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Tourists who experience a range of emotions enjoy a greater sense of well-being, according to new study

A new study from Queen Mary University of London has shed new light on the way tourists perceive emotions whilst on holiday.

6 May 2020

A group of tourists on holiday
A group of tourists on holiday

The study shows that a diversity of emotions, termed emodiversity, both positive and negative, were consistently linked to a greater sense of well-being. 

Implications for the tourism industry

The study sheds light on the way emotions are perceived. Other research in this area covered simple ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions, largely ignoring the diversity of emotions that tourists experience throughout their holidays. 

Previous research suggests that tour operators should ensure that their clients feel pleasant all the time and work to prevent any other emotions from disturbing this pleasantness. This study shows that this is not necessarily the case, individuals’ well-being benefits more from diverse emotions than positive emotions alone.

Rather than simply selling positive emotions for the sake of pleasantness, the tourist industry should recognise the importance of creating an ‘emodiversity-seeking experience’ as opposed to the current ‘pleasure-seeking experiences’ that are widely on offer.

Negative emotions can produce a positive effect 

Dr Yuansi Hou, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Queen Mary University of London said: "People are far more likely to experience a diversity of emotions when travelling than during daily life at home.

"This research shows that those who experienced more than one emotion during their holiday were far more likely to feel good about the experience overall. This also includes those who experienced a range of negative emotions; the diversity of these negative emotions produced a positive effect on their sense of well-being, compared to being immersed in one specific negative emotion."

More information

Research was conducted using an online platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk and recruited 304 adult respondents from the United States.

Research paper: Wang, L., Hou, Y.S., & Chen, Z.X., Are Rich and Diverse Emotions Beneficial? the Impact of Emodiversity on Tourists’ Experiences. Journal of Travel Research