Our understanding of transformative tourism has recently advanced, yet there still needs to be a gap between conceptualizations and experiences. Using existing theories defining tourist transformation, a new study by the University of Otago empirically examines male and female travelers’ subjective experiences and identifies types of transformation.
The study revealed that men and women experience change while traveling in similar ways.
Since the lifting of COVID-19 travel limitations, consumers are more aware of the value they wish to derive from their vacations and are searching out activities to reach new levels of enrichment. In this study, scientists mainly identified nine types of tourist transformation, a process people undergo when they experience change during a trip.
Lead author Dr. Jessica Mei Pung of the Department of Marketing says of the types identified, there was a significant difference between men’s and women’s experiences in just two – reflection and transformative learning outcomes.
“Female travelers have a greater engagement in consciousness and self-examination than males,” Dr. Pung says.
“Secondly, female travelers show a greater achievement of self-efficacy as a result of facing challenges and solving problems during their trips.
“Holiday experiences are an opportunity for female travelers to reflect more on their relationships, while males might have a less reflective approach to change and be more oriented towards mastering a specific activity.”
Research comparing female tourists’ transformations with males’ is limited and is reflected in the tourism experiences on offer. There are getaway packages and well-being retreats for women, while men are targeted with more general offerings, especially in sports tourism.
Dr. Pung said, “The study provides useful knowledge for the design of transformative tourism products and services. Research comparing female tourists’ transformations with males’ is limited and is reflected in the tourism experiences on offer.”
“For women, there are getaway packages and wellbeing retreats, while men are targeted with more general offerings, especially within sports tourism.”
“There is an untapped market for transformative trips that are not necessarily portrayed as feminine or masculine but can deliver different experiences and benefits. As a result, tourism operators need to rethink how they communicate the offering to their male customers as effectively as they do to their female customers.”
“Interestingly, the study, which surveyed 514 people, reveals men and women experience the other seven types of tourist transformation in similar ways.”
“For example, there are no differences in how they experience the distance from their everyday lives, or in their levels of immersion in nature and the social dynamics of the holiday activities.”
“Independence, freedom, and self-confidence are equally perceived by both sets of respondents, showing that feelings of empowerment do not represent an outcome exclusive to women travelers.”