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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Pre-trip and En-route Characteristics of Transformative Tourism Experiences

Published: May 27, 2020


Andrea Insch, University of Otago; Nicky Richardson, International Office, University of Otago


Transformative experiences; Existential transformation; Eco-tourism


This study aimed to identify the features of transformative tourism experiences at the pre-trip and en-route stages, providing further insights into an individual’s existential transformation through tourism. Adopting the transformative tourism framework (Kirrilova, Lehto & Cai, 2017a), this study focused on the first four of this nine-step framework. Using the guidelines prescribed by Thompson, Locander and Pollio (1989), data was collected through face-to-face phenomenological interviews with tourists at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary – Te Korowai o Mihiwaka - in Dunedin, New Zealand. In contrast to previous research (Kirrilova et al. 2017a), findings demonstrate that the post-trip evaluation (deemed to be pivotal) need not be post-trip, but previous similar experiences can be recalled and act as a trigger for evaluation while en-route. Evidence from this research suggests that the personal state of being is a vital element in transformative predictions and outcomes. Further research is needed to confirm the findings of this study.