What triggers transformative tourism experiences?

Ksenia Kirillova, Xinran Lehto, Liping Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


This research investigates triggers of transformative tourism experiences and their circumstances through the lenses of existential philosophy. Drawing on descriptive phenomenological method, 10 narratives were gathered and analyzed for this purpose. We found that triggering episodes tend to occur at the end of travel, to evoke intense mixed emotions and heightened cognition, to engender the sense of transiency, demarcation, and connection to something grand. It furthermore appears that when triggers are co-created by tourists, an extraordinary experience is a result; transformative experience, however, occurs when triggers are also made sense of. We present a theoretical model that outlines transformative mechanisms of tourism experiences and discuss practical implication as related to tourism experience provision and destination marketing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-511
Number of pages14
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


  • experience economy
  • phenomenology
  • tourism experience
  • Transformative experience
  • triggers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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