Dr Scott Cohen

Featured Stories

Research Interests

  • Sustainable transport
  • Hypermobility
  • Business travel
  • Lifestyle mobilities

Research Collaborations

  • Principal investigator on EU funded project, partnered with Surrey's Centre for Environmental Strategy, to conduct a socioeconomic impact analysis of the Clean Sky Programme for aviation technologies (€135k)
  • Co-chair of the international workshop series on sustainable mobility (Freiburg, Germany - 2012, 2014, 2016) with Prof Stefan Gössling (Western Norway Research Institute, Lund University, Sweden), Prof James Higham (University of Otago, NZ) and Associate Prof Paul Peeters and Eke Eijgelaar (NHTV Breda University, The Netherlands)



  • Tourist Behaviour
  • Hospitality and Tourism Consultancy
  • Business Environment


  • Tourism Social Science - module leader

Departmental Duties

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)

Current PhD students

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

Editorial Roles

Resource Editor for Annals of Tourism Research

Editorial Board member of Journal of Travel Research

Editorial Board member of Current Issues in Tourism

Editorial Board member of Journal of China Tourism Research

Editorial Board member of The Service Industries Journal

Editorial Board member of Tourism Review International

Editorial Review Board member of Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research

Selected Media Coverage

NBC News – “Could there be a law against excessive business travel?” (20 Mar 2017)

CNN International  – “Is business travel ruining your family life?” (7 Dec 2016)

The Guardian – “Climate change means no airport expansion – at Heathrow or anywhere” (18 Oct 2016) 

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)

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 3985

Find me on campus
Room: 03 AP 02

My office hours

Please email for an appointment; open door policy if I am in and not already seeing someone else.


Journal articles

  • Cohen SA, Hanna P, Gössling S. (2017) 'The dark side of business travel: A media comments analysis'. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment,


    The publication of ‘A darker side of hypermobility’ (Cohen & Gössling, 2015), which reviewed the personal and social consequences of frequent travel, led to considerable media coverage and sparking of the public imagination, particularly with regards to the impacts of business travel. It featured in more than 85 news outlets across 17 countries, engendering over 150,000 social media shares and 433 media comments from readers, with the latter a source of insight into how the public reacts online when faced with an overview of the negative sides of frequent business travel. The present paper is theoretically framed by the role of discourse in social change and utilises discursive analysis as a method to evaluate this body of media comments. Our analysis finds two key identities are performed through public responses to the explicit health and social warnings concerned with frequent business travel: the ‘flourishing hypermobile’ and the ‘floundering hypermobile’. The former either deny the health implications of frequent business travel, or present strategies to actively overcome them, while the latter seek solace in the public dissemination of the health warnings: they highlight their passivity in the construction of their identity as hypermobile and its associated health implications. The findings reveal a segment of business travellers who wish to reduce travel, but perceive this as beyond their locus of control. Business travel reductions are thus unlikely to happen through the agency of individual travellers, but rather by changes in the structural factors that influence human resource and corporate travel management policies.

  • Cohen E, Cohen SA, Li X. (2017) 'Subversive Mobilities'. Applied Mobilities,
  • Cohen E, Cohen SA, King VT. (2017) 'The global permutations of the Western publication regime'. Current Issues in Tourism,


    This article introduces the concept of the ‘publication regime’ into the current discourse on academia. This allows for a much deeper understanding of how publishing conglomerates and appointment and promotion procedures in Western universities are increasingly interlocked. It then turns to the global permutations of that regime as it is currently disseminated to other parts of the world. Using empirical examples drawn primarily from the field of tourism studies, we examine the problems engendered by the introduction of the regime’s appointment and promotion procedures of early career academic staff in universities in the emerging world regions. We specify the auxiliary mechanisms intended to ameliorate these problems, and draw attention to the neocolonial implications of the disciplining process which these mechanisms are introducing into the academic life of the universities in the emerging regions. We argue that, as the Western publication regime is becoming increasingly globalized, local intellectual voices tend to be silenced by the regime’s growing hegemony, and, call for the integration of non-Western perspectives into the framework of the publication regime.

  • Gössling S, Cohen SA, Hares A. (2016) 'Inside the black box: EU policy officers' perspectives on transport and climate change mitigation'. Journal of Transport Geography, 57, pp. 83-93.


