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

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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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Making sense of distance
Mobility in staycation as a case of proximity tourism
Author: Alexandra Rosu
Supervisor: Hervé Corvellec Examiner: Jan-Henrik Nilsson
Lund University, Sweden
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Service Management and Service Studies
SMMM20, Master's Thesis, 30 ECTS
June, 2020
Table of Contents
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………………… ii
Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………………………………….. iii
List of Figures and Tables.………………………………….…………………………………………….. iv
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………….. 1
1. Mobility in tourism………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
2. Aim of the study and research questions development……………………………………………… 2
3. Outline of the paper………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
CHAPTER II: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK……………………………………………………. 6
1. New mobilities paradigm……………………………………………………………………………. 6
2. Distance as a “fluid” concept and its stance in tourism…………………………………………….. 8
3. Introducing the staycation trend: a literature review……………………………………………….. 12
CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY…………………………………………………………………… 15
1. Research philosophy and design………………………………………………….……………….. 15
2. Data collection…………………………………………………………………………………….. 16
3. Data analysis………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
4. Ethical considerations…………………………………………………………………………….. 19
5. Limitations………………………………………………………………………………………… 20
CHAPTER IV: FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS………………………………………………………… 21
1. Representations of staycation in digital media…………………………………….……………… 21
2. Staycation as a local travel practice in Sweden……………………………………………………. 28
3. Aspects of staycation………………………………………………………………………………. 32
CHAPTER V: DISCUSSION………………………………………………………………………….. 36
1. “Romanticisation” of staycation………………………………………………………………….. 36
2. Towards a change in tourist mobility.…………………………………………….………………. 39
CHAPTER VI: CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………………. 42
1. Contribution of the dissertation…………………………………………………………………… 42
2. Future research suggestions………………………………………………………………………. 43
REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………………….. 45
APPENDICES………………………………………………………………………………………….. 53
Appendix A. List of hotels that market staycation………………………..………………………….. 53
Appendix B. Material used for qualitative content analysis…………………..……………………… 54
Appendix C. Reflective notes………………………………………………..……………………….. 59
i
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.
Keywords: tourism, mobility, distance, staycation, local travel
Word count: 18 414
ii
Acknowledgments
I would like to take this opportunity and express gratitude to those who supported me while I was writing
this dissertation. After all, it would not have been possible without their help and patience.
Foremost, I would like to genuinely thank my supervisor and mentor, Professor Hervé Corvellec, not only
for his careful guidance and advices, but also for the continuous encouragement during the last six
months. I did consider myself extremely fortunate to have him as tutor, especially on account that his
lectures served as inspiration from the very first assignment I wrote as a graduate student at Lund
University and up to the current dissertation.
I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of my examiner, Associate Professor Jan-Henrik Nilsson, for
his constructive criticism and insightful comments. The received input and valuable time is very much
appreciated.
Special thanks to all my friends for their kind words of support. Likewise, to my peer-review group for
their helpful remarks.
Education was always valued in my family, hence I wish to say final words of gratitude to them. To my
grandma for being the most outstanding role model of a strong woman and her emotional intelligence. To
my mother for her unconditional kindness. To my aunt for her contagious optimism. To Jenny and
Kristoffer for keeping my spirits up with all the laughs. To my beloved dog Akiko for her companionship
over our family’s video calls. Once more, I was fortunate that my family provided financial support
throughout my studies. In such manner I could stay 100% focused on my education, and so I did.
Thanks to all of you who have helped me, directly and indirectly, to be here where I am now.
Helsingborg, May 2020
Alexandra
iii
List of Figures
Figure 1. Illustration of the paper’s structure. (Adapted from: Björklund and Paulsson, 2014)…………. 5
Figure 2. A holistic understanding of mobility. (Source: author’s elaboration based on Cresswell, 2010
and Cohen and Cohen, 2015) ………………………………………………………………….. 7
Figure 3. The tourism “happiness loop”. (Source: Ram et al., 2013)…………………………………… 10
Figure 4. Segment transformation with distance. (Source: McKercher, 2018)………………………….. 11
Figure 5. Investigation design. (Adapted from: Björklund and Paulsson, 2014)……………………….. 18
Figure 6. Categorisation of themes: aspects of staycation model. (Source: author’s elaboration)………. 32
Figure 7. The “happiness loop” adjusted to staycations. (Adapted from: Ram et al., 2013)…………….. 38
Figure 8. Group history (Hemestertips, 2020). Screenshot by author…………………………………… 59
Figure 9. Staycation map (Hemestertips, 2020). Screenshot by author………………………………….. 60
Figure 10. Popular topics (Hemestertips, 2020). Screenshot by author………………………………….. 60
List of Tables
Table 1. Data collection outline………………………………………………………………………….. 16
Table 2. The relationship between distance and staycation……………………………………………… 33
iv
Chapter I. Introduction
———————————————————————————————
1. Mobility in tourism
Traveling across physical distances represents a conventional aspect ascribed to tourism (Robinson, 1976;
Verbeek and Mommaas, 2008; Larsen and Guiver, 2013). Tourism implies mobility, therefore they are not
mutually exclusive concepts that should be explored together (Coles, 2015). Mobility occurs as central,
yet the meaning behind it is imperative. To begin with, getting an insight into the history of mobility is
helpful to its understanding. This illustrates the significance that mobilities hold for this dissertation.
