NS29 Session 27

29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research
Shaping mobile futures: Challenges and possibilities in precarious times

21-23 September 2021


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Title: The new decade of tourism experiences – Everything has changed or has it?

Organisers: Juulia Räikkönem and Peter Björk

Affiliation: University of Turku



The Nordic scholars are at the frontline of tourism experience research. During the past decades, research interest has shifted from traditional themes, such as authenticity and motivation, to transformative and life-changing experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to lead to profound changes in the industry and the uncertain future requires research on the consequences of the pandemic and critical evaluations of the value of tourism experiences as they will continue to exist in one way or another.

The shift from the experience economy to the economy of meaning intensifies the ways of attracting and engaging tourists. New technologies continue to enhance and may even replace real tourism experiences. Besides smart tourism, we now discuss smart tourists and destinations. The measurement of experiences has shifted from service quality and customer satisfaction to experience value, highlighting the emotional aspects of tourism. Wearable self-tracking technologies and other tools previously used in laboratories only, have become mainstream. The economic recession of 2008 gave birth to staycations – the only possible form of current tourism in many countries. Furthermore, the pandemic has widened the “flight shame” related to the ecological crisis to “travel shame” that may even result in secret tourism experiences.

Despite the pandemic, tourism experiences remain a powerful resource of the global tourism industry. The new decade offers multiple paths for deepening the understanding of emotional tourism experiences in an era that has changed everything – or has it? The session gathers tourism researchers to share their theoretical ideas and empirical findings on co-creating meaningful experiences with the tourists of the new decade.