    Transport is a significant and growing contributor to climate change. To stay within ‘safe’ global warming guardrails requires substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This represents a global political consensus, but there is evidence that current legislation in the transport sector is not significant enough to achieve medium- and longer-term reduction goals. In focusing on the European Union, this paper investigates the perspectives of twelve policy officers in three Directorates-General (MOVE, CLIMA, ENV) of the European Commission with regard to their understanding of mitigation goals and timelines, responsibilities for policy development and implementation, and perceived efficiencies of these policies to achieve climate objectives in the transport sector. Results indicate diverging and common views on climate policy goals and political responsibilities, as well as barriers to policy-making, including lack of political leadership on climate change mitigation, resistance from member states, the favoring of economic growth over cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, pressure from industry and lobby groups, preferential treatment of aero- and automobility over more sustainable transport modes, policy implementation delays, insufficient forecasting and monitoring tools, and an overreliance on technologies to contribute to emission reductions. In offering a view inside the ‘black box’ of transport policy-making, the paper reveals fundamental institutional (structural) and individual (agency-based) barriers that will have to be overcome if significant emission cuts in the transport sector are to be achieved

  • Higham J, Cohen SA, Cavaliere CT, Reis A, Finkler W. (2016) 'Climate change, tourist air travel and radical emissions reduction'. Journal of Cleaner Production, 111, pp. 336-347.
  • Peeters P, Higham J, Kutzner D, Cohen SA, Gössling S. (2016) 'Are technology myths stalling aviation climate policy?'. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 44, pp. 30-42.


    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.

  • Cohen SA, Higham J, Gössling S, Peeters P, Eijgelaar E. (2016) 'Finding effective pathways to sustainable mobility: Bridging the science-policy gap'. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 24 (3), pp. 317-334.
  • Higham J, Reis AC, Cohen SA. (2016) 'Australian climate concern and the ‘attitude-behaviour gap’'. Current Issues in Tourism, 19 (4), pp. 338-354.
  • Gössling S, Cohen SA, Hibbert J. (2016) 'Tourism as connectedness'. Current Issues in Tourism,


    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.

  • Hanna P, Scarles C, Cohen SA, Adams M. (2016) 'Everyday climate discourses and sustainable tourism'. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 24 (12), pp. 1624-1640.


    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.

  • Mikkelsen MV, Cohen SA. (2015) 'Freedom in mundane mobilities: Caravanning in Denmark'. Tourism Geographies, 17 (5), pp. 663-663.
  • Jensen MT, Scarles C, Cohen SA. (2015) 'A multisensory phenomenology of interrail mobilities'. Annals of Tourism Research, 53, pp. 61-76.


    This paper suggests that phenomenological studies of tourism mobilities can be informed by non-representational approaches. We extend recent developments in sensory tourism research and non-representational works to argue that methods upon which tourism researchers have long relied require ‘pushing’ or merging in previously underutilised ways that support these emerging areas of study. As a result, this paper embraces embodied methodologies. It integrates audio-visual impressionistic tales and netnographic snippets to shape its multisensory exploration of an under-researched European tourism and train travel phenomenon, interrailing. Our analysis exemplifies how the rhythmscapes and soundscapes of everyday rail travel inform the experience of interrail. Finally, we introduce the concept of thermalscapes, giving attention to the relatively neglected role of temperatures in tourism experiences.

  • Cohen E, Cohen SA. (2015) 'A mobilities approach to tourism from emerging world regions'. Current Issues in Tourism, 18 (1), pp. 11-43.


    Increasing numbers of people from the emerging world regions, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East engage in tourism practices at domestic, intra-regional and long-haul international scales. In this article we deploy an innovative application of the mobilities approach, which we argue moves beyond the Eurocentrism implicit in modernist tourism studies, in a comparative analysis of tourism in and from these regions and those in the ‘West’. Our analysis opens up the systematic study of tourism in emerging world regions in terms of the mobilities paradigm, and concludes: one, travel had a multiplicity of origins in societies in the emerging regions, but most did not possess an equivalent emic term to ‘tourism.’ Two, tourism at domestic and intra-regional levels tends to be entangled with other discretionary mobilities, whereas the long-haul level is more differentiated. Three, the development of domestic discretionary travel in emerging regions can be represented by four overlapping ‘mobility constellations’. Four, there are significant historical differences between the regions in their long-haul mobility constellations, although their kinetic hierarchies are all still steep. Five, forms of movement and associated practices of discretionary travellers from the emerging regions and Western countries became increasingly similar under the impact of socio-technological, economic and cultural globalisation. Six, differences between the emerging regions, particularly Asia, and the West are most salient on the emic level of representations of international travel: the specific cultural motive forces for tourism do not centre on authenticity-seeking, but are instead bound up with prestige and markers of modernity.