Cresswell (2006) presents a summary on it, where originally mobility was not common among the
greater part of people. Those who were mobile were not trustworthy and attributed the status of outsiders,
although this changed with the development of commercial activities and population growth (ibid).
Eventually it all led to an increased regulation of movements, where these historical nuances shaped the
future mobilities (Cresswell, 2012).
Moreover, increased general mobility is among the determinants that led to the growth of tourism
as a social phenomenon (Robinson, 1976). In light of its historical context, it is natural for holiday-
making to be closely linked to travel, or as Cresswell (2006: p.2) put it into words “the act of moving
between locations”.
Research around mobility implies that it is a multidisciplinary subject in academia with a dynamic
character (Cresswell, 2006). It is notable that research on mobility in tourism has a focus on
(un)sustainability, and how it contributes to environmental degradation is a prevalent topic (Verbeek and
Mommaas, 2008). Furthermore, Coles (2015) adds that the discourse on tourism and climate change
seems to outweigh and dominate other topics.
Several premises regarding the significance of mobilities and its usage in tourism studies are
outlined by Gale (2008), such as the acknowledgment of:
tourism as a network of mobilities, more than just ‘tourists’ and ‘destinations’;
the relevance of the neglected immobilities concept (including both who cannot and choose not to
travel), that stands on the other extreme of mobilities;
the recognition of different forms of mobilities;
and the consequences and risks brought by it.
1
Coles (2015) also observes that most of the work on tourism mobilities tends to consider mainly
the study of those mobile. Therefore, immobility as its counterpart is neglected in social research.
Nevertheless, mobility and immobility are equally important. Positioned in a tourism context, what about
those who prefer to engage in little mobility when vacationing?
Presently, society is facing hypermobility (Cohen and Gössling, 2015), where travel over long
distances is associated with cosmopolitanism (Cresswell, 2006; Isenhour, 2012). Andriotis (2018)
counters that argument by stating that mobility at shorter distances, together with minimal consumption
are increasingly regarded as lifestyle changes. Therefore, this contradiction suggests that we are departing
from prior associations of “underprivileged” often being attributed to immobility. The discussion on
holidays at longer/shorter distances hints at another dichotomy of home/abroad.
Thus, this dissertation closely follows the new mobilities paradigm (Cresswell, 2006; Urry, 2007).
Mobilities studies are central to learning how people construct the world around them by exhibiting
different types of movements and adding importance in regards to both theoretical and empirical
developments (Büscher and Urry, 2009; Hannam et al., 2014). It is also challenging some fundamental
tourism “binary distinctions between home/away, work/leisure, host/guest, domestic/international and
everyday life and extraordinary holidays” (Cohen and Cohen, 2015: p.11) the reason why it is also
regarded as suitable for this study. Implementing mobility concepts into studies concerning tourism
(Moscardo et al., 2013) and its phenomena allows different perspectives of both societal and
environmental relevance to be introduced.
2. Aim of the study and research questions development
The study focuses on the staycation phenomenon, that has been defined as the practice when one intends
to have a holiday at home or in vicinity of domicile (Germann Molz, 2009; de Bloom et al., 2017).
Staycation is, by definition “staying voluntarily”, and regarded in this paper as a domestic tourism market
share. By evaluating its current context, it could be partially viewed as outbound tourism. This is because
some may have their home near a country’s frontiers. Additionally, staycations are not viewed as a
substitute for vacations, excluding it as an option for those with limited financial means.
Thus, staycation is a local travel practice, referred to as proximity tourism (Jeuring and Haartsen,
2017). It is noteworthy to point out that it appears to be different from other domestic tourism categories,
e.g. distinct from second home tourism on account of ownership and frequency of visits. However, it does
resemble day-tripping on account that the travelling person can choose to return and spend the night at
home during a staycation.
2
Lately, there has been a growth of interest towards staycation as a tourism product, to which this
dissertation makes a contribution. For instance, it is possible to book a staycation in Sweden with TUI,
where the tour operator also provides information on what is a staycation, how to do it, and suggestions
for a great staycation experience (TUI Sverige AB, n.d.).
