Chain of Reflective Experiences: How Tourists Give Meaning to Intangible Cultural Heritage Experiences

Thilini Alahakoon


Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is a tourist offer that is embedded within the people of a destination and their lifestyles. Given this nature of ICH, this paper aims to explore how tourists give meaning to ICH experiences especially in the absence of formal sources of information. It employs a qualitative phenomenological stance with a sample of 21 European tourists. The Appropriation Theory was used for theoretical support. Findings indicate that recollections and reflections of past travel experiences contribute to the interpretation of ICH experiences. Specifically, such recollections and reflections create a sense of familiarity with new ICH experiences allowing tourists to connect with them more, resulting in subjective meaning assignment which may or may not be the meaning envisioned by destination marketers and the host community. This study also initiates a discussion on ‘chain of reflective experiences’, through which further exploration of the effects of past travel experiences on new experiences are encouraged.

Keywords:    Intangible Cultural Heritage, Past Travel Experiences, Appropriation Theory, Heritage Tourism, Tourist Experience

Volume 12, Issue 1
June 30, 2021
Pages: 29-53


Suggested citation:

Alahakoon, T. (2021). Chain of reflective experiences: How tourists give meaning to intangible cultural heritage experiences. Colombo Business Journal, 12(1), 29-53.

Thilini Alahakoon
Postgraduate Institute of Management, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka