Tourist scams: exploring the dimensions of an international tourism phenomenon


  • Philip L. Pearce Foundation Professor of Tourism, School of Business, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia 4811; tel: 6147814762; fax: 6147814019; email:



tourist scams, crime, attribution, responsibility, Thailand, international comparisons


Tourist scams exist in many countries and are a subset of the long standing research area concerned with crimes against tourists. In this paper it is suggested that a defining feature of the tourist scam is the initial involvement of the tourist in the activity either through their gullibility or personal desire for an unusual or easy gain. This paper locates tourist scams in the literature on crimes against tourists and reviews work on scams in order to develop a category scheme portraying these encounters. Data collected in Thailand provide examples of scams to underpin the construction of a scheme which identifies tourist service scams, general retail scams and social interaction scams. The attribution of responsibility literature is used to interpret how scam victims are seen. A role for international comparative studies is suggested to better explain and potentially limit scam practices.




How to Cite

Pearce, P. . (2011). Tourist scams: exploring the dimensions of an international tourism phenomenon. European Journal of Tourism Research, 4(2), 147–156.