Moving toward settlement: tourism as acculturation practice

Angela Gracia B. Cruz, Margo Buchanan-Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the capital-based benefits which arise when acculturating immigrants perform touristic practices, and how these shape their tourism and migration experiences. Design/methodology/approach: Grounded in consumer culture theory, this paper draws on theories of capital consumption to inform a hermeneutic analysis of multi-modal depth interviews with Southeast Asian skilled migrants in New Zealand. Findings: Domestic touristic practices offer three types of capital-based benefits, enabling consumers to index economic capital, accrue social capital and index cultural capital. Additionally, the quest for capital emphasises iconic forms of tourism and supersedes concerns about commodification. Research limitations/implications: This paper demonstrates the important role of touristic practices not only in short-term mobility, but also for long-term migrants. Further research should investigate how capital shapes the touristic practices of other types of mobile consumers. Practical implications: Understanding the capital-based benefits of touristic practices in acculturation informs the design of migrant settlement policy and the managerial staging of touristic experiences. Originality/value: While theorists of liquid modernity have largely treated tourism as a discrete type of mobility, this paper reframes tourism as a key acculturation practice. In contrast to dominant conceptualisations of tourism as a quest for cultural authenticity, this paper reconceptualises tourism as a quest for capital. Finally, while previous studies have focused on how capital constrains acculturation outcomes, this paper explores how a consumption practice enables the expression and accumulation of capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-794
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Capital
  • Consumer acculturation
  • Long-term migration
  • Mobility
  • Multi-modal methods
  • Tourism

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