Tourism consumption is a systematic aesthetic appreciation experience that combines human lives with extraordinary nature and culture. While the bridge linking aesthetics and tourism has significant potential of helping to explore how tourism contributes to human life, the study of aesthetics in tourism remains unclear and fragmented. To fill this research void, this study aims to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the nature of aesthetics in tourism by exploring and defining a Chinese classical aesthetic concept – Yijing. Specifically, the objectives are to (1) explore the manifestation of aesthetics in tourism, (2) unveil the formation of Yijing through tourist gaze, (3) uncover the connotation of Yijing, (4) comprehend how Yijing contributes to human life, (5) delve into the formation of Yijing through social media gaze, and (6) examine the impacts of Yijing on intention to transformational changes. Guided by the realism paradigm and employing an exploratory sequential mixed-method approach, this dissertation initially undertook a two-phase qualitative study, performing netnography to explore both tourists' and online audiences' activities on a travel platform. The sample for the narrative analysis consisted of 35 content-rich travel blog posts (total word count: 776,993; total number of pictures: 11,924), along with corresponding comments (total word count: 9,541) and interactive responses from online observers. A quantitative study was then conducted to test the conceptual model developed based on the qualitative findings with a generalized population. The main study (n=395) was analyzed with PLS-SEM. Findings from the qualitative study suggested a Yin-Yang philosophical approach to understanding aesthetics in tourism, proposing a new way to define "Beauty" and "Ugliness." A two-stage framework of Yijing's formation (i.e., preparation and realization) and a three-level pyramid of Yijing's connotation (i.e., perceptual appreciation, transcendence, and Epiphany) were revealed. The three levels of Yijing ideally correspond to the three realms of people's outlook on life and trigger individuals' behavioral, psychological, and transformational changes. Findings from the quantitative study further validated the three levels of Yijing and its significant influence on self-transformation in a global setting. This dissertation bears valuable theoretical contributions to studying aesthetics in various disciplines and fields such as tourism, hospitality, education, psychology, and marketing from a unique Eastern philosophical perspective. It also yields insightful practical implications for organizations and practitioners to practice aesthetic placemaking.


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Graduation Date





Wei, Wei


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Degree Program

Hospitality Management


CFE0009818; DP0027926





Release Date

August 2026

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2026; it will then be open access.