Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Patrick A. Singleton


Patrick A. Singleton


Ziqi Song


Michelle Mekker


Peter Howe


Gyan Nyaupane


Keunhyun Park


This dissertation aims at discerning tourists’ behaviors and decision making processes for outdoor recreation participation, during the early COVID-19 pandemic. An outdoor recreation trip is defined in this study as “a journey involving at least one overnight stay away from home, and where the purpose is to engage in recreational activities in an outdoor or natural environment.” This dissertation first explores the factors that inhibit tourists’ desires for participating in outdoor recreation trips, the strategies they apply to avoid COVID-19 transmission, and the motivational factors that induce their desires for outdoor recreation participation in the COVID-19 context. The impact of COVID-19 is heterogeneous, in nature, with some liberals about the virus whereas the others being more cautious. Then, this dissertation identifies the tourist segments in the population based on their COVID-19 perceptions, and their ability to apply strategies during planning or participating in outdoor recreation trips. Additionally, how tourists' COVID-19 perceptions along with their information search behavior affect the formation of attitudes, desires, social norms, and intentions to participate in outdoor recreation trips in the future is described. Finally, from a group of respondents who recently participated in outdoor recreation trips, this study discerns the relationship between tourists’ evaluation of COVID-19 measures at the destination and tourists' value, satisfaction, and future intentions to visit or recommend the destination to others. Based on different analyses, this study sheds light on tourists' perceptions and behaviors which are useful for tourism destinations and managers to develop marketing, operational, and advertising strategies.