The International Academy for the Study of Tourism has bestowed the award of “Emerging Scholar of Distinction” on Dr Scott Cohen, Senior Lecturer in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The award recognises Scott’s substantial contributions to tourism research and scholarship since gaining his PhD. In June 2013, Scott and two other award winners will present their research as honoured attendees at the Academy’s biennial conference in Olhão, Portugal. The Academy is an international organisation created to enhance both theoretical and practical research in the field of tourism. Its membership is comprised of highly accomplished tourism researchers from throughout the world.
New research discovers that a focus on new technology is not enough to reach carbon reduction targets in the transport industry.
Dr Scott Cohen delivers keynote speech on transversality and competitivity in tourism at international conference in Brazil.
Dr Scott Cohen, Senior Lecturer in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, recently gave the opening keynote at the Consumer Behaviour in Tourism Symposium (CBTS 2014) in Brunico, Italy. His keynote talk explored how mobility patterns from emerging world regions hold new insights for understandings of consumer behaviour in tourism.
SHTM Reader recognised for his "extraordinary research record"
A new study published today in the journal Environment & Planning A has described how the glamorisation of frequent, long-haul travel ignores and exacerbates the physiological, psychological, and societal costs of our ‘hypermobile’ lifestyles.
A new study published in the journal Transportation Research Part D has explored the ways in which new technologies have been ‘hyped’ by the aviation industry and media as the key to sustainable air travel, perpetuating a culture of non-accountability for increased emissions and subsequent environmental damage.
Head of Department of Tourism and Events
Deputy Director of Research - School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Fellow of the International Association for China Tourism Studies
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK)
Wenjie Cai - Experiences of Chinese outbound backpackers in Europe
Fred Lund - Social media, storytelling and destination management organisations
Michael Humbracht - Cultural analysis of migrants' visiting friends and relatives mobilities
Simon Kimber - Host and guest relations of Chinese backpackers in southeast Asia destinations
Xiongbin Gao – Sustainable tourism mobilities and Chinese independent travellers
Tassya Putho – Home and belonging in the return migration experiences of Thai retirees
Resource Editor for Annals of Tourism Research
Editorial Board member of Current Issues in Tourism
Editorial Board member of Journal of China Tourism Research
Editorial Board member of Tourism Review International
Editorial Review Board member of Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research
CNN Business Traveller – “The dark side of travel” (15 Oct 2015)
Newsweek – “Frequent air travel has hidden health risks and social consequences” (19 Aug 2015)
The Economist – “Frequent flyers: The sad, sick life of the business traveller” (17 Aug 2015)
The Telegraph – “How business travel can make you seriously sick” (19 Aug 2015)
The Telegraph – “Instagram jet-setters at risk of ill-health and relationship breakdown” (4 Aug 2015)
Die Zeit – “Vielfliegen macht krank und einsam” (21 Aug 2015)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – “Von Reisen, Risiken und Nebenwirkungen” (25 Aug 2015)
The Huffington Post – “The dark side of travel nobody’s talking about” (5 Aug 2015)
Fox News – “Could frequent travel be dangerous?” (21 Aug 2015)
Fox News – “Forget Instagram: Study reveals health risks of frequent travel” (7 Aug 2015)
Mashable – “The glamorous life of a frequent traveler is a lie, researchers say” (4 Aug 2015)
Responding to Climate Change – “Politicians must take on transport ‘taboos’ to curb emissions” (15 Aug 2014)
Environment and Energy Publishing – “Policymakers must confront transport ‘taboos’ to meet climate goals” (15 Aug 2014)
Find me on campus Room: 22 MS 02
Wednesdays 11-12, 2-3; please email for an appointment; open door policy if I am in and not already seeing someone else.
Debates surrounding the human impact on climate change have, in recent years, proliferated in political, academic, and public rhetoric. Such debates have also played out in the context of tourism research (e.g. extent to which anthropogenic climate change exists; public understanding in relation to climate change and tourism). Taking these debates as its point of departure, whilst also adopting a post-structuralist position, this paper offers a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of comments to an online BBC news article concerning climate change. Our analysis finds three key ways responsibility is mitigated through climate change talk: scepticism towards the scientific evidence surrounding climate change; placing responsibility on the ‘distant other’ through a nationalistic discourse; and presenting CO2 as ‘plant food’. The implications of these ways of thinking about climate change are discussed with a focus on how this translates into action related to the sustainability of tourism behaviours. In doing so, it concludes that a deeper understanding of everyday climate talk is essential if the tourism sector is to move towards more sustainable forms of consumption.
