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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01603

What Makes Tourist Experiences Interesting

 Svein Larsen1*, Katharina Wolff1,  Rouven Doran1 and  Torvald Øgaard2
  • 1University of Bergen, Norway
  • 2University of Stavanger, Norway

Traditional tourist role theory implies that tourists are either novelty seekers or familiarity seekers, while the interaction-hypothesis-of-inherent-interest predicts that interestingness is maximal when novel and familiar elements simultaneously are present in the experience. This paper tests these conflicting theoretical perspectives. In Study 1 (N = 1029) tourists were asked about their preferences for meeting tourists from their home country (familiar) or from a foreign country (unfamiliar), either at home (familiar) or abroad (unfamiliar). These preferences were observed in familiarity seekers and novelty seekers. Study 2 (N = 760) asked tourists to indicate the interestingness of well-known (familiar) and unknown (unfamiliar) sights at home (familiar) and abroad (unfamiliar) in familiarity seekers and novelty seekers alike. In Study 3 (N = 1526) tourists rated interestingness of familiar and unfamiliar attractions in familiar and unfamiliar surroundings for either themselves or for other tourists. Results show that perceived interestingness of tourist experiences depends on a combination of familiarity and novelty, for both familiarity seekers and novelty seekers. These results therefore are supportive of the interaction-hypothesis-of-inherent-interest; seemingly cognitive factors are better predictors of interestingness of tourist experiences than personality is.

Keywords: interesting tourist experience, novelty, Familiarity, Tourist roles, interaction hypothesis of interest

Received: 10 May 2019; Accepted: 25 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Nikolaos Stylos, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Anestis Fotiadis, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Ade Oriade, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Larsen, Wolff, Doran and Øgaard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Svein Larsen, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway, svein.larsen@uib.no