Author: Nasiri, Hakimeh
Title: Aesthetic experiences in tourism : tourists, residents, and destination aesthetic features
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2022
Subject: Aesthetics
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: 450 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The study aims 1) to identify and describe aesthetically pleasant, unpleasant, and borderline experiences; 2) to explore the effects of destination aesthetic qualities as associated with each type of tourism aesthetic experiences; 3) to explore similarities and differences of tourists and residents in terms of consuming aesthetics of the destination. Several gaps were observed in the existing literature, including a lack of conceptualization of a comprehensive typology of aesthetic experiences, a lack of knowledge about constituents of such experiences, a lack of knowledge on how destination aesthetic features are influential on creating aesthetic experiences, and a lack of research attention to residents as part of aesthetic experiences.
The study adopted an exploratory mixed-method approach: a qualitative study (Phase I) to address the first objective of the study, followed by the quantitative component (Phase II) to address the second and third objectives of the study. In Phase I, Husserl's descriptive methodology is adopted. Then 114 detailed descriptions of tourism aesthetic experiences were collected by interviewing 28 tourists visiting Hong Kong. The data were analysed based on Giorgi's Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology. The study empirically validated the conceptually developed typology of tourism aesthetic experiences. That is, the experiences of the beautiful, the sublime, the picturesque, the beaugly, the ugbeaful, and the ugly. Also, the study identified the phenomenological descriptions of the constituents of six different types of aesthetic experiences.
Following the findings from Phase I, in Phase II cross-sectional survey was adopted as the research method. A survey was developed using Perceived Destination Aesthetic Qualities scale.
The surveys were conducted in Kish, Iran. Data were collected by recruiting 289 domestic tourists visiting Kish and 356 residents living in Kish. To analyse the data a series of multiple linear regression analyses were performed. The results showed among all aesthetic qualities (i.e., Locale characteristics, Scope, Upkeep, Accord, Perceived age, and Shape) only some qualities are influential on the frequency of occurrence of certain tourism aesthetic experiences and not with others. For example, Locale Characteristics (mostly referring to a setting – urban or nature) are influential on the frequency of occurrence of the experiences of the beautiful and the picturesque; Scope (or a sense of scale) to the frequency of the picturesque; and Shape to that of the sublime. However, the frequency of occurrence of aesthetically pleasant experiences is not affected by any aesthetic qualities of Upkeep (or a sense of being clean and well-maintained), Accord (or a sense of balance), and Perceived age.
Also, the results showed that when visiting a destination that obtains certain aesthetic qualities, only the frequency of occurrence of the experience of the ugly is affected by being a tourist vs resident. So, only the experience of the ugly occurs to tourists relatively more frequently. However, there is not such a discrepancy between tourists and residents when aesthetically pleasant experiences occur. Moreover, the results showed if tourists find a place with higher quality in terms of Upkeep -i.e., being clean and well-maintained- the experience of the picturesque tends to occur to them more frequently than residents.
The study is theoretically valuable in 1) expanding knowledge of tourism aesthetics, 2) initiating a new stream of research in tourism and hospitality regarding the developed typology of complex and diverse tourism aesthetic experiences, and 3) facilitating a greater level of awareness about the host-guest similarities in the occurrence of tourism aesthetically pleasant and discrepancies in the occurrence of aesthetically unpleasant experiences. Additionally, the study is, practically, insightful in 1) design thinking of destination management in terms of designing and maintaining destination sites in ways that are aesthetically pleasant for destination's consumers, 2) optimizing usage of limited resources from an aesthetics perspective, 3) avoiding being unfair with aesthetically prioritizing certain districts, and 4) devising strategies for reinforcing tourists' aesthetically pleasant experiences and minimizing aesthetically unpleasant experiences. Finally, the study outlined future directions for tourism aesthetic research.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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