Exploring Tourists’ Emotional Experiences within a UNESCO Geo-Park

Exploring Tourists’ Emotional Experiences within a UNESCO Geo-Park



Exploring Tourists' Emotional Experiences within a UNESCO Geo-Park


Rita Cannas, Daniela Pettinao,

Classification JEL

M21, M31


Among the tourism customer satisfaction field of study, is emerging a new area which focuses on emotional tourism experiences’ features. Emotion and satisfaction are closely related construct. The idea is to consider emotional variables when modelling consumers’ satisfaction processes (Bigné et al., 2005; Bigné et al., 2008a; Liljander and Strandvik, 1997; Prayag et al., 2013). Using this idea, several researchers found that visitor’s satisfaction at cultural site (Caldwell, 2002; Martín-Ruiz et al., 2010) is not merely influenced by the technical aspect of the product itself, but also by the emotional, cognitive and social values associated with it. Tourism experiences are influenced by various dimensions of emotions: for instance, Hosany et al. (2014) identify joy, love, and positive surprise as the three key dimensions of emotional experiences. Kim and Ritchie (2014) adopt dimensions such as social interaction and local culture, meaningfulness, involvement, happiness, novelty, etc., to conceptualize the construct domains of memorable tourism experiences in which emotions play an essential role. In our contribution we explore the emotions as the backbone of satisfactory tourists experience in the Rosas Mining Village, a Sardinian UNESCO geo-park, which offers mining museum attractions and tourist facilities. Our main research question investigates how emotions generated by the tourism experience of cultural site consumption positively influence visitors’ satisfaction. Considering a previous study about the Rosas Mining Village (Cannas, 2015) we hypothesize that positive tourists emotions are shaped by and related to the interactions with the local community. The study methodology is based on a quantitative approach, and a survey analysis conducted by a questionnaire. The questionnaire groups three main items: 1) sociodemographic profile; 2) emotional dimensions such as joy/love/surprise; 3) social interaction and involvement with local community’ dimensions. The study aims at providing empirical insights to determine emotional associations tourists attach to cultural and community-based destinations.


Tourists’ emotional experiences, customer satisfaction, cultural tourism, UNESCO heritage, tourism experience.

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