MITIGATING TOURISM FRAUD IN NORTHERN AND CENTRAL LUZON-UNDERSTANDING FACTORS AFFECTING DOMESTIC TOURISTS AND ENHANCING TRUST IN DESTINATION EXPERIENCES
Keywords:Tourism, Northern and Central Luzon, Fraud susceptibility, Trust in tourism, Domestic tourists, Socio-demographic profile
Tourism, as a pivotal industry globally, plays a vital role in economic development and cultural exchange. Northern and Central Luzon in the Philippines are prime destinations, offering diverse attractions to both international and domestic tourists. How the rapid growth of tourism in these regions brings forth challenges, most notably the risk of fraud, which can severely impact tourists' experiences and trust in the destination. This research examines the factors that influence the susceptibility of domestic tourists to fraud in Northern and Central Luzon and its ramifications for the tourism industry. Utilizing a descriptive survey approach and questionnaires, the researchers collect data on various dimensions, including the socio-demographic profile of domestic tourists, their awareness of fraud, impulsiveness, trust tendencies, social support, and self-control. Our initial findings reveal that domestic tourists are equally vulnerable to various forms of fraud when exploring these enticing destinations. Importantly, the level of victimization experienced by tourists significantly affects their trust in tourism destinations, with implications for the local economy. Our research also indicates that domestic tourists possess awareness of fraud risks and knowledge of its forms, though this awareness does not necessarily translate into resistance against fraudulent activities. This study underscores the urgency of addressing fraud in Northern and Central Luzon's tourism industry, highlighting its potential impact on the region's reputation and economic prosperity. While domestic tourists are cognizant of fraud risks, further investigation is needed to comprehend the underlying factors contributing to their vulnerability and to develop strategies for enhancing social support and self-control as protective measures, ultimately fostering a safer and more trusted tourism experience in this vibrant and culturally rich region.