How Do Social Media Influencers Affect Digital Natives 2.0 To Travel Inside Egypt? Integrating the Theory of Planned Behavior and Elaboration Likelihood Model

Document Type : Original Article


Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Minia University, Egypt


Understanding generational differences in tourist behaviors helps in predicting and realizing future tourism trends. The new tourism market will be dominated by Digital Natives who have high expectations for technology and a more customized travel experience. In this vein, positive online reviews, suggestions, and recommendations provided by social media influencers (SMIs) help improve tourists' perception of tourism services and destinations, strengthen brand image, drive tourists' behavioral change, and increase tourism services sales. This research is designed to investigate the influence of SMIs on travel behavioral intention among the Digital Natives 2.0, people born after 1990, in Egypt. Through integrating the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion and Theory of Planned Behavior, the study investigates the influences of the central route, argument quality, and the peripheral route, attractiveness, and credibility, on the attitude towards tourism SMIs which further affects the behavioral intention of Digital Natives 2.0 to travel to destinations endorsed by SMIs. Besides, the influence of subjective norms and perceived behavior control on behavioral intention are examined. Data is collected from 391 respondents, and the PLS-SEM technique is utilized to test the study hypotheses. The results supported that argument quality, attractiveness, and credibility are fundamental factors shaping Digital Natives 2.0 attitude towards tourism SMIs. Significantly, these three factors together predict 77.4% of the variation in the attitude towards tourism SMIs. Moreover, the study's model predicts 45.3% of Digital Natives 2.0 behavioral intention to travel to destinations endorsed by SMIs in Egypt. This makes social media influencers highly relevant for this market segment's travel decision-making. This research suggests that Egypt's tourism public and private sectors cannot afford to ignore the SMIs as an effective marketing tool for influencing domestic tourists' behavioral intention, especially Digital Natives 2.0, who represent more than 30% of total social media users in Egypt.