Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Xinran Y. Lehto

Committee Member 1

Li Miao

Committee Member 2

Richard F. Ghiselli


While leisure travel has been shown to play an important role in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their caregivers, research devoted to the shared tourism experience of this travel companionship is limited. This study provided a depiction of the shared memorable tourism experiences of Chinese individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Following a phenomenological approach, sixteen paired in-depth interviews were conducted in Guangdong, China. Five themes emerged as key components of shared memorable tourism experiences: activities, emotions, outcomes, socially oriented contextual factors, and programing/service contextual factors, with attention given to resistance strategies against social exclusion adopted by Chinese individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. The identified three level experience mechanism with regard to shared tourism experiences of disabled individuals and their caregivers are expected to facilitate the provision of better service towards this particular market segment and to bring academic and industry attention to a much neglected population