Late modernity in developed nations is characterized by changing social and psychological conditions, including individualization, processes of competition and loneliness. Remaining socially connected is becoming increasingly important. In this situation, travel provides meaning through physical encounters, inclusion in traveller Gemeinschaft based on shared norms, beliefs and interests, and social status in societies increasingly defined by mobilities. As relationships are forged and found in mobility, travel is no longer an option, rather a necessity for sociality, identity construction, affirmation or alteration. Social contexts and the underlying motivations for tourism have changed fundamentally in late modernity: non-tourism has become a threat to self-conceptions. By integrating social and psychological perspectives, this paper expands and deepens existing travel and mobilities discussions to advance the understanding of tourism as a mechanism of social connectedness, and points to implications for future tourism research.
Emissions from aviation will continue to increase in the future, in contradiction of global climate policy objectives. Yet, airlines and airline organizations suggest that aviation will become climatically sustainable. This paper investigates this paradox by reviewing fuel-efficiency gains since the 1960s in comparison to aviation growth, and by linking these results to technology discourses, based on a two-tiered approach tracing technology-focused discourses over 20 years (1994-2013). Findings indicate that a wide range of solutions to growing emissions from aviation have been presented by industry, hyped in global media, and subsequently vanished to be replaced by new technology discourses. Redundant discourses often linger in the public domain, where they continue to be associated with industry aspirations of ‘sustainable aviation’ and ‘zero-emission flight’. The paper highlights and discusses a number of technology discourses that constitute ‘technology myths’, and the role these ‘myths’ may be playing in the enduring but flawed promise of sustainable aviation. We conclude that technology myths require policy-makers to interpret and take into account technical uncertainty, which may result in inaction that continues to delay much needed progress in climate policy for aviation.
Since the formulation of the mobilities paradigm, research has shown that movement is increasingly at the heart of our social identities. This paper argues that mobility, and indeed, hypermobility, constitutes to a growing extent who we are, while societal perspectives on mobility increasingly dictate how we need to move in time and space in order to accrue network capital. In this critical review, deeply embedded mechanisms of the social glamorization of mobility are uncovered, and juxtaposed with what we call a ‘darker side’ of hypermobility, including the physiological, psychological, emotional and social costs of mobility for individuals and societies. The paper concludes that while aspects of glamorization in regard to mobility are omnipresent in our lives, there exists an ominous silence with regard to its darker side.
The period leading to and immediately after the release of the IPCC’s fifth series of climate change assessments saw substantial efforts by climate change denial interests to portray anthropogenic climate change (ACC) as either unproven theory or a negligible contribution to natural climate variability, including the relationship between tourism and climate change. This paper responds to those claims by stressing that the extent of scientific consensus suggests that human-induced warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Secondly, it responds in the context of tourism research and ACC, highlighting tourism’s significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as climate change’s potential impacts on tourism at different scales. The paper exposes the tactics used in ACC denial papers to question climate change science by referring to non-peer reviewed literature, outlier studies and misinterpretation of research, as well as potential links to think-tanks and interest groups. The paper concludes that climate change science does need to improve its communication strategies but that the world-view of some individuals and interests likely precludes acceptance. The connection between ACC and sustainability illustrates the need for debate on adaptation and mitigation strategies, but that debate needs to be grounded in scientific principles not unsupported skepticism.
The increasing number of people leading more mobile lives, with spatially dispersed families, raises questions over how they maintain their family life and friendships, and how this is shaped and shapes different forms of migration, and different patterns of Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR). This paper develops an explanatory framework for conceptualizing and analyzing VFR mobilities, seeking to draw together threads from migration, mobilities and tourism studies. In unpacking the notion of VFR, this paper understands VFR mobilities as being constituted of diverse practices, and discusses five of the most important of these: social relationships, the provision of care, affirmations of identities and roots, maintenance of territorial rights, and leisure tourism. While these five types of practices are considered sequentially in this paper, they are in practice often blurred and overlapping. The interweaving of these practices changes over time, as does the meaning and content of individual practices, reflecting changes in the duration of migration, life cycle stage, individual goals and values, and the broader sets of relationships with and social obligations to different kin and friends.