Another company that allows booking a staycation through an website is The Staycation Guide
(Recur AB d.b.a. Staycation.guide, n.d.), with a selection of local hotel offers in cities like Copenhagen,
London, New York, Paris, Sant Francisco, Singapore, and Stockholm. Examples of staycation booking
websites were identified in countries like Japan (STAYCATION Inc., 2020), Ireland (BargainBreaks.ie,
2020), and France (Staycation.co, n.d.). In addition, a range of hotels market staycation packages (see
Appendix A). All things considered, the staycation phenomenon seems to contravene the conventional
views on mobility in tourism so embedded in its traditional context and values.
Given the discussion above on the increasing interest towards staycation, the next research
problems are elaborated. Thus, the study continues with the presentation of a practical problem and then a
theoretical one. Finding a solution to the theoretical problem contributes further towards a clarification on
the practical issue (Booth et al., 2008). In the current circumstances, some people are spending their
holidays locally (Jeuring and Haartsen, 2017) and favour a staycation, where the number of staycation
offers are increasing in popularity. It is also recognised how much the environment is affected through
emissions caused by hypermobile lifestyles (Gössling et al., 2012), international tourism, and travelling
long distances (Larsen and Guiver, 2013).
In this dissertation, I will build upon Sims et al. (2014) suggestions for additional studies
positioned in social science, because “how and when people will choose to […] avoid making
unnecessary journeys is unknown” (in Sheller and Urry, 2016: p.20). Hence, the practical problem is
being introduced through a short discussion on non-essential and excessive international travel. Once
more, most studies disregard the relevance of those less mobile (Gale, 2008; Coles, 2015).
Moreover, Jeuring and Haartsen (2017) emphasise the importance of proximity tourism research
in terms of the environmental impact that the tourism industry caries, including its unsustainable and
accelerated development (Hall, 2009). Previous studies call for behavioural changes in the context of
tourism mobility. Refraining from non-essential journeys and changes in attitudes are promising
approaches in terms of climate change mitigation (Ram et al., 2013; Larsen and Guiver, 2013; Sheller and
Urry, 2016). To my knowledge, no previous study has considered the staycation phenomenon as a study
object and as a potential empirical source of data to address this issue. Acknowledging that its meaning is
constructed by various actors, by those who promote it as a product and those who consume it — I
consider a general perspective as suitable for this study.
3
By applying concepts grounded in the new mobilities paradigm, this paper aims to explore the
relationship between distance and tourist mobility in a proximity tourism context. With this aim in mind,
the study aspires to provide an answer to the following theoretical research question: How does the
meaning of distance within staycation as a case of proximity tourism challenge tourist mobility? Three
specific sub questions are defined and addressed further:
RQ (1) How are staycations depicted in the online media?
RQ (2) What are the drivers behind opting for practicing a staycation?
RQ (3) How is distance understood in the context of staycations?
Noteworthy is the position that social qualitative research is context-bound (Bryman, 2012). The process
does “not take place in a vacuum” (ibid, p.5). It is rather dependable on certain factors and limitations,
e.g. the chosen theoretical position and the scrutinised academic literature available on the topic, thus the
research is influenced by it. Other factors are established in the selected methodological approach,
preferred empirical material used, and are elaborated on later in this dissertation, together with the
adopted epistemological and ontological positions. All factors characterise the way research is done, and
thus are being influenced by the “training and personal values of the researcher” (ibid, p.7). World
circumstances appertaining to Covid-19 outbreak are also considered while conducting the present study,
as it does unintentionally affect it.
3. Outline of the paper
The current dissertation is composed of six chapters. After a succinct introduction to mobilities in
tourism, a delineation of the proposed research issue is presented in Chapter I. This paper is structured as
follows (see Figure 1) in order to attain the above mentioned aim of the study.
Chapter II presents a theoretical framework grounded in the new mobilities paradigm, the concept
of distance and its stance in tourism. It also includes a review of current academic literature on
staycation. This was achieved through a reflection on previous studies.
The prior positioned theoretical synopsis is subsequently central to the methodology section,
encompassed in Chapter III. It discusses the research design and approach, and continues with data
collection section and the relevant to the study methods: qualitative content analysis and netnography. A
consideration of ethical issues and limitations of the study completes the chapter. The discussed
methodology proves to be the most suitable approach for the current study, as it facilitates the answering
of the proposed research questions.
4
Figure 1. Illustration of the paper’s structure. (Adapted from: Björklund and Paulsson, 2014)
Chapter IV covers the analysed empirical data and its findings. The findings prove to be
imperative to fulfilling the research aim and bringing clarification in regards to the proposed research
questions. Finally, the dissertation concludes with a discussion Chapter V. A short overview of the
theoretical and practical contributions brought by it, combined with further suggestions for future studies
are developed in Chapter VI.
