Chapter 11: Consumer immersion: a key to extraordinary experiences
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These are the words of a 46-year-oldfemale tourist from London describing how she became immersed during a three-day dog sledging trip in Svalbard in the arctic region of Norway. What is immersion, and what role does it play? The concept of immersion has gained visibility as a result of the growth of the experience economy, and it appears to be one of the key elements of an unforgettable consumer experience. Immersion has also become a theme in the psychology (Mainemelis, 2001) and consumer behaviour literature (Carù and Cova , 2007) as well as in gaming and virtual reality research (Jennett et al., 2008), and the concept has been applied to settings such as creativity at work(Mainemelis, 2001), artistic experiences (Carù and Cova, 2006) and computer games(Calleja , 2011). However, it remains unclear what exactly immersion is and what causes it (Jennett et al., 2008). How can immersion be defined and understood? Should it be understood as a unique concept, or is it an element of other related concepts such as flow or peak experience? Is the idea of immersion relevant to nature-based tourism experiences such as the one referenced above?

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