Political trust and residents’ support for alternative and mass tourism: an improved structural model

Robin Nunkoo, Dogan Gursoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Political trust is a key requirement for tourism policies to flourish and sustain. The purpose of the research was to investigate the determinants of political trust and analyze whether the latter influences residents’ support for mass and alternative tourism. To this end, we develop a structural model based on the social exchange theory, institutional theory of political trust, and cultural theory of political trust. The model proposes six determinants of political trust which in turn is considered to influence residents’ support for mass and alternative tourism. Data were collected from residents’ of Mauritius selected using a stratified random sampling approach. We used a survey method based on a structured questionnaire. Using AMOS, the data were subjected to a confirmatory factor analysis to determine the fit of the measurement model. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized model. Results indicated that such variables as the political and economic performance of government in tourism, interpersonal trust, and tourism benefits significantly predicted political trust. In turn, the latter was found to influence residents’ support for mass tourism only, lending support to Hetherington sacrificed-based concept borrowed from political science. The theoretical contribution of the study relates to the inclusion of the political trust variable to analyze its relationship with residents’ support for two opposing types of tourism development in a single theoretical model. We found that such relationship is contextual, depending on the object of exchange, conceptualized in here as the types of tourism residents are asked to support. Political trust figures more prominently for mass tourism than for alternative tourism given the considerable amount of sacrifices residents have to make to accommodate mass development. Our findings suggest that it is important for government to foster political trust among local people for tourism development to sustain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-339
Number of pages22
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2017


  • Resident attitudes
  • alternative tourism
  • mass tourism
  • political trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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