Making sense of distance. Mobility in staycation as a case of proximity tourism

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för service management och tjänstevetenskap

Abstract: Purpose: The aim of this dissertation is to explore mobility in a proximity tourism context. Mobilities are being widely discussed in connection to society, everyday life, and tourism as a whole. Thus, it focuses on the staycation phenomenon as a case of proximity tourism. In particular on its representations in the digital media and as a local travel practice in Sweden. Considering that tourism implies mobility, the new mobilities paradigm presents interest for the study. It introduces a new way of thinking about tourism, as there is more to it than just movement between places. The concept of distance is subsequently central to its understanding. Methods: The current study is of qualitative nature and regards social science research. On that account, a literature review on the staycation topic is presented. Afterwards, qualitative content analysis and netnography are employed as methods. Results: The findings demonstrate the value of other understandings of distance in tourism, and moves beyond the physical distance. Moreover, the staycation phenomenon is challenging the tourist mobility, in particular the contrast between proximate and distant, home and away, host and guest. Different understandings of distance serve as indicators for it. In this context, romanticisation of staycation through the medium of detachment and environmental awareness is observed. It is found to be an essential factor in facilitating changes in tourist mobility, directed towards a more conscious and low-carbon consumption in tourism. Implications: The study delivers contributions on both societal and theoretical levels. Thus, the findings are rather encouraging, with practical implications for local tourism marketing and regional development. Further research is suggested in order to establish how staycation and local travel has transformative potential directed towards reducing the vulnerability of the tourism industry.

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