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    Exploring Tourist Experiences of Virtual Reality in a Rural Destination: A Place Attachment Theory Perspective

    Pantelidis, C, tom Dieck, MC ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8765-8969, Jung, T ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8594-6641 and Miller, A ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4005-1593 (2018) Exploring Tourist Experiences of Virtual Reality in a Rural Destination: A Place Attachment Theory Perspective. e-Review of Tourism Research, 8 (Resear). ISSN 1941-5842

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    Abstract

    In tourism, virtual reality (VR) experience gained a lot of interest recently. It is argued that positive tourist experience might enhance place attachment (PA) which can be described as the emotional bond between people and places. However, PA studies neglects virtual environments and thus studies in a VR context are scarce. Therefore the present study, explores to what extend VR increases tourist experience and affects tourist’s PA at rural destination of Lake District National Park (LDNP). For this purpose semi-structured interviews were conducted in July 2017. Data were analyzed using thematic analyses and first finding shows that VR enhances tourist experience and shows a positive influence on PA. Two main themes were identified; enhanced spatial cognition and positive feelings. The theoretical contribution is to expand PA theory considering virtual environments. Managerial implications include using VR as a marketing tool for increasing tourist experience at the destination.

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