  • Cohen E, Cohen SA. (2015) 'Tourism mobilities from emerging world regions: A response to commentaries'. Current Issues in Tourism, 18 (1), pp. 68-69.
  • Cohen SA, Gössling S. (2015) 'A darker side of hypermobility'. Environment and Planning A, 47, pp. 1661-1679.


    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.

  • Hall, CM , Amelung B, Cohen SA, Eijgelaar E, Gossling S, Higham J, ... , Weaver D. (2015) 'No time for smokescreen skepticism: A rejoinder to Shani and Arad'. Tourism Management, 47, pp. 341-347.
  • Hall CM, Amelung B, Cohen SA, Eijgelaar E, Gössling S, Higham J, ... , Weaver D. (2015) 'Denying bogus skepticism in climate change and tourism research'. Tourism Management, 47, pp. 352-356.
  • Cohen SA, Duncan T, Thulemark M. (2015) 'Lifestyle mobilities: The crossroads of travel, leisure and migration'. Mobilities, 10 (1), pp. 155-172.
  • Hall CM, Amelung B, Cohen S, Eijgelaar E, Gossling S, Higham J, .... , Scott D. (2015) 'On climate change skepticism and denial in tourism'. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23 (1), pp. 4-25.


    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.

  • Cohen E, Cohen SA. (2015) 'Beyond Eurocentrism in tourism: A paradigm shift to mobilities'. Tourism Recreation Research, 40 (2), pp. 157-168.


    This article addresses critiques of Eurocentrism in tourism studies, which have called for a “paradigm shift” in response to the rapid rise of tourism from emerging world regions. We clarify the concept of a paradigm shift, and examine arguments for a shift in tourism studies on epistemological, theoretical and empirical levels. We argue for a shift on the theoretical level: the incorporation of tourism studies in the mobilities paradigm. We argue that this paradigm offers a fresh perspective on tourism as enmeshed with other kinds of discretionary mobilities, is free of Eurocentric assumptions, and destabilizes some of the leading concepts on which now problematic binary modernist thinking in tourism studies is based. However, the positivistic, ‘etic’ character of early studies of the mobilities paradigm hinders its culturally nuanced deployment in emerging world regions, a limitation we seek to remedy by adapting Tim Cresswell’s (2010) conceptualization of mobility as comprised of movement, representation and practice. We conclude by a summary of the principal findings of our application of the mobilities paradigm to the comparative study of tourism from the emerging regions.

  • Janta H, Cohen SA, Williams AM. (2015) 'Rethinking visiting friends and relatives mobilities'. Population, Space and Place, 21 (7), pp. 585-598.


    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.

  • Prayag G, Disegna M, Cohen SA, Yan H. (2015) 'Segmenting markets by bagged clustering: Young Chinese travelers to Western Europe'. Journal of Travel Research, 54 (2), pp. 234-259.
  • Prayag G, Cohen SA, Yan H. (2015) 'Potential Chinese travelers to Western Europe: Segmenting motivations and service expectations'. Current Issues in Tourism, 18 (8), pp. 725-743.
  • Gössling S, Cohen SA. (2014) 'Why sustainable transport policies will fail: EU climate policy in the light of transport taboos'. Journal of Transport Geography, 39, pp. 197-207.


    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.

  • Palovic, Z , Kam, S , Janta, H , Cohen SA, Williams, A . (2014) 'Surrey Think Tank – Reconceptualising Visiting Friends & Relatives (VFR) Travel'. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 2 (14), pp. 266-268.


    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.

