Tourism Management

Volume 60, June 2017, Pages 244-256
Tourism Management

Serious games and the gamification of tourism


A systematic review of the concept of gamification.

Identified extrinsic and intrinsic motivational gaming elements that contribute to a meaningful gamification.

Discussed the application of gamification in tourism with case practices.


Gamification has become a focus of attention in an increasing number of fields including business, education, and health care. Through a wide range of applications and support functions, its potential for the tourism industry is significant. Gamification of tourism can contribute to a more rewarding interactions and higher level of satisfaction, as well as increase brand awareness and loyalty to the destination. As one of the first attempts to conceptualize gamification of tourism, this paper examines gaming in general terms and the application of it in specific tourism fields. It identifies game design elements that can contribute to a meaningful gamification. A few cases of best practices are presented to show how this innovative concept can benefit tourism marketing. Implications for tourism marketing and management are discussed as well as future research recommendations.


Serious games
Tourism experiences

Feifei Xu, PhD, is a professor in the School of Humanities, Southeast University, China. Her main research interests include tourism in protected areas, cross-cultural issues in tourism, as well as etourism with a particular focus of gaming and gamifcation in tourism.

Dimitrios Buhalis, PhD, is a professor and head of Tourism Department in the Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University. His research interests include etourism, strategic management and tourism marketing with specialization in technology and tourism.

Jessika Weber, is a PhD candidate at etourism lab in the School of Tourism, Bournemouth University. Her research area includes augmented reality games and tourism.

Part of the paper has been presented at the ENTER Conference, Dublin.