Homes and Tourism

“tours are circular structures, and the last destination is the same as the point of origin: home”

– Dean MacCannell, 1976, The Tourist, p.168

Whether in everyday discussion or in academic discourse, tourism has long been seen as something isolated from, and opposed to, home. We are seen to become tourists when we leave the place we usually live and go elsewhere in search of adventure, relaxation, or authenticity. Yet in many ways, the things we do on vacations have increasingly become a part of our everyday lives. We can gaze upon astonishing landmarks through television and the internet, we listen to world music or eat foreign cuisine in local shopping malls and smartphones make it increasingly easy to take photographs anywhere at any time. In addition, our homes are no longer easily defined. Some people travel extensively for business and feel at home in worldwide hotel chains. Some have migrated by force or choice and maintain transnational connections and diasporic longings. As a result, trying to mark and separate the spaces in which home and tourism belong is increasingly difficult.

My MA project at the University of Alberta, conducted under the supervision of Rob Shields, examined the increasingly complex relationship between home and tourism. My thesis used a discourse analysis of memoirs recounting second home and return home travel to argue that there actually many homes for tourism. That is, vacation spaces and different types of home spaces are more alike than one might initially think, and both are shaped by similar, interlinked practices. As a result, I suggest that the theoretical assumptions of tourism studies require rethinking, and must recognize that tourism and home are possible in many different interconnected spaces and places.


SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s (competitive national research funding) – $17,500 CDN
Walter H Johns Graduate Fellowship – $4,672 CDN
University of Alberta Master’s Scholarship – $19,000 CDN
University of Alberta Mary Louise Imrie Graduate Student Award – $600 CDN
University of Alberta Department of Sociology Travel Grants – Two at $400 CDN
University of Alberta Graduate Students Association Professional Development Grant – $500 CDN


Hui, A. (2011). Placing nostalgia: the process of returning and remaking home. Ecologies of affect: placing nostalgia, desire, and hope. T. K. Davidson, O. Park and R. Shields. Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University Press: 65-84. publisher’s site; accepted version

Hui, A. (2008). “Many homes for tourism: re-considering spatializations of home and away in tourism mobilities.” Tourist Studies 8(3): 291-311. publisher’s site; accepted version

Hui, A. (2007). Many homes for tourism: interacting mobilities of space, place, and spatialization in return home and second home mobilities. Sociology. Edmonton, University of Alberta. MA thesis.

Conference papers:

Hui, A. (2007). ‘Revisiting tourism: considering tourism and mobility in return home and second home memoirs’, Canadian Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, University of Saskatchewan, Canada (29 May).

Hui, A. (2007). ‘Projecting memories on space: claiming the virtual in tourism mobilities’, On Mobilities Conference, University of Alberta, Canada (13 May).

Hui, A. (2007). ‘Many homes for tourism: engaging with embodied spaces and virtual places within second home mobilities’, Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, San Francisco, USA (17 April).

Hui, A. (2006). ‘Beyond the tangible: touristic characteristics of second home mobilities’, W. David Pierce Colloquium, University of Alberta, Canada (4 November).

Hui, A. (2006). ‘Conceptual interference: negotiating the spatial discourse of tourism’, Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, Chicago, USA (10 March).