5
Chapter II. Theoretical framework
———————————————————————————————
“Everything is related to everything else but near things are more related than distant things.’
Tobler (2004: p.304)
This chapter discusses relevant concepts that are part of a wider social theory context, specifically those
of mobilities and distance. In addition, it presents a literature review on the staycation topic. The scope of
this section is to serve as a conceptual basis, meant to aid in the understanding of phenomenon (Björklund
and Paulsson, 2014). Subsequently, it is central to the methodology design, and to the analysis section.
1. New mobilities paradigm
As an epistemological framework that reformed the social sciences, the new mobilities paradigm is
suitable for a variety of topics (Sheller and Urry, 2016). Tourism research is considered one of them
(Moscardo et al., 2013). This paradigm introduces an ontological perspective as a necessary premise that
adds value to the present study. It has been developed essentially by Urry (2007). Mobilities encompass
ontological and epistemological relevance, because “these forms of movement show how the world
comes to be seen, is sensed and experienced, seen and known about” (ibid, p.60).
Following Sheller and Urry (2006), the new mobilities paradigm position traditional social science
as being fixed and respectively present a critique towards two current theories. The first being sedentarist
theory, where distance is an out of the ordinary concept; and on its contrary nomadic theory, where
metaphors of fluidity are positive (ibid). E.g. the tourist is a mobile metaphor, giving the surrounding
world a hedonistic purpose (Urry, 2007).
Moving beyond the mentioned theories has allowed for six theoretical influences to be deduced by
Sheller and Urry (2006). One is considered as appropriate for this discussion, because it regards the
“recentring of the corporeal body as an affective vehicle through which we sense place and movement,
and construct emotional geographies” (ibid, p.216).
Thus, travel is more than just motion between places. Cresswell (2006) presents a simple
interpretation of mobility as a movement that has ‘meaning’. It unfolds into different types of mobility in
the new paradigm’s context (Urry, 2007: p.47): corporeal, objects, imaginative, virtual, and
communicative travel.
6
Moreover, Sheller and Urry (2016) add that the paradigm has been considerably influenced by
another three major social theories: complexity theory, transitions theory and social practice theory. The
influence evoked from the transition theory and social practice theory brings further relevance to the
present study. The proposed paradigm calls for change, where “social practices should be transformed or
replaced by lower carbon intensity social practices” (ibid, p:13).
In spite of the fact that the paradigm is positioned as “new”, Cresswell (2010, 2012) recommends
to be prudent with the choice of words. Movement has been a component of society for a long time.
Therefore, what is new about the paradigm is a more serious approach towards mobility studies (ibid).
Harrison (2017) presented a discussion that questioned it being a paradigm at all. Even so, it is considered
an “addition to Western social science and tourism studies” (ibid, p.329).
Cresswell (2010) argues for a ‘holistic understanding’ of mobility through its theoretical
separation into a network of physical movements, representations, and practices (see Figure 2). Cohen
and Cohen (2015) approve on Cresswell’s classification, yet adjust these concepts to tourism studies.
Movement is a network characterised by “etic” aspects and shows the perspective of the observer, while
representation is “emic” and shows the perspective of those observed, both embedded in the actual
practice (ibid).
Figure 2. A holistic understanding of mobility. (Source: author’s elaboration based on Cresswell, 2010
and Cohen and Cohen, 2015)
Mobility of people must be understood alongside movement of ideas and things (Urry, 2007). In a
given context, representations and advertisements harbour mobilities’ meaning (Cresswell, 2010), and can
correspond or not to the later practice. Therefore, those can be contradictory. To clarify on the difference,
representations depict expectations, while the practice suggests the fusion between representations, habits,
and the experience of it (ibid).
7
Nevertheless, mobility is a question of accessibility and power. These beliefs are established in
politics of mobility (Cresswell, 2010). Even so, it is presumed to be as mundane by those more
advantaged as a circle of people (Cohen et al., 2015). Germann Molz (2009) also takes into consideration
Cresswell’s arguments for politics of mobility, by pointing out at how (im)mobility is shaped through
current discourse. Cresswell (2010) argues that politics of mobility are articulated through six elements:
force, velocity, rhythm, channels, experience, friction. Likewise, politics of representation are also
constituted through discourse and undoubtedly have an impact on how the mobile practice is experienced
(ibid). Considering that and adding the importance of mobility in the tourism sector, Moscardo et al.
(2013) mentions that tourism studies should be integrated, because “tourism, everyday life and work are
intertwined and inseparable” (p. 536). Gale (2008) adds to its weight through a discussion on the end of
tourism as we know it, and the usual way tourism research is conducted.