  • Higham JES, Cohen SA, Cavaliere CT. (2014) 'Climate change, discretionary air travel and the ‘flyers’ dilemma’'. Journal of Travel Research, 53 (4), pp. 462-475.
  • Cohen SA, Prayag G, Moital M. (2014) 'Consumer behaviour in tourism: Concepts, influences and opportunities'. Current Issues in Tourism, 17 (10), pp. 872-909.
  • Cohen SA, Higham, JES , Reis, A . (2013) 'Sociological barriers to developing sustainable discretionary air travel behaviour'. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21 (7), pp. 982-998.


    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

  • Cohen SA. (2013) 'Reflections on reflexivity in leisure and tourism studies'. Leisure Studies, 32 (3), pp. 333-337.


    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.

  • Higham JES, Cohen SA, Peeters, P , Gössling S. (2013) 'Psychological and behavioural approaches to understanding and governing sustainable mobility'. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21 (7), pp. 949-967.


    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.

  • Cohen SA. (2013) 'A portrait of Erik Cohen'. Anatolia: an international journal of tourism and hospitality research, 24 (1), pp. 104-111.
  • Cohen E, Cohen SA. (2012) 'Current sociological theories and issues in tourism'. Annals of Tourism Research, 39 (4), pp. 2177-2202.


    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.

  • Cohen E, Cohen SA. (2012) 'Authentication: Hot and cool'. Annals of Tourism Research, 39 (3), pp. 1295-1314.


    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.

  • Cohen SA. (2011) 'Lifestyle travellers: Backpacking as a way of life'. Annals of Tourism Research, 38 (4), pp. 1535-1555.


    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.

  • Cohen SA, Higham JES, Cavaliere CT. (2011) 'Binge flying: Behavioural addiction and climate change'. Annals of Tourism Research, 38 (3), pp. 1070-1089.


    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.

  • Carr N, Cohen SA. (2011) 'The public face of zoos: Images of entertainment, education, and conservation'. Anthrozoös, 24 (2), pp. 175-189.
  • Cohen SA, Higham JES. (2011) 'Eyes wide shut? UK consumer perceptions on aviation climate impacts and travel decisions to New Zealand'. Current Issues in Tourism, 14 (4), pp. 323-335.


    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.

  • Mura P, Cohen SA. (2011) 'Guest editors' introduction to special issue on 'Leisure, Tourism and Risk''. Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia & Latin America, 1 (2), pp. 1-6.
  • Cohen SA. (2011) 'Book review: Tourism, Power and Culture: Anthropological Insights (edited by D. Macleod & J. Carrier)'. International Journal of Tourism Research, 13 (3)
  • Higham JES, Cohen SA. (2011) 'Canary in the coalmine: Norwegian attitudes towards climate change and extreme long-haul air travel to Aotearoa/New Zealand'. Tourism Management, 32 (1), pp. 98-105.


    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.

  • Cohen SA. (2010) 'Personal identity (de)formation among lifestyle travellers: A double-edged sword?'. Leisure Studies, 29 (3), pp. 289-301.


    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.

  • Cohen SA. (2010) 'Chasing a myth? Searching for 'self' through lifestyle travel'. Tourist Studies, 10 (2), pp. 117-133.


    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.

  • Carr N, Cohen SA. (2009) 'Holidaying with the family pet: No dogs allowed!'. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 9 (4), pp. 290-304.


    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.


  • Cohen SA, Higham JES, Peeters P, Gossling S. (2014) Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: Psychological and behavioural approaches. London : Routledge
  • Duncan, T , Cohen SA, Thulemark, M . (2013) Lifestyle mobilities: Intersections of travel, leisure and migration. Farnham : Ashgate


    Being mobile in today's world is influenced by many aspects including transnational ties, increased ease of access to transport, growing accessibility to technology, knowledge and information and changing socio-cultural outlooks and values. These factors can all engender a (re)formation of our everyday life and moving - as and for lifestyle - has, in many ways, become both easier and much more complex. This book highlights the crossroads between concepts of lifestyle and the growing body of work on 'mobilities'. The study of lifestyle offers a lens through which to study the kinds of moorings, dwellings, repetitions and routines around which mobilities become socially, culturally and politically meaningful. Bringing together scholars from geography, sociology, tourism, history and beyond, the authors illustrate the breadth and richness of mobilities research through the concept of lifestyle. Organised into four sections, the book begins by dealing with aspects of bodily performance through lifestyle mobility. Section two then looks at how we can use mobile methods within social research, whilst section three explores issues surrounding ideas of mobility, immobility and belonging. Finally, section four draws together a number of chapters that focus on the complexities of identity within mobility. Often drawing on ethnographic research, contributors all share one common feature: they are at the forefront of research into lifestyle mobilities.

