chapter  1
12 Pages

Ways of conceptualising the tourist experience: a review of literature

ByCHRIS RYAN

The purpose of this chapter is to offer a review of past literature and concepts of how tourists experience the holiday destinations they visit. However, in offering such a review, one needs to be mindful of the context within which the reviewer operates as this determines a number of key evaluations. First, it is to be assumed that the reviewer has a familiarity with the literature being reviewed but, in addition, any evaluation of such literature itself reflects the writer’s own experiences as a researcher, and the context within which such research has been undertaken. Geographical context is thus important as, in part, it determines the nature of the destinations being examined and the cultural frameworks that dominate in those locations. Traditionally, the academic literature in tourist behaviour has been dominated by the North Atlantic English speaking world, which is also the home of many international business concerns. But in the twenty-first century other voices are coming much more frequently to the fore. The number of Chinese universities offering tourism is measured in the hundreds, and it might not be an exaggeration that the number of Chinese academics in our field may have alone doubled the number of academics teaching and undertaking research in tourism, even before one considers colleagues working in other Asian countries.