The snap-happy tourist: the effects of photographing behavior on tourists' happiness

S. Gillet, P. Schmitz, O Mitas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Are tourists who take more photos happier? Our study investigates the relationship between tourists’ photographing and happiness based on two proposed theories: photographing as a behavior that society expects from tourists, and photographing as a mechanism for social interaction. Questionnaires measuring photographic behavior and components of happiness such as positive emotions and life satisfaction were collected from 417 tourists at three destinations in the Netherlands. Additionally, we carried out participant observation to explore the potential roles of fulfilling cultural expectations and social interactions. We found a positive relationship between photography and tourists’ levels of happiness. People who take more pictures on holiday and rate photographing to be important experience more positive emotions and a higher life satisfaction, respectively. The participant observation data reveal that this relationship is strengthened when photography is used to build relationships, but weakened when people photograph to fulfill cultural expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-57
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • expected behavior
  • happiness
  • photography
  • social interaction
  • tourism


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