This paper summarizes the major outcomes of the Surrey Tourism Research Center’s “Reconceptualising Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR Travel)” think tank held on July 13th 2013, at the University of Surrey in Guildford, U.K. This conference communication will briefly highlight the context, approach and main discussion themes of the event. In addition, it will summarize the implications and key outcomes, leading to the identification of further research topics.
There is widespread consensus that current climate policy for passenger transportation is insufficient to achieve significant emission reductions in line with global climate stabilization goals. This article consequently has a starting point in the notion of ‘path dependency’ (Schwanen, Banister and Anable 2011) and an observed ‘implementation gap’ (Banister and Hickman 2012), suggesting that significant mitigation policies for transport do not emerge in the European Union because of various interlinked ‘transport taboos’, i.e. barriers to the design, acceptance and implementation of such transport policies that remain unaddressed as they constitute political risk. The paper argues that without addressing transport taboos, such as highly unequal individual contributions to transport volumes and emissions, social inequality of planned market-based measures, the role of lobbyism, and the various social and psychological functions of mobility, it will remain difficult to achieve significant emission reductions in passenger transport. Yet, transport taboos remain largely ignored among EU policy makers because their discussion would violate ‘order’, i.e. harm specific interests within neoliberal governance structures and the societal foundations and structures of transport systems built on these.
Encouraging positive public behaviour change has been touted as a pathway for mitigating the climate impacts of air travel. There is, however, growing evidence that two gaps, one between attitudes and behaviour, and the other between practices of “home” and “away”, pose significant barriers to changing discretionary air travel behaviour. This article uses both modern sociological theory on tourism as liminoid space, and postmodern theory that views identities as contextual, to provide a deeper understanding of why these gaps occur in the context of tourism spaces. Based on 50 in-depth consumer interviews in Australia, Norway and the United Kingdom, our findings confirm that tourism spaces are often subject to lower levels of environmental concern than daily domestic contexts. The majority of participants reduced, suppressed or abandoned their climate concern when in tourism spaces, and rationalised their resulting behavioural contradictions. Only a minority held there was no difference between the environmental sustainability of their practices in domestic situations versus those on holiday. These findings suggest that scope for voluntary positive behaviour change in the air travel context is limited and will not come without stronger intervention, which is a key finding for policy makers seeking reductions in air travel’s climate impacts. Keywords – Flying, climate change, attitude-behaviour gap, home and away, identity, behaviour change
This paper introduces and explores the psychological and social factors that both contribute to and inhibit behaviour change vis-à-vis sustainable (tourist) mobility. It is based on papers presented at the Freiburg 2012 workshop. Specifically, it reviews climate change attitudes and perceptions, the psychological benefits of tourism mobilities, addictive elements of mobility and social norming effects, the attitude-behaviour gap (i.e., cognitive dissonance between understandings of, and responses to, climate change), the psychology of modal shifts, the psychology of travel speed/time, and psychological explanations for the perceived importance of long distance travel. It notes that anthropogenic climate change is an inescapable reality, and that tourism’s share of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions appears set to rise substantially. There is little prospect of technical solutions adequately addressing this problem. The paper concludes that, while a comprehensive understanding of tourist psychology is necessary to inform policy makers, it alone will be insufficient to achieve emission reductions, and bring tourism to a climatically sustainable pathway, if treated in isolation. Radical change in the structures of provision is also necessary. That change may take the form of infrastructure planning, including financial and economic infrastructure (e.g. taxation regimes and emission trading schemes) for sustainable mobility.
While leisure and tourism researchers have come some way in addressing issues of reflexivity in their own research, this effort towards engaging with positionality has lagged approximately ten years behind when the broader social sciences confronted the ‘reflexive turn’. This research note draws upon two cases from my own research with lifestyle travellers to illustrate how a reflexive approach can help to generate more trustworthy, richer texts in qualitative leisure research.
