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Narrative transportation and travel: The mediating role of escapism and immersion
Tourism Management Perspectives  (IF6.586),  Pub Date : 2021-02-27, DOI: 10.1016/j.tmp.2021.100793
Anna Irimiás, Ariel Zoltán Mitev, Gábor Michalkó

The experience of escaping the real world and losing oneself in a fictional one brings pleasure to many. We draw on the overarching theory of narrative transportation (see Gerrig, 1993) to advance knowledge in screen tourism. The aim is to develop and empirically test a conceptual model of TV series consumption, escapism, immersion, and travel intentions with partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). Results confirm that narrative transportation is a structured gradual process: TV series consumption first leads to escapism, escapism to immersion, immersion to travel intention. The mediated relationships (via escapism and immersion) between media consumption and travel intention are found to be significant. The novelty of our model lies in the travel-centred operationalizing of the narrative transportation theory. Based on our results, tourism marketers are advised to implement a tourism ad campaign building on the different stages of narrative transportation to create emotionally engaging tourism marketing products.

Impact statement

The main contribution of this research to society in general is that it recognises the cultural phenomenon of TV series consumption and the benefits of narrative transportation as a kind of travel-experience into a fantasy world. We map the stages of narrative transportation, exploring the journey from media consumption to travel intention; the data obtained is of relevance because filming locations often become popular tourist destinations. Whether tourism planners aim to reduce or increase tourist flows awareness of (1) the process of narrative transportation experienced by viewers, and (2) how this process influences travel intentions is key to the effective management of media-induced tourism flows.