To sum up, the new mobilities paradigm challenges the old way of understanding tourism, and
eventually the knowledge we have about it (Gale, 2008; Coles, 2015). Urry (2007) claims that “this
paradigm forces us to attend to this economic, social and cultural organization of distance, and not just to
the physical aspects of movement” (p.54). Motion in time and space represent essentially the act of
movement, as both concepts are central to it (Cresswell, 2006). However, there is much more to
mobilities and not just a way to get from one point to another. Sheller and Urry (2006) add that through
this it abandons the ontological distinction between destination and travellers.
Subsequently, the new mobility paradigm serves as a philosophical perspective for this
dissertation, because it “enables us to question the very notion of distance, challenging its common
reference as an abstract, natural, and measurable object” (Handel, 2018: p.474).
2. Distance as a “fluid” concept and its stance in tourism
Distance is a leading concept in mobility studies, but highly disregarded in social science (Urry, 2007;
Handel, 2018). While investigating the literature on distance in tourism, studies that explore distance with
a focus solely on its implications as a physical dimension are identified. Also, a brief literature review on
distance is presented in a paper by Ahn and McKercher (2015). Several authors recognise the importance
of the distance decay topic (McKercher and Lew, 2003; McKercher et al., 2008; Nyaupane and Graefe,
2008; Lee et al., 2012; McKercher, 2018). Prior studies validate the idea that travel is conventionally
central to tourism, where travel involves covering long distances. Moreover, most studies have an
international tourism context.
8
In contrast to that, let us reflect on distance in a proximity tourism context and how it influences
travel choices. Certainly, early research on distance acknowledges the potential it carries in tourism
studies. To expand on the thinking regarding distance, it seems to be an ambiguous concept with various
meanings outlined by Hall (2005, 2008), such as:
Euclidian distance (distant/proximate) — as in physical distance as it is, generally applied in studies
considering its impact (McKercher et al., 2008);
time distance (now/later) — relevant to the discussion on how time-space budget can have an effect
on behaviour, as “how time is used is intimately bound up with human physical and mental needs,
the constraints of the built environment and accepted societal timetables” (Thrift, 1977: p.413);
economic distance (pricey/cheap) — entailed in the necessary costs;
gravity distance (effortless/complicated) also expressed in Lösch’s (1954) ‘law of minimum
effort’ (cited in Hall, 2008: p.23) as travel behaviour seems determined by the connection between
proximity and carefreeness;
network distance (shortest/longest path) — also encountered in the literature as Manhattan/city
block distance (Tobler, 2004) and route distance (Hall, 2008);
cognitive/perceived distancehow physical distance is perceived in a subjective way can have an
additional impact on tourist’s behaviour (Ankomah and Crompton, 1992);
social distance and cultural distance — referring to the social (Thurot and Thurot, 1983) and
cultural (Ahn and McKercher, 2015) contrast between the origin and the receiving destination;
and centre-periphery distance — implying the economic, social, and cultural contrast between
urban and sub-urban areas.
Ankomah and Crompton (1992) suggest that considering subjective distance might be a better
approach when one tries to understand the reasoning behind travel choices. Findings of a study by Larsen
and Guiver (2013) recognise that the understandings of distance can be relative. There are more
dimensions beyond the physical distance that also play a role in the decision-making process and
represents a determinant for holiday experiences (ibid). The subjectivity of distance seems to be translated
into subjectivity of experiences. Considering the individuality of human beings where perceptions
influence behaviour, as Handel (2018) emphasises — distance is socially constructed.
To clarify, the study does not attempt to depart from and reject the physical distance as well as its
relevance. It instead attempts to add to the knowledge that it is perceived in an arbitrary way and
subsequently affected by changing representations. Therefore it upholds the position that it is indeed
socially constructed.
9
Distance stands on the contrary of proximity, both representing meaningful concepts in our social
life (Larsen, 2013). Furthermore, Tobler (2004) argues that distance and proximity have various meanings
determined by a considered context. Jeuring and Haartsen (2017) goes on and add a discussion on the
distance/proximity dichotomy. The two concepts are “polarizing and relational, they attract and oppose,
comfort and alienate, motivate and constrain, affecting touristic experiences and behavior in myriad
ways” (ibid, p.123).
In tourism, distance is a closely related concept to mobility that may have multiple connotations,
e.g. as in both physical distance and also (un)familiarity (Soria and Llurdés Coit, 2013; de Bloom et al.,
2017). In their research on proximity tourism, Jeuring and Diaz-Soria (2017) also focus on the element of
‘unfamiliarity’ of tourist experiences in domestic destinations. This adds to the importance of what Larsen
and Guiver (2013) referred to as “relative dimensions of distance” (p.971). Considering that, distance is at
the centre of travel behaviour belonging to various tourist mobilities (Hall, 2005).