Book chapters

  • Cohen SA. (2016) 'Hypermobile business and leisure lifestyles: Will wellbeing concerns stimulate environmental co-benefits?'. in Hopkins D, Higham J (eds.) Low Carbon Mobility Transitions Oxford : Goodfellow , pp. 66-76.
  • Cohen SA. (2015) 'Drifter, tourist'. in Jafari J, Xiao H (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Tourism 2nd Edition. Springer
  • Cohen SA, Higham JES, Peeters P, Gossling S. (2014) 'Why tourism mobility behaviours must change'. in Cohen SA, Higham JES, Peeters P, Gossling S (eds.) Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: Psychological and behavioural approaches London : Routledge , pp. 1-11.
  • Cohen SA, Higham JES, Reis AC. (2014) 'Sociological barriers to developing sustainable discretionary air travel behaviour'. in Cohen SA, Higham JES, Peeters P, Gossling S (eds.) Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: Psychological and behavioural approaches London : Routledge , pp. 68-87.
  • Gossling S, Peeters P, Higham JES, Cohen SA. (2014) 'New governance models for behaviour change in tourism mobilities: A research agenda'. in Cohen SA, Higham JES, Peeters P, Gossling S (eds.) Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: Psychological and behavioural approaches London : Routledge , pp. 300-305.
  • Thulemark M, Duncan T, Cohen SA. (2013) 'Lifestyle mobilities: Conclusions and future research'. in Duncan T, Cohen SA, Thulemark M (eds.) Lifestyle mobilities: Intersections of travel, leisure and migration Farnham : Ashgate , pp. 253-259.
  • Cohen SA. (2013) 'Leisure, identities and personal growth'. in Elkington S, Gammon S (eds.) Contemporary Perspectives in Leisure: Meanings, Motives and Lifelong Learning London : Routledge , pp. 197-206.
  • Cohen SA, Duncan T, Thulemark M. (2013) 'Introducing lifestyle mobilities'. in Duncan T, Cohen SA, Thulemark M (eds.) Lifestyle mobilities: Intersections of travel, leisure and migration Farnham : Ashgate , pp. 1-18.
  • Arcodia C, Cohen SA, Dickson, C . (2012) 'Accrediting sustainable event practice'. in Fayos-solà E (ed.) Knowledge Management in Tourism: Policy and Governance Applications Bingley : Emerald Group Publishing Ltd , pp. 209-218.
  • Cohen SA, Higham JES. (2012) 'Contradictions in climate concern: Performances of home and away'. in Reddy MV, Wilkes K (eds.) Tourism, Climate Change and Sustainability London : Routledge , pp. 257-270.


    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

  • Higham JES, Cohen SA. (2010) 'Kerry Packer: World Series Cricket (WSC) and the (r)evolution of modern sport-related tourism'. in Butler R, Russell R (eds.) Giants of Tourism Oxford : CABI , pp. 182-197.
  • Cohen SA. (2010) 'Re-conceptualising lifestyle travellers: Contemporary 'drifters''. in Hannam K, Diekmann A (eds.) Beyond Backpacker Tourism: Mobilities and Experiences Clevedon : Channel View , pp. 64-84.
  • Cohen SA. (2010) 'Searching for escape, authenticity and identity: Experiences of 'lifestyle travellers''. in Morgan M, Lugosi P, Ritchie JRB (eds.) The Tourism and Leisure Experience: Consumer and Managerial Perspectives Bristol : Channel View , pp. 27-42.
  • Cohen SA. (2008) 'Know thyself? Assimilating the classical leisure ideal, self-actualisation, or experience, and existential authenticity'. in Gilchrist P, Wheaton B (eds.) Whatever happened to the Leisure Society? Theory, Debate and Policy Eastbourne : Leisure Studies Association , pp. 165-180.

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