Effects of place attachment on home return travel: a spatial perspective

Tingting Elle Li, Robert Douglas McKercher

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies on place--mobility relationships suggest an increasing possibility that people can have multiple place attachments at varied spatial scales. Yet, our understanding of how place attachment in different spatial scales affects mobility remains limited. This study investigates home return visits by Chinese diaspora tourists from North America who have made multiple trips to China. A total of 27 in-depth interviews with repeat home return travellers were conducted. Four different types of return movements were identified: local; dispersed; local & dispersed; and second-migration locale focused. A relationship was found between the participants’ sense of place, place identity, and home return travel. The findings suggest that home return travel is more complex than previously thought. More focused sense of place and strong personal connection to ancestral homes may lead to more localized return, while a more generic sense of place (i.e. to ‘China’) and collective personal identity would result in a more dispersed travel pattern. Family migration history and strong attachment to family's first-migration destination also lead to focused return to the place. The study highlights the fact that place and place attachment are deeply personal and can evolve over time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-376
Number of pages18
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2016


  • Chinese diaspora
  • Home return travel
  • place attachment
  • place identity
  • repeat visitation
  • spatial scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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