Palma, from 23 to 25 October 2013
Celebrating and Enhancing the Tourism
Knowledge-based Platform: A Tribute to Jafar Jafari

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General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 24 October, 2013 16:05 to 16:25 Oral Communication
Inner and Outer Journeys: Tourism as a Way of Personal Transformation and Growth
Speaker: Marco Antonio Robledo, Universitat de les Illes Balears

Authors: Marco Antonio Robledo

Crisis at a personal and social level seems like the natural result of an increasingly meaningless world. At the same time, it is widely recognised that travel has restorative powers, as an antidote to the stresses and tedium of daily life. Theories that reduce tourism to ‘traveling for pleasure’ exclusively are looking at only one aspect of the phenomena, and are simplifying what is a complex human behavior. A growing number of people are using tourism as an escape mechanism but in a different way than it used to be. As Sloterdijk points out, people use traditional tourism as an exile mechanism from the growing pressures of their lives (i.e. tourism as escape from reality) this new modalities of tourism are rather used as an escape from the fiction of our lifes. Travel becomes, in this context, an opportunity and a vehicle for self-discovery and personal growth (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009; Leed, 1991). The purpose of this theoretical article is to explore a new dimension of tourism where the outer journey is the vehicle for an inner journey of spiritual and psychological development. We will conceptualise it, analyse its varieties and the motivations of the tourists and compare this postconventional form of tourism (deep and meaningful) with the most conventional and mainstream tourism (more superficial and banal). Spiritual tourism is, arguably, the closest concept to this variety of tourism we are describing, that has personal growth and the search for meaning as its core motivations. However, spiritual tourism is a very complex variety of tourism itself, which includes many sub-categories and forms of classification. It can be both religious and secular, and based on the classification of its activities, ranges from pilgrimage tourism, visit of holy places, religious celebrations, etc. The main focus of this article is the variety we call tourism of self development or tourism of spiritual growth. This type of tourism could be described as a voyage of discovery for inner awareness, change and spiritual growth. A new concept, trying to describe a new market niche is presented: tourism of spiritual growth. Tourism of spiritual growth is a variety where the tourist intentionally travels to look for meaning, transformation and self development. It is a voyage of discovery, where the object discovered is oneself. Tourism experiences represent for the tourist perfect times for personal transformation and enlightenment. The travel brings an opportunity to escape from day-to-day life, which is conceived as the illusionary life, a fiction that has to be unveiled in order to discover our true self and find liberation. The motivations of these tourists are mostly related to personal transformation and spiritual growth, connection to the sacred, physical and emotional healing, and the search for authenticity and the archaic. The activities that can be performed on this type of tourism are manifold and include meditation, retreats, pilgrimages, and education and they have a number of common characteristics including the use of rituals and rites of passage, the search for introspection, focused attention and solitude and the search for non-ordinary states of consciousness.
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Full paper

Session 3 – Ontologies, epistemologies and disciplinarity (3)
Place: Main Room

Other activities in Session 3 – Ontologies, epistemologies and disciplinarity (3)
15:45 h. to 16:05 h.Oral Communication

Multidisciplinary Research In Hospitality And Tourism: What We Should Know By Now

Speaker: Fevzi Okumus, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida
Speaker: Mathilda van Niekerk, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida
16:25 h. to 16:45 h.Oral Communication

Theory and methodology: implications in the construction of the tourism as study object

Speaker: Celeste Nava, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México