PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework for understanding tourist experiences based on concepts from evolutionary, cognitive and social psychology. This framework integrates concepts from mindfulness theory and story-telling theory and seeks to better explain the nature of tourist experiences.Design/methodology/approachThe paper reviews some core conceptual approaches to understanding the concept of experience as a psychological driver in tourism. It will then set a series of research questions and explore some of these through a qualitative analysis of tourist stories and experiences in two South African destinations – Kruger National Park and Soweto. This analysis combines participant observation, content analysis of promotional literature and tourist blogs.FindingsEvidence supports a set of propositions derived from integrating mindfulness and storytelling theory. Stories do play a significant role in encouraging mindful visitors and supporting more positive tourist experiences.Originality/valueThis paper combines two different approaches to understanding tourist experiences to create a new framework for understanding the cognitive processes involved in tourist experiences and how these link to outcomes.
International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 5, 2017
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