Tourism and Existential Transformation: An Empirical Investigation

Ksenia Kirillova, Xinran Lehto, Liping Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


Couched in the context of the experience economy 3.0, this research conceptualized transformations as changes in existential authenticity and anxiety, and phenomenologically explored the essence of a transformative tourist experience and subsequent long-term changes. This research uncovered nine chronologically ordered themes in which existentially oriented concerns were prevalent. It found that tourists did not reflect on existential givens in situ until a triggering episode initiated the meaning-making process. Existential anxiety felt post-trip was found to motivate tourists to resolve pertinent existential dilemmas and to initiate meaningful life changes. Participants sustained enhanced existential authenticity and became more sensitive to existential anxiety in their lives thereafter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-650
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • existential anxiety
  • existential authenticity
  • experience economy
  • tourist experience
  • transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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