Ram et al (2013) introduces a model that targets tourist’s experiences, therefore suggestive of the
connection between happiness in tourism and tourist mobility (see Figure 3). It seems like “any attempt to
promote behavioral change in relation to sustainable tourist mobility behavior would face resistance
because it may reduce happiness” (ibid, p. 1025).
Figure 3. The tourism “happiness loop”. (Source: Ram et al., 2013)
However, Ram et al. (2013) considers that relative meanings of distance are factors that can affect
the loop, and obstruct the initiation of desirable changes in tourist mobility. The model is considered
relevant to this paper, because travel across distances is essential to tourism. Also relevant in terms that
tourism is perceived as a hedonistic activity where we seek pleasure. The model is considered applicable,
because the challenge of sustainability is encompassed in the travel factor and distance holds the potential
to influence it.
Accordingly, distance contains potential and “often underappreciated impact on all aspects of
tourism, extending well beyond the volume of tourist movements” (McKercher, 2018: p.905). Could
different perceptions of distance, perhaps as human experiences (Handel, 2018), facilitate the happiness
in tourism and overcome the challenges of sustainability?
Another implication of distance is illustrated by McKercher (2018), where distance is assumed to
be affecting the segmentation of the tourist market (see Figure 4). It is especially evident in the
comparison of long and short haul segments, where proximate trips to nearby destinations are believed to
be available to a larger portion of travellers (ibid).
Figure 4. Segment transformation with distance. (Source: McKercher, 2018)
Previous studies identified on the topic of distance show the potential it carries as a concept. At
last, Handel (2018) points out ontological perspectives on distance and how new constructed
understandings of it can change its meaning. Therefore, the connection between distance and mobility in
tourism continues to be a topic worth exploring. What follows is a literature review on the topic of
staycation. The phenomenon is deemed relevant as a case of proximity tourism. Moreover, it suggests a
contradiction between vacationing at home and away, where distance appears as central.
3. Introducing the staycation trend: a literature review
Let us reflect on the idea that so many dream about travelling the world, yet forget to explore their own
surroundings. Is it less exciting to explore what is proximate, rather than long for faraway destinations
instead? It seems that even scholars (Jafari, 1987; Pearce, 1996; Mazimhaka, 2007) acknowledge the fact
that domestic tourism is presenting less interest compared to the strong support international tourism is
receiving. But the global economic crisis of 2008 delivered some changes that had significant
implications for tourism, where a growth in the domestic tourism category and new tourism initiatives
were expected (Papatheodorou et al, 2010; Pawłowska and Matoga, 2016; Andriotis, 2018).
Consequently, a phenomenon defined as staycation started the same year predominantly in the UK
(Webber et al., 2010; Coles and Hall, 2011) and in the USA (Germann Molz, 2009). It eventually gained
popularity and expanded further throughout the world. If it was introduced as a neologism in tourism
vocabulary (Hay, 2010), now staycation is quite a buzzword. Initially, in a study by Germann Molz
(2009), staycations were represented through stillness and as ‘undesirable’ in the media, “a form of
consumer mobility or as a failure of mobility” (p.282). In this manner it was demonstrated how
representations of mobility are constructed, where immobility was ‘incorrect’ and ‘abnormal’ (ibid). In
support to that, Cohen and Gössling (2015) note that both corporeal and imaginative travel are promoted
by social media, also what Cohen and Cohen (2012) reasons as mediatization. It is clear that media plays
an important role, for instance by aiding in the creation of tourism products (Pawłowska and Matoga,
2016), and by facilitating the movement of information and images (Hannam et al., 2006).
Picturing a world where hypermobility is glamorised (Cohen and Gössling, 2015), it is
understandable how media and the web had a role in giving meaning to staycations. On one side it was
through tips and ‘helpful how-to articles’, and through ‘stillness’ and home chores on the other (Germann
Molz, 2009: p. 281-282). Indeed, it can be regarded as an (un)attractive vacation scene due to the
subjectivity of choices (Jeuring and Haartsen, 2017), where experiences aid tourists in constructing the
meaning of places (Jeuring and Diaz-Soria, 2017).
On a more positive tone, it can be implied that the phenomenon had certain benefic impacts on the
domestic leisure tourism sector. An example being, it provided favourable circumstances for agri-tourism
activities employed by local farmers in the UK (Bosworth and McElwee, 2014) and for activities in rural
areas (Pawłowska and Matoga, 2016). Beneficial to the industry as well, Bömkes (2011) points out that
promoting and practicing staycations could increase hotel’s room occupancy through proper
advertisements. Seemingly, the same reason why the French start-up “Staycation” chose Sunday as the
optimal day for local hotel deals, available for booking just days before: affordable luxurious stays on a
discount (Hamladji, 2018).
