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Tourism psychology: New study proves that traveling can change our life perceptions

Posted June 12, 2014

Tourism has changed from being mostly national activity to a progressively international phenomenon with people traveling further afield more and more frequently. Now traveling is a big part of globalization. And it is also said that traveling overseas for a while broadens our minds, opens us up to new experiences, and often it changes us forever.

For travelers, after they travel around the world or have some other long journey, returning home can be difficult, when for them it feels like they have changed entirely, but nobody else has. A new research, published in the most recent edition of the Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, approved the idea that tourism and traveling in general might change our life and affect people’s perceptions of themselves, home, neighborhood, work, friends, relatives, and life in overall.

The new study was intended to seek insights into the effect and influence of travel and tourism on people during long-term impact in terms of sense of being, direction in life, and well being. Besides, the scientists tried to answer some questions about how tourism changes our lives, perceptions and they were concerned with tourist motivation, behavior in and satisfaction with the destination.

The study and all experiments were conducted in China, eliciting responses from Chinese citizens. Is known that China has the highest percent of travelers in the world – the number of Chinese travelers grew from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012. Besides, this country is rapidly becoming a world power in politics and economy.

The scientists separated their study into two parts, for the experiments they used mainland Chinese visitors, aged below 21 and above 40 years old. The first part of study was focused on the discussion, which was based on previous studies and experiments. In this part of study the scientists tried to probe the respondents’ relationships with the society, their perception and appreciation of culture, work, money, and time after their travel outside of the country.

In the second part of the study they tried to determine, whether there were changes in perception and attitude, scientists tried to see the most significant changes in participants feelings or mood. This part was based on responses to 24 questions about how things have been going, and about travelers emotions. Besides, all participants needed to agree or disagree with various positive and negative statements, for example, “I’m incredibly happy”, “I think done everything I ever wanted”, “I do not have particularly happy memories of the past”.

The authors of the study found that a majority of participants noted that there were changes in their perception after traveling – they became happier about their work, traveling inspired to work harder and earn more money for their next vacation trip. In addition to this, traveling improved communication skills and social relationships. Furthermore, the participants felt more satisfied and happier after their travel; they were more optimistic about life, government, and they also felt higher levels of needs emerging.

The scientists added that the participants were more self-sufficient and self-reliant, they sounded more upbeat and flexible, felt healthy, relaxed and more enthusiastic. These changes were found in both groups, it is interesting to note that the changes among travelers were found to be significantly different to non-travelers. The changes were most significant regarding subjects’ feelings, relaxed mood, sense of accomplishment, and being positive at work/studies.

You may say, that there is nothing new in the fact that traveling makes us feel better that we were before, inspires us, gives energy, positivism and improves our skills. But this new study has filled the gap to a certain extent by revealing the impact of tourism on tourist perceptions toward life in general, and this is the first study which shows that tourism does make people feel happier and relaxed.

In addition to this, this study has demonstrated that not only can traveling be a fun and a relaxing way to see the world around us, but it can also radically transform our life for the better. Tourism is a good way to explore the world around us, discover more about other people and cultures, or help change our overall perspective on life, travel can be a perfect way to improve yourself and have a great time in the process.

Sources: ScienceDaily,

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