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The Relationship Between Positive Psychology and Tourist Behavior Studies

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Positive psychology is an area of study that seeks to highlight the role of positive emotions, character strengths, and positive institutions serving human happiness and well-being. There has been a rapid rise in prominence of this area of psychology since the year 2000 and tourism studies have not yet made as many connections to the new study area as might be expected. This article reviews the basic concerns in positive psychology and highlights two areas of study in tourist behavior—specifically, the study of optimism and the assessment of positive emotions of visitors during their experience—to illustrate some of the potential in establishing connections. Further possibilities to build fresh insights for tourist behavior studies are noted, including a richer scrutiny of the underlying dimensions of the experience economy and broader appraisals of tourists' satisfaction. It is argued further that the direction of influence need not be uniformly one way. For example, tourism research can offer insights into the operation of mindfulness and the assessment of authenticity in different ways from that conceived of by psychologists working in more constrained experimental settings. Further, the scope and scale of attention to positive psychology themes in tourism settings may also have important consequences for the integration and wellbeing of tourism researchers into broader, very active, and increasingly well-respected academic communities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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