Halal food anxiety in a non-Muslim destination: the impact on the psychological well-being of Muslim travelers during the quarantine period in China

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This study alludes to the highly relevant but scholarly underexplored phenomenon of halal food anxiety that Muslim travelers encounter in non-Muslim destinations. Set in the backdrop of pandemic travel, data were collected from Muslim travelers going through mandatory quarantine requirements of 3 weeks in Wuhan, China. Terror management theory (Greenberg et al., 1986) and conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 1988;1989) provided theoretical ground for this study. The results suggested that halal food is viewed as a highly valuable resource by Muslim travelers. Still, socio-spatial confinement of quarantine limits the availability of authenticated halal food, inducing halal food anxiety to settle in. Naturally, halal food anxiety was more prevalent among Muslim travelers who attach high importance to halal food to their self-concept. Halal food anxiety was positively associated with pandemic travel anxiety but negatively related to the psychological well-being of Muslim travelers. This study adds to the missing gastronomic aspect in the emerging scholarship of pandemic travel. It furthers the theoretical debate on the contingency effect of halal food resources to act as an anxiety buffer for Muslim travelers. For practitioners, various avenues are highlighted to exploit the vast commercial halal food market in non-Muslim majority destinations.

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Current Issues in Tourism

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