Considering the relative novelty of the term “staycation”, it is noteworthy to point out that not all
previous studies considered relevant for this paper mention the word “staycation” itself. Some studies
possibly regard it as domestic/local travel, or to what Jeuring and Haartsen (2017) referred to as proximity
tourism — where the geographical range is narrowed to local trips close to ones’ domicile. As discussed
in the introductory section, staycation is referred to as a case of proximity tourism.
In addition, Hay (2010) suggests that new words in tourism might not represent actual new
segments of tourism. It would be incorrect to assume that people were not taking nearby getaways or
planning cheap weekend escapes before the emergence of staycations. This thought is especially to the
point if considering the similarity between staycations and day-trips.
Building on from the idea that staycation is presumably assigning new meanings to travel, a
similarly emerging concept of slow tourism stands up. For instance, Dickinson et al. (2011) discusses
travel beyond it as a way for movement, but as an essential component of the experience. Slow tourism
“represents a way of consumer thinking about tourism, where there is a synergy between experiential
aspects of travel and, for some tourists, discourses about the environment, in particular climate
change” (ibid, p. 282). In addition, slow tourism “advocates travelling slowly and locally” (Germann
Molz, 2009: p.270) and revolves around the element of pace.
Contrastingly, staycation phenomenon has the element of distance at its centre, a concept already
discussed in detail. However, taking into consideration that a staycation can include local activities
(Pawłowska and Matoga, 2016), e.g. cycling trips, concerts, visits to museums and parks people are
engaging and actively participating in such activities quite often. Moreover, cycling, walking, and local
travel are also practices appertaining to slow tourism (Dickinson et al., 2011).
While discussing the possible development of staycations, Bosworth and McElwee (2014)
mentioned that swapping vacations abroad for local holidays is an essential decision required from
tourists. Another would be acknowledging the cost effectiveness (Germann Molz, 2009; Pawłowska and
Matoga, 2016) of domestic low priced trips. Besides economic reasons, Isenhour (2012) adds perceptions
of sustainability and environmental awareness through a discussion on the Swedish staycation. Climate
conscious Swedes seem more motivated to change their travel behaviour (ibid). It is especially relevant
since recently Andriotis (2018) discussed staycation along degrowth inspired tourism. Moreover,
Sørensen et al. (2019) regarded it as an evolving circular economy tourist practice.
Ceron and Dubois (2007) posit a forward-looking view regarding the future of tourism, where an
increase in local leisure that will counterbalance the number of trips abroad is a must. Theuns (2013)
suggests that it could indicate a downside and bring tourism to an end, since the staycation pattern
implicates the transition from international towards regional. However, in the context of estimated growth
of international tourism, having a vacation in the proximity of home could represent a shift in attitudes
when it comes to holidaying (Jenkins, 2015).
Nonetheless, staycations still represent planned time-off intended for recreation. Having a
staycation is also regarded as a more valuable experience than visiting numerous locations and covering
long distances just for the sake of tourism — where more is not better (Andriotis, 2018). This is
especially relevant on account that tourism is not a necessity, but envisaged as a hedonistic pleasure-
seeking activity (Becken, 2017). Moreover, both staycations and vacations provide practically the same
benefits concerning one’s overall wellness state (de Bloom et al., 2017). Even so, it seems that people
seek for new ways to escape their usual routine, as Ram et al (2013) points out search for happiness
through tourism.
To conclude, this chapter positioned staycation in the context of mobilities and distance. The new
mobilities paradigm calls for a new way of understanding tourism mobility, and distance stands as a
central concept. This is regarded as relevant for the reason that vacationing at home appears to be in
contrast with the traditional way of vacationing. Thus, staycation is seemingly assigning new meanings to
distance, respectively to travel and tourism.
Chapter III. Methodology
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Subsequent to the previous chapters, the methodology section starts with the introduction of research
design, together with the choice of approach for attaining the study aim (Björklund and Paulsson, 2014).
It continues with detailed records on data collection and analysis. The chapter concludes with a
presentation of ethical considerations and limitations.
1. Research philosophy and design
The earlier theoretical discussion on mobilities as a new approach calls for equally specific research
philosophy and design in line with an abductive reasoning (Bryman, 2012; Björklund and Paulsson,
2014). The study is of qualitative nature and regards social science research. Therefore, it takes
interpretivist symbolic interaction as an epistemological position, and constructionism as an ontological
stance (Bryman, 2012), suggesting that the meaning of constructed actions are being interpreted. It is
deemed as important because the world is seen as socially constructed and continually changeable.
Prior to discussion on the methods used and reasoning behind it, the research aim is restated: to
explore the relationship between distance and tourist mobility in a proximity tourism context.
