Trust has emerged as a key factor in any virtual transaction. Therefore, the protection of trustworthiness should be a central matter of concern in the online tourism sector, especially in emerging and, hence, more fragile markets such as nautical tourism. In this study, an exploratory investigation was conducted of four online sailing platforms using an inductive content analysis of the data collected. The goal was to examine cybersecurity-related indicators that may affect trustworthiness of the platforms. To this end, the study focused on two freely accessible types of information: the level of transaction security and the level of concern for personal privacy. Given that it may be unclear to many users how a small text file (a cookie) created by a website and stored in the user’s computer can affect the user’s privacy, an interdisciplinary disclosive computer ethics approach was used for unveiling the risk related to cookies, especially third-party cookies, or web trackers. Interestingly, geopolitical and geoeconomic correlations were noted when interpreting the findings from a geographical point of view, although it was concluded that more research is needed to better understand the phenomenon. However, notwithstanding the relatively limited sample, this work offers valuable insights into a systematic understanding of how cybersecurity contributes to increased trust and, hence, improved competitiveness.
Keywords: online platforms, cyber security, tourism management, nautical tourism, cyber geography
by Enrico Panai, Aleksandra Łapko, Maria Veronica Camerada, Gavino Mariotti, Roma Strulak-Wójcikiewicz