Picture of boy being examining by doctor at a tuberculosis sanatorium

Understanding our future through Open Access research about our past...

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare (CSHHH), based within the School of Humanities, and considered Scotland's leading centre for the history of health and medicine.

Research at CSHHH explores the modern world since 1800 in locations as diverse as the UK, Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe. Areas of specialism include contraception and sexuality; family health and medical services; occupational health and medicine; disability; the history of psychiatry; conflict and warfare; and, drugs, pharmaceuticals and intoxicants.

Explore the Open Access research of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Image: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Wellcome Collection - CC-BY.

Self-expression and play : can religious tourism be hedonistic?

Lochrie, S. and Baxter, I. and Collinson, E. and Curran, R. and Gannon, M. and Taheri, B. and Thompson, J. and Yalinay, O. (2018) Self-expression and play : can religious tourism be hedonistic? Tourism Recreation Research. ISSN 0250-8281 (In Press)

[img] Text (Lochrie-etal-TRR2018-Self-expression-and-play-can-religious-tourism-be-hedonistic)
Accepted Author Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 May 2020.

Download (890kB) | Request a copy from the Strathclyde author


Using data collected from 538 Iranian tourists undertaking the religious pilgrimage of Umrah (i.e., voluntary travel to the holy city of Mecca at any time throughout the year), this study investigates the concept of play and its relationship with self-expression and hedonism in an Islamic tourism context. By testing a theoretically derived structural model, the findings suggest that self-expression strongly influences tourists' sense of play. Here, play is realised when tourists feel that they can express themselves freely and augment their self-image while travelling, irrespective of the religious context. Nonetheless, the pilgrimage environment is characterised by religious congregation – with tourists engaging in communal experiences that reflect themselves and their faith. Therefore, the ideal experience, where tourists feel a sense of escapism from the pressures of everyday life, is a product of their ability to project, develop, and ratify their self-concept. Finally, the study suggests that pilgrimage managers and marketers should focus on the importance of play, enabling their destinations to heighten the intensity of the 'enjoyable' elements of religious travel (e.g., group camaraderie, escapism and positive emotional reactions) alongside their inherent religious benefits.