (a) where are you most/least likely to be a victim; (b) where are you most/least likely to be attacked; (c) where are you most/least likely to be stolen from; and (d) where are you most/least at risk of sex attacks. These data may be used by the researcher in formulating questions in the researcher. For example, the questionnaire may contain a question that asks which among the areas (enumerated in this article) they will visit while in the UK.

The journal article of Wright (2013) investigated perceptions of tourists and hosts in the volunteer tourism sector. The author’s discussion of key concepts related to the volunteer tourism may be used as reference in the further development of the current study. Finally, the first three chapters of the book by Hall and Page (2014) give a valuable overview about the demand, supply, and importance of tourism. One example of such data is a graph presenting an “Inventory of the supply of leisure in a working class community… in East London” (p.44). Information from this publication may be used by this student to provide a background and explain terminologies in the current study.

Primary Data Requirements

This researcher shall carry out specific steps to answer the question “Does a tourist change their travel behavior to accommodate for their fear of crime.” Using an inductive approach, data shall be collected through quantitative methods. The target population is the tourist sector in the UK, both local and international. This researcher shall undertake a careful sample selection to minimize biases. The sample shall come from visitors to specific tourist destinations in the UK. They are passengers waiting to board their trains in specific stations in London. A systematic random sampling shall be implemented wherein the 5th passenger in the row of seats shall be selected as respondent.

Data Collection

The researcher shall design a questionnaire that takes into account the target respondents and the information that can be generated by the instrument. The first part of the questionnaire shall contain the respondent’s profile. It shall also contain the respondent’s number which shall be used to identify the participant during the coding process.

The questions include participants understanding of key terminologies. Some of these include the concept of “crime,” and “safety”. Their perceptions of what they consider as “favorable tourist destination” may also be asked. The questionnaire serves as the general script of the interview. It shall contain closed questions, wherein respondents’ answers have a particular box to be ticked. Some questions would require respondent to choose among answers in a likert scale. For example, a question wherein the respondent is asked to rate several cities and he/she will have to identify the likelihood of visiting these places. The answers may be, “most likely to visit,” “will definitely visit” or “will definitely not visit.” The questions and the instructions for answering will all be written in the questionnaire to ensure that the survey is administered in a uniform manner.

This researcher shall conduct a personal interview survey wherein questions shall be read and respondent shall give his/her answer. The questions are structured. In the respondent’s profile, only the age accepts a continuous variable. The rest of the answers are contained in boxes that are to be checked. The survey will be onsite. Managers in the tourist industry often make use of onsite surveys (Veal 2006). A potential location for this study is the train station because passengers are gathered for a particular period as they wait for their ride. This location is selected because it is accessible and there is a constant supply of potential respondents. The onsite survey also makes it possible for the researcher to conduct the survey during successive days with the very little chance of interviewing the same passenger twice. After each interview, the researcher shall write in his/her field notes, general observations about the interview process. Comments about the interviewee’s actuations or non-verbal cues may also help the researcher understand or identify patterns during the discussion of results.

Benefits and Limitations

A major benefit of undertaking a survey method using a questionnaire is collecting a substantial amount of information using a single instrument. The data gathered can be analyzed in a number of ways after processing the information. The personal survey is preferred because the researcher is able to control the information that is given and limitations in terms of literacy are avoided. In instances when respondent does not comprehend the question, the researcher can explain. At the same time, when respondent gives a vague answer, the researcher can also probe. Since the researcher is the one administering the survey, there is little chance of missing some questions. However, there are also limitations in the conduct of personal surveys. This method is costly because the researcher has to interview all the respondents one at a time. There is also the possibility of interviewer bias. Unlike conducting semi-structured interviews wherein the researcher has a set of interview questions, the preparation of the questionnaire requires more time. Each of the questions needs to be carefully phrased to minimize biases. These questions also require use of appropriate words, should not be leading questions, and must not be prejudiced against any gender or ethnicity. The questionnaire also needs to be field-tested first to ensure its reliability.

Data Analysis

The choices for each question shall have a corresponding code to facilitate data analysis. The researcher then proceeds to compare the variables and assess whether these variables are correlated. Using certain data-processing tools such as Stata or SPSS, this researcher will then identify the significance of the independent variables. The use of these computer tools will facilitate a faster way of studying the collected information. In comparison to qualitative methods, the survey method generates more opportunities to analyze collected data. Since questionnaires can be administered to a large sample results are more likely to be significant. The collected information can also be generalized to a wider population because of the large sample size.

Ethical Principles

Every research project needs to adhere to specific ethical standards. In designing the instrument, the researcher makes sure that the phrasing of the questions does not offend any particular gender, age-group, and ethnicity. Each word shall likewise be closely reviewed to ensure that such use does not degrade any person or entity. Since the study is about fear of crime, the researcher shall carefully present information so that certain places in the target geographical focus will not be misperceived as “unsafe.”

The principles of confidentiality, informed consent, and right to withdraw will likewise be applied all throughout the stages of the research. The target respondent will be briefed first about the aims of the research, assured of confidentiality of his/her responses, and given the option to withdraw. His/her consent to participate in the research will also be secured prior to the start of the survey. Only adults, aged 18 and above, will be asked to participate in the survey. All information included in the questionnaire, particularly respondent’s profile, will be treated with utmost confidentiality. The final research report shall refer to respondent’s number and shall not include actual names of respondents.


Bernard, H.R. (2000). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. London: Sage Publications.

Bryman, A. Bell, E. (2007) Business Research Methods. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hajibaba, H. and Dolnicar, S. (2016). Drivers of Trip Cancellations among Australian Travellers. In M. Kozak and N. Kozak, ed., Tourist Behavior: An International Perspective. Oxfordshire: CABI, pp. 97-105.

Hall, C.M. and Page, S.J. (2014). The Geography of Tourism and Recreation: Environment Place and Space. London: Routledge.

Machado, L.P. (2012). The consequences of natural disasters in touristic destinations: The case of Madeira Island, Portugal, Tourism & Hospitality Research, vol. 12, no. 1, p. 50-55.

Mawby, R., Brunt, P. and Hambly, Z. (2000). Fear of crime among British holidaymakers, The British Journal of Criminology, vol. 40, no. 3, and pp.468-479.

Office for National Statistics (2017). Statistical bulletin, Overseas travel and tourism: January 2017. [Online] Available at: [Accessed March 25, 2017].

Veal, A.J. (2006) Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism: A Practical Guide. London: Prentice Hall.

Wheatstone, R. (2016). Where is the most dangerous place to live in England and Wales? Latest crime figures revealed. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed March 24, 2017].

Wright, H. (2013). Volunteer tourism and its (mis)perceptions: A comparative analysis of tourist/host perceptions, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 239-250.

October 20, 2021

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