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Developing a Theory of Surprise from Travelers’ Extraordinary Food Experiences

Journal article
Authors Sandhiya Goolaup
Cecilia Solér
Robin Nunkoo
Published in Journal of Travel Research
Volume 57
Issue 2
Pages 218–231
ISSN 0047-2875
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Centre for Tourism
Pages 218–231
Language en
Keywords food tourists, extraordinary food experience, food cultural capital, surprise, phenomenology
Subject categories Business Administration


The purpose of this research is to explore the extraordinary experiences of food tourists and to develop a theory of surprise in relation to a typology of food cultural capital. We draw on phenomenological interviews with 16 food tourists. We found that food tourists experienced surprise in different ways, depending on their food cultural capital. Food tourists who possessed a high level of cultural capital were surprised by the simplicity or complexity of the experience while those possessing a low level of cultural capital were surprised by the genuinity of the experience. Thus, we make an important theoretical contribution here as we learn that the resources food tourists possessed in the form of cultural capital conditioned the ways in which they conceived an extraordinary experience. More so, using the cultural capital perspective, we have also demonstrated the role of social context in contributing to creating an extraordinary experience.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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