An exploratory and qualitative study on the meaning of transformative tourism and its facilitators and inhibitors


  • Jessica Mei Pung Department of Economics and Business, University of Cagliari, Via Sant'Ignazio, 74, 09123 Cagliari, Italy. Email:
  • Giacomo Del Chiappa Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Via Muroni, 25, 07100 Sassari, Italy. Phone: +39 (079) 20 17 313. School of Tourism & Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Email:



transformative tourism, transformation, tourist experience, wellbeing, facilitators, inhibitors


While transformative tourism may represent a timely form of tourism conveying hope in an ever-changing world, there is still limited research adopting a demand-side perspective and exploring the understanding and experiences that tourists have about transformative tourism. This paper contributes to fill this research gap by analysing transformative tourism experiences and investigating its characteristics, especially the aspects that facilitate and inhibit tourist transformation. Adopting a qualitative semi-structured interview approach, data was also collected on the nature of wellbeing experienced as result of tourism and how former travellers perceived the impact of transformation in daily life after their return. Overall, interviewees primarily viewed subjective tourist transformation as achieving greater self-efficacy, humility and personal enrichment. Findings suggest that transformation facilitators correspond to: interacting with locals and travellers, facing challenges, experiencing the sense of the place, long stays and post-travel reflection; while several aspects emerged as transformation inhibitors, such as short stays, repeated activities, familiar travel companions and the lack of access to the residents’ lifestyle. Participants reported experiencing eudaimonic wellbeing, rather than happiness and hedonia, and discussed the long-lasting effects of their tourist transformation. Managerial and marketing implications are provided, as well as future directions for transformative tourism research.




How to Cite

Pung, J., & Chiappa, G. (2020). An exploratory and qualitative study on the meaning of transformative tourism and its facilitators and inhibitors. European Journal of Tourism Research, 24, 2404.

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