Developing and Testing the Transformative Travel Experience Scale (TTES)

Joelle Soulard, Nancy McGehee, Whitney Knollenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transformative travel encourages tourists to self-reflect, question their assumptions, and develop a more tolerant worldview. While this form of travel is gaining attention, there is unmet demand for a scale that measures the complex transformative travel experience and potential outcomes. This study focuses on developing the Transformative Travel Experience Scale (TTES). The study applies a well-tested approach based on DeVellis and Podsakoff et al. to reveal that a four-dimensional scale, composed of the dimensions of local residents and culture, self-assurance, disorienting dilemma, and joy, can be successfully used to measure the process and outcomes of transformative travel. From a theoretical perspective, the findings suggest that the disorienting dilemma might occur at different points in time. The Transformative Travel Experience Scale is helpful to organizations that want to capture the positive changes resulting from participation in transformative travel when applying for certifications, awards, and grants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-946
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • disorienting dilemma
  • scale development
  • self-reflection
  • transformative learning
  • transformative travel experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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