This article reviews the changing nature of contemporary tourism and sociological approaches to its study. We examine the broad social trends and specific historical events that recently affected tourism and discuss how the focus of sociological inquiry in tourism studies shifted from earlier discourses of authenticity and the tourist gaze to three novel theoretical approaches, the mobilities “paradigm”, the performativity approach and actor-network theory (ANT), which each reflect a broader meta-theoretical re-orientation in contemporary philosophy and sociology. We appraise these conceptual developments and discuss their limitations. We then identify several current research issues as important areas for problem-oriented work at the intersections of tourism and contemporary society: social justice, environmental sustainability, natural disasters, terrorism, heritage, embodiment and affect, and mediatization.
Seeking to shift the discussion of the concept of authenticity in tourism scholarship from the dominant concern with tourist experiences to the more sociological problem of the processes of authentication of tourist attractions, we conceptualize two analytically distinct, but practically often intersecting, modes of authentication of attractions, “cool” and “hot”. Through a range of examples, we demonstrate the implications of the two modes for the dynamics of the constitution of tourist attractions, examine their interaction, and illustrate how "cool" and "hot" authentication can be conducive to different types of personal experiences of authenticity. We furthermore explore the crucial question of who is authorized to authenticate tourist attractions, and thereby uncover issues of power and contestation in the politics of authentication.
Scholarship on backpackers speculates some individuals may extend backpacking to a way of life. This article empirically explores this proposition using lifestyle consumption as its framing concept and conceptualises individuals who style their lives around the enduring practice of backpacking as ‘lifestyle travellers’. Ethnographic interviews with lifestyle travellers in India and Thailand offer an emic account of the practices, ideologies and social identity that characterise lifestyle travel as a distinctive subtype within backpacking. Departing from the drifter construct, which (re)constitutes this identity as socially deviant, the concept of lifestyle allows for a contemporary appraisal of these individuals’ patterns of meaningful consumption and wider insights into how ongoing mobility can lead to different ways of understanding identities and relating to place.
Recent popular press suggests that ‘binge flying’ constitutes a new site of behavioural addiction. We theoretically appraise and empirically support this proposition through interviews with consumers in Norway and the United Kingdom conducted in 2009. Consistent findings from across two national contexts evidence a growing negative discourse towards frequent short-haul tourist air travel and illustrate strategies of guilt suppression and denial used to span a cognitive dissonance between the short-term personal benefits of tourism and the air travel’s associated long-term consequences for climate change. Tensions between tourism consumption and changing social norms towards acceptable flying practice exemplify how this social group is beginning to (re)frame what constitutes ‘excessive’ holiday flying, despite concomitantly continuing their own frequent air travels.
The purview of climate change concern has implicated air travel, as evidenced in a growing body of academic literature concerned with aviation CO2 emissions. This article assesses the relevance of climate change to long haul air travel decisions to New Zealand for United Kingdom consumers. Based on 15 semi-structured open-ended interviews conducted in Bournemouth, UK during June 2009, it was found that participants were unlikely to forgo potential travel decisions to New Zealand because of concern over air travel emissions. Underpinning the interviewees’ understandings and responses to air travel’s climate impact was a spectrum of awareness and attitudes to air travel and climate change. This spectrum ranged from individuals who were unaware of air travel’s climate impact to those who were beginning to consume air travel with a 2 ‘carbon conscience’. Within this spectrum were some who were aware of the impact but not willing to change their travel behaviours at all. Rather than implicating long haul air travel, the empirical evidence instead exemplifies changing perceptions towards frequent short haul air travel and voices calls for both government and media in the UK to deliver more concrete messages on air travel’s climate impact.
Accelerating global climate change poses considerable challenges to all societies and economies. The European Union now targets a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. Indeed, the Labour-led Norwegian government is committed to carbon neutrality across all sectors of the economy by 2030. Aviation has been identified as a rapidly growing contributor to CO2 emissions. This article reports on a research project that explored Norwegian attitudes towards climate change, particularly as they relate to extreme long-haul air travel to Aotearoa/New Zealand. It reveals that the ‘dream trip’ to New Zealand for Norwegians is still largely intact. It also finds evidence of ‘air travel with a carbon conscience’ arising from growing concern for high frequency discretionary air travel. Evidence of denial of the climate impact of air travel that recent studies have revealed was largely absent. Interviewees expressed a greater concern for short-haul air travel emissions than for the climate impact of long-haul travel. However, intentions to adapt long-haul travel behaviours were expressed, highlighting the need to monitor consumer attitudes towards the impact of air travel on climate change. We conclude that Norway is a vanguard European tourism market in terms of climate sensitivity.
