Author Bios (50 Words)

So Young Park, M.S., is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at the Pennsylvania State University. Her primary research interests include Web data-driven analytics, information science and tourist behavior, and human rights issues in tourism.

Abstract (150 Words)

In this study in progress, the authors examine the phenomenon of identity—particularly in the domain of college nostalgia—as a driver of tourism. The authors first develop a theoretical framework, combining symbolic interaction theory and identity-based motivation theory, to explain how identity formed during one’s collegiate period functions as a motivation to return to visit after graduation. The authors conducted qualitative interviews of Penn State alumni visiting Centre County, PA, and are in the process of analyzing them based on the framework-examining the role of one’s identity as an alumnus and nostalgia for Penn State in motivating these visits. The study contributes to the body of literature on identity in tourism by understanding identity as a motivation for travel, rather than an outcome of travel. Furthermore, the study provides insights on how to mobilize a strong alumni base to increase visitation and revenue in alumni-dependent destinations.

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Reliving the Glory Days: College Graduates and Alma Mater Nostalgia Tourism

In this study in progress, the authors examine the phenomenon of identity—particularly in the domain of college nostalgia—as a driver of tourism. The authors first develop a theoretical framework, combining symbolic interaction theory and identity-based motivation theory, to explain how identity formed during one’s collegiate period functions as a motivation to return to visit after graduation. The authors conducted qualitative interviews of Penn State alumni visiting Centre County, PA, and are in the process of analyzing them based on the framework-examining the role of one’s identity as an alumnus and nostalgia for Penn State in motivating these visits. The study contributes to the body of literature on identity in tourism by understanding identity as a motivation for travel, rather than an outcome of travel. Furthermore, the study provides insights on how to mobilize a strong alumni base to increase visitation and revenue in alumni-dependent destinations.