Tourism Xenophilia: Examining Attraction to Foreignness

Astrid Warncke Nørfelt, Florian Kock*, Alexander Josiassen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Individuals have demonstrated an attraction toward foreignness, which, arguably, constitutes a central reason to travel. Drawing on research from social and evolutionary psychology, the authors provide the first investigation of tourism xenophilia (TXI), which we define as individuals’ attraction toward the perceived foreignness of destinations. Across three studies, the authors conceptualize, develop, and apply a reliable, valid, and parsimonious TXI scale. The results show that TXI explains several important tourist and resident behaviors, such as willingness to engage with locals, willingness to stay at a bed-and-breakfast, intention to try local food, resident hospitality, support for immigration policies, and travel to foreign destinations. The authors also empirically investigate three key antecedents of TXI: promotion focus, boredom proneness, and mind-wandering. Finally, implications for academics and practitioners are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1386-1401
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: November 8, 2019


  • Tourism xenophilia
  • Tourist behavior
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Fundamental motives
  • Intergroup bias

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