This paper problematises the concept of searching for self in the context of lifestyle travellers – individuals for whom extended leisure travel is a preferred lifestyle that they return to repeatedly. Qualitative findings on the search for self from in-depth semi-structured interviews with lifestyle travellers in northern India and southern Thailand are considered in light of opposing academic perspectives on self. The study reveals a theoretical tension that exists between lifestyle travellers who may seek a unified sense of self, underpinned by the essentialist position that one‟s „true self‟ exists, and contrasting widely held academic viewpoints that instead conceptualise embodied selves as relational and open to multiple performances.
This article explores the personal identity work of lifestyle travellers – individuals for whom extended leisure travel is a preferred lifestyle that they return to repeatedly. Qualitative findings from in-depth semi-structured interviews with lifestyle travellers in northern India and southern Thailand are interpreted in light of theories on identity formation in late modernity that position identity as problematic. It is suggested that extended leisure travel can provide exposure to varied cultural praxes that may contribute to a sense of social saturation. Whilst a minority of the respondents embraced a saturation of personal identity in the subjective formation of a cosmopolitan cultural identity, several of the respondents were paradoxically left with more identity questions than answers as the result of their travels.
This paper assesses the extent to which dog owners located in Brisbane, Australia wish to holiday with their pets and if there is a gap between this desire and reality. The paper also examines the extent to which this demand is being catered for by the tourism accommodation sector. The need for this study reflects the increasingly significant role dogs are playing in the lives of humans and the scale of the dog owning population. The results suggest whilst there is a strong desire amongst dog owners to take holidays with their pets the actualisation of this desire is comparatively low. A significant obstacle to the realisation of this desire appears to be a dearth of pet friendly accommodation. This has implications for the ability of the tourism industry to benefit from the potentially lucrative market that is the dog-owning population.
There is a burgeoning body of academic literature (e.g. Becken, 2007; Gössling et al, 2006; Hares et al, 2010) that examines if and how consumer concern about climate change manifests itself in tourist behavioural practices. These works build on a wealth of previous studies that consider how consumer concern over issues of sustainable development may also affect tourist behaviour. Indeed, whilst tourism’s climate impacts have lately been a hot topic, there is no doubt that issues of climate change are within the remit of, and need to be considered alongside, wider discourses of sustainable development (Weaver, 2011). Recent research focussed explicitly on the climate impacts of tourism and associated tourism transport reflects the realisation in the academy that the tourism industry, characterised by energy-intensive consumption, is a significant contributor to accelerating global climate change. Despite the claim, however, that tourism is increasingly blended into the fabric of everyday life (Edensor, 2007), the mass of tourism still largely occurs as a bounded experience outside the rhythms of the day-to-day, which is both extraordinary and often involving conspicuous consumption. With tourism often experienced as an event set apart from the day-to-day, it is unsurprising that few studies, with the notable exception of Barr et al (2010), have sought to understand tourist environmental concern in relation to a wider scope of everyday lives and daily decision-making. The present chapter seeks to further understandings of how tourism consumption, and its consequent carbon emissions, are made sense of and justified by consumers in relation to everyday life decisions. Based on 30 open-ended, semi-structured interviews carried out in the United Kingdom and Norway in 2009, the chapter illustrates consistencies and 2 inconsistencies in the climate sensitivities of UK and Norwegian consumers in relation to both everyday domestic (home) and tourism (away) practices. Modern theory on tourism as liminoid space (Turner, 1982) and postmodern theory that suggests personal identity (and consequently behaviour) is inconsistent and performed differently across varying contexts (Bell, 2008; Edensor, 2001) are used as complementary explanatory devices for understanding some of the participants’ seemingly contradictory consumption decisions. The research consequently reveals significant paradoxes in consumer climate sensitivities between the everyday and holidays. These find
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