Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of King Saud University - Science








School of Business and Law




Dr. Jun Wen’s High-Achieving Researcher Scheme Funding 2021, Edith Cowan University / Dr. Danni Zheng’s the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant No 72102045]


Wen, J., Zheng, D., & Phau, I. (2022). Understanding and treating suboptimal health status through tourism engagement: An exploratory study of chinese domestic tourists. Journal of King Saud University-Science, 34(7), 102228.


Objectives: Suboptimal health status (SHS) is a global public health concern of worldwide academic interest. The topic is popular in the medical sciences, including public health; however, other disciplines have paid little attention to this condition despite aging societies. This study introduced SHS into the tourism literature, a logical connection given the established positive correlation between well-being and tourism engagement. Lifestyle factors are crucial to SHS. Accordingly, this study examines tourists’ sociodemographic characteristics, tourism-related attributes, and lifestyle behaviors to compare individuals with SHS to those with optimal health status. Methods: Chinese tourists in Shandong Province, China who had visited Mount Tai within 6 months of study recruitment (October to December 2021) completed a pen-and-pencil survey to answer questions for this cross-sectional research study. In total, 360 surveys were eligible for analysis following initial screening. Results: The self-report SHS status survey, SHSQ-25, was used to determine the portion of study participants exhibiting symptoms of SHS. The descriptive analysis indicated that 36.4 % (n = 131) of the sample (N = 360) presented with SHS. Three lifestyle behavior factors (i.e., work stress, sleep length, and drinking length), five SHS domains (i.e., fatigue, cardiovascular system, immune system, digestive system, and mental status), and two tourism-related attributes (i.e., international travel frequency and travel expenditure) were integrated using canonical correlation analysis to determine relationships among these three domains. Conclusions: Results from this study demonstrated the meaningful relationships among lifestyle behaviors, tourism-related attributes, and SHS. Previous work has implied that tourism participation may enhance individuals’ health status and well-being; however, conclusions from this study are contradictory to those findings. For travelers with SHS to fully benefit from tourism, more information is needed to develop suitable marketing strategies and tourism products. This study provides a starting point to direct future research to further explore motivations of and strategies to benefit tourists with SHS.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.