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Learning through extraordinary tourism experiences: the case of oyster safaris in Lysekil and the oyster bar on Käringön

Conference contribution
Authors Sandhiya Goolaup
Eva Maria Jernsand
Published in Abstract presented at the 9th International Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism (CMT2017), University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 13-16 June
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Business Administration
Centre for Tourism
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Language en
Keywords Extraordinary experience, learning, seafood tourism, Swedish west coast
Subject categories Business Administration


Tourist experience is a core aspect surrounding the hospitality and tourism industry. Tourists are increasingly looking for new experiences that not only provide them with mere fun and satisfaction but can also engage them intellectually through immersion in activities, time and space. In short, they are in search of experiences that are extraordinary in nature. Extraordinary experiences are typically perceived as being emotionally intense, transformative and yield feeling of personal triumph and sense of achievement. Extant research has demonstrated that learning is a core aspect underlying extraordinary experience since it makes the experience more meaningful (e.g. Goolaup and Mossberg 2016). Despite being a critical element in such experience, learning has received scant attention, since the literature provides few answers to how and in what situations tourists learn (Falk et al. 2012). Hence, the purpose of this study is to understand how tourists learn through extraordinary experience. Theoretically, it is encased within learning theory, where knowledge and skills are considered as being obtained in an ongoing cumulative process (Gipps, 1999), where the learner’s beliefs are challenged and experiences are made sense of (Shephard, 1992). The case of oyster safaris in Lysekil and the Karingo oyster bar, both situated on the Swedish west coast, are used to highlight how learning takes place for tourists engaged in extraordinary food experiences. These two contexts are appropriate since tourists perceive the experiences as being extraordinary in nature. They also provide a range of activities and opportunities for tourists’ learning. The empirical material comprise of observations (during the trips) and face-to-face interviews (after the trips) using a phenomenological approach. Preliminary findings indicate that tourists involved in extraordinary experiences are more likely to learn by being in a stimulating environment where learning is enhanced through; (1) engagement with the environment, activities, other participants and the hosts; (2) self-reflection; (3) conversation; (4) and critical moments that trigger self-examination and renegotiation. References: Falk, J. H., Ballantyne, R., Packer, J., and Benckendorff, P. (2012). Travel and learning: A neglected tourism research area. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(2), 908-927. Gipps, C. (1999). Socio-cultural aspects of assessment. Review of research in education, 24(1), 355-392. Goolaup, S., and Mossberg, L. (2016). Exploring the concept of extraordinary related to food tourists’ nature-based experience. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 17(1), 27-43.

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