Existentialism and tourism: new research avenues

Ksenia Kirillova

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to pave avenues and stimulate further research on the intersection of existentialism and tourism. This is done by presenting the overview of the topical areas that have greatly contributed to existentialism and connecting them to contemporary tourism issues. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is structured by topical areas that received significant treatment from existentialists and are deemed relevant to the contemporary tourism research and practice. It starts with the discussion of authenticity and anxiety and then proceeds to the issues of alienation, death and mortality. It ends with a review of the sections on freedom and religion. In the conclusion, broader issues related to existentialism and (urban) tourism are discussed. Findings: Aside from existential authenticity/anxiety and alienation, other existential categories (mortality, death, freedom and faith) are employed in a manner that is limited, superficial or not employed at all. The potential for tourism research lies in shifting the focus from a common tourist to special populations and hosting communities and service providers, as well as in investigating existential dimensions of city experiences of both tourists and residents. Originality/value: This is the first paper to exclusively and explicitly discuss the links between existential philosophical categories and tourism research. It is hoped that tourism scholars extend these ideas and assess their relevance across non-European and culturally and religiously diverse contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Tourism Cities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2019


  • Alienation
  • Angst
  • Authenticity
  • Death
  • Freedom
  • Tourism experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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