Information Technology & Tourism

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 515–533 | Cite as

Pokémon GO is serious leisure that increases the touristic engagement, physical activity and sense of happiness of players

  • Russell B. WilliamsEmail author
  • Natasa Slak-Valek
Original Research


This study investigates Pokémon Go as a form of serious leisure including its impact on the touristic engagement, physical activity and sense of happiness of players. This location-aware augmented reality mobile game continues to be played by millions of people every day. Based on an online survey identifying 438 Pokémon GO players from 34 countries the present study examines if playing Pokémon GO sends people to locations, cities and countries beyond their normal sphere of activity and makes them feel happier and more successful. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis and regression were used to analyze data. Results show that playing the networked game on a mobile device increases visitation to local tourism attractions, and motivates people to spend more time outdoors and walking. It also sends them to cities and countries they might not otherwise visit and acts as an alternative to spending time indoors playing computer games. Surveyed players feel happier and more successful after playing the game. Pokémon GO might have value as the center of a tourism product for those players. The opportunity to acquire Pokémon and encounter others involved in the game across a destination, or in a single attraction, could pull players to that place. These are the attributes of people in pursuit of serious leisure.


  • Pokémon GO players know more about local attractions than before playing.

  • Pokémon GO players visit more tourist attractions than before playing.

  • Pokémon GO players spend more time in outdoor physical activity than before playing.

  • Pokémon GO players who play more feel happier and more successful than those who play less.

  • Pokémon GO has the potential to attract people to destinations and places as they play the game.


Pokémon GO Serious leisure Domestic tourism International tourism Happiness Location-aware mobile games 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Communication Media and ScienceZayed UniversityAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates

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