A state-of-the-art review of tourist decision-making literature

Le Thai Phong, Dung Le

  • Tạp chí Kinh tế Đối ngoại
  • Le Thai Phong
  • Dung Le



Decision-making theories in tourism can be classified into three groups based on their underlined assumptions: rational choice, affect-driven and dual-process theories. Rational choice theories are the dominant framework in many fields including economics, political science, finance, and marketing. Consumers are considered as “rational-decision-makers” who evaluate available options by rational thinking. In contrast, the affec-driven theories assume that tourists are hedonic decision-makers and their choice is influenced and guided by affective factors (i.e., emotions, feelings). Dual-process theories reconcile these two opposite approaches by proposing a dual-system of decision making: System 1 related to automatic, emotional, non-conscious process, and System 2 involving rational thinking (Evans, 2008). This review paper provides a general picture of how tourism decision-making literature has been developed with a focus on the latest advancement, dual-system theories. Tourism marketers may find this paper beneficial in understanding tourist behaviours, in particular, tourists’ destination choice. By advancing our knowledge of tourist decision-making, this paper provides useful guidelines for tourism marketers to develop better marketing initiatives.

Key words: Tourist behaviour, decision-making, dual-system, destination choice, marketing