Relationships and the Tourism Experience: Challenges for Quality-of-Life Assessments

  • Philip L. PearceEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


The centrality of positive relationships to human well-being is firmly established in numerous fields of social science enquiry. Tourists too are centrally concerned with relationships. For tourists, the relationships may be ongoing or the interactions may be initiated during the holiday period. This chapter reviews the influences of a variety of relationships, the tourism contexts in which they occur and the role of these interactions on the well-being of travellers. It will describe, in turn, the relationships tourists have in large groups and crowds as well as in smaller specialist travel parties. Travel relationships for volunteers and for backpackers will be considered. Links between quality-of-life considerations and relationships will also be reviewed for the disabled, for gay men, for women in general, as well as for those who travel alone. Some of the quality-of-life implications which stem from these dynamic relationships include reducing stress, fostering identity, adding to skills and character strengths and building an emotional preparedness to be receptive to others. Explanations of these positive travel benefits for well-being are described in terms of the physiology of stress reduction, theories of emotional capacity, mindfulness and the value of the savouring of experiences. It is argued that the area of interest can be advanced by defining travel parties in terms of their social relationships. The outcomes of tourism for these groups need to be assessed carefully with a rich mix of timely data collection exercises, including not just individual survey work but also an array of approaches built on memory work, examining blogs and exploring multi-person and multi-perspective views of the enduring positive consequences of travel.


Positive Emotion Character Strength Travel Experience Tourism Study Emotional Style 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tourism, School of BusinessJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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