Skip to main content

Beyond the Tourist Experience: Analyzing the Imagination of Place and Travel in Everyday Life

Buy Article:

$30.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

This article advocates a new agenda for (media) tourism research that links questions of tourist experiences to the role and meaning of imagination in everyday life. Based on a small-scale, qualitative study among a group of 17 respondents of diverse ages and backgrounds currently residing in the Netherlands, we offer an empirical exploration of the places that are of importance for people's individual state of mind and investigate how these places relate to (potential) tourist experiences. The combination of in-depth interviews and random-cue self-reporting resulted in the following findings: 1) all our respondents regularly reside in an elaborate imaginary world, consisting of both fictional and nonfictional places; 2) this imaginary world is dominated by places that make the respondents feel nostalgic; 3) in this regard, the private home and houses from childhood are pivotal; 4) the "home" is seen as topos of the self and contrasted with "away"; 5) the imagination of "away" emerges from memories of previous tourist experiences, personal fantasies, and, last but not least, influences from popular culture. We conclude that imagining and visiting other locations are part of a life-long project of "identity work" in which personal identities are performed, confirmed and extended. By traveling, either physically or mentally, individuals anchor their identity—the entirety of ideas about who they are, where they come from, and where they think they belong—in a broader, spatial framework.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 9, 2022

This article was made available online on August 30, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "BEYOND THE TOURIST EXPERIENCE: ANALYZING THE IMAGINATION OF PLACE AND TRAVEL IN EVERYDAY LIFE".

More about this publication?
  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content