Transformative travel: Transformative learning through education abroad in a niche tourism destination

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19 Scopus citations


This study answers the call for the increased use of hermeneutic phenomenology in tourism studies. Specifically, this research seeks to uncover the meaning and key aspects of transformative travel through an in-depth study of the lived experience of 17 students who traveled to the niche tourism destination of Ikaria, Greece as part of a 10-day education abroad program. Pursuant to hermeneutic phenomenology, the researchers, who were also the course instructors, were active participants in the co-creation of meaning of the phenomenon (i.e., transformative travel). Mezirow's transformative learning process served as the theoretical framework for this research and guided the development of program activities and the written assignments that served as data for the interpretative analysis. The results are presented as the YEP Framework of Transformative Travel, which includes three overarching themes and nine sub-themes. This study provides a foundation for further investigation of how travel can be transformative for the traveler and has theoretical and pedagogical implications that can inform future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100245
JournalJournal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Education abroad
  • Niche tourism
  • Transformative learning
  • Transformative learning theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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