A Thoughtful Journey Toward Sustainable Choice: Can Mindfulness Enhance Behavior Intent?

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ABSTRACT

The tourism industry continues to mature as many consumers are demanding more responsible and sustainable development. Mindfulness has been studied in tourism as a cognitive trait recognized by actively

ABSTRACT

The tourism industry continues to mature as many consumers are demanding more responsible and sustainable development. Mindfulness has been studied in tourism as a cognitive trait recognized by actively processing information through an acute sensitivity to an individual's environment and openness to new information. Mindfulness has been shown to predict behaviors related to tourism and recreation. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) has been extensively applied to understand human behavior. Despite TPB's extensive history in the social sciences, researchers continue to incorporate new social factors to explain behavior. This study employs an emerging psychological construct, mindfulness, into the TPB model as an enhancement to conceptual and empirical discrepancies.

This study aimed to: (1) understand the presence of mindfulness among those who travel, and (2) test a hypothesized relationship between mindfulness and intent to be sustainable on vacation. The research seeks to answer - does mindfulness add to a traveler's likelihood to behave sustainably in a destination with active sustainable initiatives? The purpose of this study is to showcase emerging consumer traits, like mindfulness, to enhance visitor experiences through sustainability initiatives.

A survey research method was employed to provide a broad, generalizable set of findings from a group of people who were planning a trip and may have visited a specific destination. This study partnered with Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau to access such a population. The survey was conducted with a self-administered online survey and 550 completed surveys were obtained. Behavior intention to be sustainable, in any visited destination, was regressed twice to address the research question. The first regression included original TPB independent variables (such as attitude, social norms, perceived behavioral control). The second regression added the mindfulness variable. The mindfulness variable was found to be positive and significant in a general context. The model was tested for those who traveled to Sedona and mindfulness and actual behaviors associated with sustainability were strongly related. A traveler's perception of their ability to control behaviors had a significant role when paired with mindfulness. Results suggest the TPB model has availability to incorporate new consumer behavior traits to understand behavior intention.