Moving Beyond Subjective Well-Being: A Tourism Critique

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Tourism research on topics such as happiness, quality of life of tour-ists, and tourist well-being has flourished in recent years. This literature clarifies the subjective value of tourist experiences, provides new direc-tions for tourism branding and promotion, and opens doors to fresh re-search on the potential benefits of tourist experiences to mental health. Subjective well-being theory has been typically used by tourism re-searchers to help conceptualize and measure tourist happiness. In lay terms, this theory suggests that happiness is life satisfaction and pleas-ure; the theory is popular and useful but cannot explain tourist happi-ness. To craft a more complete picture of tourist happiness, a deeper qualitative appreciation of meaningful tourist experiences and special and engaging tourist moments is required. This brief critique highlights the problems of conceptualizing tourist happiness and suggests an al-ternative approach to the subjective well-being theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-274
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • marketing
  • psychology
  • tourism behavior
  • tourism emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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