Tourism and gratitude: Valuing acts of kindness

Sebastian Filep, Julian Macnaughton, Troy Glover

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Explorations of kindness and gratitude, a felt sense of thankfulness, are missing from tourism studies. Such explorations shed light on psychological value of relationships and social capital. We adopted a positive psychology theoretical lens to explore acts of kindness from strangers towards tourists and to understand how these acts are valued. To meet that aim, we conducted a study with twenty Canadian tourists. Through thematic analysis of semi structured, in-depth interviews, we identified these themes: trust in the other person; a sense of risk or adventurousness; novelty or authenticity of the experience; and eudaimonic growth, that is, receiving kindness from strangers indicated well-being beyond experiencing pleasures. Costs and benefits to benefactors were identified. We developed a model that explains how acts of kindness are personally valued by tourists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Gratitude
  • Happiness and well-being
  • Kindness
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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