The COVID-19 pandemic triggered worldwide lockdowns and mobility restrictions, which continue to impact the global tourism industry. Early discussions on restarting the tourism industry occurred in high uncertainty constant change, and apprehension amongst political leaders and the public. Therefore, understanding public emotions and reactions toward border opening and international travel are essential. This research used the particular case of the ‘travel bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand to examine people’s range of emotions as evident in social media. An automatic emotion analysis method was applied to identify eight emotions expressed through language. Furthermore, the content analysis was applied to detect key topics and understand potential triggers of the emotions. The theoretical background is appraisal theory which helps explain how a particular emotion was aroused. The results showed that people reacted positively to the travel bubble with anticipation, joy, and trust. Although fear peaked when the travel bubble temporarily paused, the confidence in the travel bubble was restored once a situation was resolved. By gauging people’s emotions and concerns about the travel bubble, this research generates insights for tourism recovery and provides a method to gauge public emotions in future crises that affect international travel.
- appraisal theory
- content analysis
- social media
- travel bubble
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management