Chloe Riley

Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Lori Pennington-Gray


This paper aims to analyze the influence of state political affiliation and policy on affective risk perceptions, in the context of COVID-19. The study of risk perceptions in the travel literature is important because it can help industry leaders predict tourist decision-making and ensure feelings of safety for travelers. The relevance of risk perceptions has become even more apparent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study analyzes three policies put into place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19: mask mandate, cancellation of public events, and school closures. Affective risk perceptions were measured by the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative’s COVID-19 Perceptions of Risk Travel Survey. These findings will help inform future crisis management decisions by providing insight into the effect of policy and state political affiliation on affective risk perceptions. It will highlight the importance of customizing crisis communication and marketing in the tourism industry to decrease affective risk perceptions in target populations. By doing so, tourists will feel safe and be encouraged to continue travel.