Experience-Based Tourism

Iran Nomad ToursAdventure StylesExperience-Based Tourism

Experience-based tourism, also known as experiential tourism is a type of sustainable, mindful tourism, quite different from more conventional tourisms in being characterized by services and activities with a relatively higher degree of differentiation and intangible value, innovation, and satisfaction perceived by the tourists at a certain place, in a certain time where both the tour operators and the tourists are more concerned with immersing themselves in the nature and culture rather than just using, consuming, and devastating it all.

Experience-Based Tourism; An Active involvement

Experience-based tourism is more than the average tourist experience. It’s a dynamic process of tourists’ participation in activities. Related words, commonly used to describe these kinds of experiences include searching, seeking, engagement, immersion, discovering, finding, and surprises. Experience in tourism, which is mostly about receiving surprises or finding out about the lesser-experienced worlds, adventure-seeking and participating in events, encompasses “feelings” and “observations” and conveys both to the mind in a meaningful way. It also has positive physical, psychological, spiritual, and learning outcomes.
An experience cannot be created instantaneously. Only when tourists are actively involved on a physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual level, can an experience, created by a specific or designed context, be internalized in the tourists’ minds. In this case, the designed experience is created collaboratively and cannot be attributed only to the tourists themselves or the external factors alone. That is, different factors usually get together and create a context for tourists to shape their unique experiences.

Two travelers are hugging a baby goat

Sense of Authenticity in Experience-Based Tourism

Tourists will have an authentic experience-based journey only when they are fully present and authentic feelings are presented to them. The sense of authenticity lies within the tourists’ sentiments. These feelings are related to one’s internal states and are dependent on participatory activities, for example, tourists will experience more authenticity if all their senses are involved in a particular activity. A traveler who tries local food and sleeps in the eco-lodges gets a better sense of the place they have traveled to than a traveler who sleeps in typical hotels and eats their typical food. Or, for example, when travelers experience living in nomadic tents with the nomads & indigenous people, it would be all a different story.

A traveler is riding a horse in the Zagros mountains

Experience-Based Kooch; A Nomadic Experience

Nomadic areas, as experience-based destinations, can create experiences for tourists that cannot be easily gained in other places. The physical challenges in Kooch hiking in the Zagros mountains with Bakhtiari Nomads for example, or helping in the daily bread-baking and cooking, as well as milking the goats, fetching water, collecting firewood, making fire, and mixing with the locals are all common activities that can engage the travelers on different levels during any nomadic trip and sharpen their senses to new experiences.
After receiving experience-based services and traveling more consciously, tourists, feeling engaged and enriched with diverse experiences and feelings, will have the desire to repeat those experiences. Millennials, being the forefront fans of experience-based travel are shifting the tourism industry toward these kinds of trips and destinations and opening the way for more sustainable, mindful, and rich tourism.