This research note uses a case study approach to illustrate when and how to apply thematic analysis as a tool to interpret empirical material in tourism research and suggests a variety of research contexts in which its use may be appropriate. The case study demonstrates the value of thematic analysis in understanding and unpacking a body of rich, descriptive media text (such as magazine articles, social media, and marketing material). This note also establishes that thematic analysis can be successfully used with visual material, taking intertextuality into account to facilitate a well-balanced interpretation of underlying cultural meanings. A further strength is the ability to produce graphic representations of the analysis, which then provide a suitable structure for discussing the findings. Using research carried out on second-home articles in a New Zealand magazine from 1936 to 2012 to illustrate the process, a step by step description of how to apply thematic analysis to written and visual text is provided. It also provides a set of criteria to ensure the trustworthiness of the research output, and as such is a valuable guide to carrying out a rigorous thematic analysis of texts in a variety of tourism research contexts.