An Investigation on the Role of Savoring in the Relationship between Vacation-Taking and Quality of Life (QOL)

  • Author / Creator
    Yan, Nanxi
  • The tourism industry is built on the premise that vacation-taking should be a healthy pursuit during our leisure time. Despite the importance of vacation-taking to people’s quality of life (QOL), limited research has been conducted to examine this relationship. Meanwhile, although leisure travel is a substantive source of positive emotions, there is a lack of research on how tourists deal with or savor positive emotion and how savoring may play a role in the vacation and QOL link. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation project was to understand the relationship between vacation-taking and quality of life (QOL), and whether and how savoring plays a role in this relationship. To address this research purpose, I conducted three studies which are formatted as three separate manuscripts.
    The first manuscript (Chapter 2) was a systematic review of studies investigating tourists’ QOL. QOL is a complex concept that can be understood from a hedonic perspective (e.g., positive feelings) or a eudaimonic perspective (e.g., self-actualization). I identified and analysed 90 peer-reviewed articles studying tourists’ QOL adopting one or both perspectives. The results revealed positive associations between tourism and different perspectives of QOL. The review also comprehensively summarized all the factors and outcomes that are relevant to tourists’ QOL. In addition, research gaps including limited attention to the eudaimonic perspective of QOL and the post-vacation fade-out effect have been identified. Based on these findings, this research discussed the future directions that can advance research on tourists’ QOL as well as implications for individuals and tourism practitioners.
    The second manuscript (Chapter 3) explored tourists’ savoring experiences. Although the importance of positive emotions is widely recognized in tourism research, savoring—as a process regulating positive emotions—is rarely studied. To address this research gap, Study 2 employed an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach to explore tourists’ subjective savoring experiences. Given a tourism experience encompasses three phases (i.e., pre-trip, in-situ, and post trip), I explored tourists’ savoring experiences at these three phases separately. Briefly speaking, tourists’ pre-trip savoring experiences can be described by these three superordinate themes: (a) anticipating, (b) sharing, and (c) back to reality. Tourists’ in-situ savoring experiences can be described as (a) engaged detaching, (b) immersing, and (c) action-readiness. Tourists’ post-trip savoring experience can be explicated by the themes: (a) reminiscing, (b) comparing, and (c) eagerness to recreate. The study contributes to tourism experience literature by explicating tourists’ savoring strategies as well as the role played by savoring in influencing tourists’ experiences.
    The third manuscript (Chapter 4) was conducted to investigate the relationship between vacation-taking and well-being and whether and how savoring may influence this relationship. A 5-week longitudinal study which measured participants’ well-being and savoring frequency was conducted. Data were collected at three time points: (a) Time 1: 2 weeks before Reading Week vacation (Pre-vacation), (b) Time 2: at the end of Reading Week vacation (End of vacation), and (c) Time 3: 2 weeks post the end of vacation (Post-vacation). In short, repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc tests suggested that tourists’ well-being and savoring frequency significantly changed over a Reading Week vacation. One-Way ANOVAs and one-sample t-tests revealed that savoring can weaken the fade-out effect of vacation-taking, because, after vacation-taking, participants who savored their past trip with high frequency were more likely to experience more sustained psychological flourishing.
    As a whole, the findings of this dissertation project have significant theoretical and managerial implications. The dissertation provides a comprehensive summary of the factors and outcomes related to the vacation and well-being link which can improve the understanding of these two variables. Moreover, the project introduces new knowledge to the tourism field by conducting one of the first studies to delineate tourists’ savoring experiences. In addition, using a longitudinal perspective, the dissertation project provides a glimpse into how tourists’ well-being change over the course of a vacation. It also supports that savoring has the potential to promote well-being at different stages of vacation-taking and help tourists to experience more sustained well-being post-vacation. Finally, the findings inform tourism practitioners to the benefits of vacation-taking and savoring as well as how to foster tourists’ savoring.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.