To ensure the trustworthiness of the study, four criteria of assessment recognised by Bryman
(2012: p.390) are adhered to: credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability. Credibility is
achieved through the application of triangulation technique (ibid), specifically via diversity of methods
and material used during the research.
The first implemented method is qualitative content analysis, which allows secondary data
collection. Next, netnography is considered as appropriate. It is a method that permits primary data
collection, especially if considering “the impressive range of social facts available on the Internet”
suitable for qualitative research (Silverman, 2013: p.34). Furthermore, the collected information is
determined as diversified data consisting of text, notes, images, and video, leading to what Costello et al.
(2017: p.8) refers to as data triangulation, meant to also add trustworthiness to it. In order to obtain
transferability, Bryman (2012) mentions generating abundant notes regarding the studied object. For this
reason, reflective notes are taken while conducting the netnography, and are included in the gathered
material.
The data used for this paper will be stored for one year after the completion of the study, thus
adding dependability. This criterion is also guaranteed through constant supervision sessions, combined
with peer-reviews provided by colleagues.
2. Data collection
The below table (see Table 1) is designed to ease the visualisation of the data collection process. As the
next step essential to a research (Bryman, 2012), a more detailed data collection outline for both methods
follows it.
Table 1. Data collection outline
Considering the above mentioned aim of this study, qualitative content analysis is employed as a
method. Content analysis provides “replicable and valid methods for making inferences from observed
communications to their context” (Krippendorff, 1980: p.69). It is also regarded as unobtrusive and
flexible (Bryman, 2012). These interpretations are meant to facilitate the understanding of constructed
representations appertaining to the studied phenomenon. As a method, it is acknowledged as suitable for
social science, including tourism research (Hannam and Knox, 2005; Stepchenkova et al., 2009;
Camprubí and Coromina, 2016).
The secondary data collected from the web comprised of written text is further analysed. The
gathered content (N=50) is easily accessible by and addressed to the general public. It consists of online
articles (see Appendix B), such as blog entries, news articles, guides, magazines, and lifestyle websites.
Google search engine was used to collect the data, by using the following two keywords: “staycation” and
“staycationer”.
Subsequently, all the retrieved texts address the same topic — staycation. The content was
produced by different groups, those who offer it, those who engage in it, and also other content creators.
Method
Amount
Data type
Qualitative content analysis
N = 50
(cca 44000 words)
Online articles: 26 blog entries, 9 news
articles, 5 guides, 7 digital magazines, and 3
staycation lifestyle websites
Netnography
N = 200 posts
Online community:1 Facebook group:
“Hemestertips” + reflective notes
All search results were in the English language, but a selection for the analysis was implemented as
follows. Online dictionaries, booking websites, and websites/posts intended to solely market a specific
hotel/product were disregarded. Articles regarding staycations based on travel restrictions from the
Covid-19 outbreak were also excluded, due to the fact that it was not the scope of the study to observe the
staycation phenomenon in a health crisis context.
A further understanding of the staycation trend and its practice are gathered through the second
qualitative method proposed, netnography. Introduced by Kozinets (2002), “netnography is ethnography
adapted to the study of online communities” (p.61). Heinonen and Medberg (2018) state that netnography
is fast, simple, and flexible, especially if combining it with other methods, e.g. qualitative content analysis
considering the present study. On account of the understanding that staycation is a rather new
phenomenon, “between recognition of an opportunity for product or service innovation and the allocation
of significant resources to its development — nonintrusive (or observational) netnographic techniques can
facilitate the garnering of rich market research data” (Costello et al., 2017: p.4). This has allowed the
collection of primary data through the analysis of a Facebook group, where posts and images regarding
staycation tips in Sweden are shared, and communication between its members is permitted.
Considering the localised character of staycation as being practiced in proximity of ones’ home, it
is rational that such communities would be narrowed to regions/countries. In this case, Sweden is
favoured. Another reason being the current world situation, consisting of lockdowns due to the Covid-19
outbreak. The government in Sweden is not implementing forced lockdown on its residents. Therefore,
less impact is expected on the study due to present circumstances. Moreover, it is the only identified
group that could provide insights useful for the scope of this dissertation.
Kozinets (2002) recommends following certain steps when conducting a netnograpghy: entrée,
data collection and analysis, ethical concerns of the research, and review provided by members. It is also
a flexible method that can be adjusted to the needs of the study, a point discussed by Costello et al.
(2017). In order to maintain the role of a covert participant (Bryman, 2012), the initial entrée together
with the final member check were disregarded. Particularly, since it is a public group where anyone can
join and posts are visible, becoming a member was a simple start.
At the moment of the study, the group dedicated to staycationers in Sweden has 952 members.
They can be characterised as staycation enthusiasts who exchange knowledge and tips on ‘where’ and
‘how’, but “netnographic sampling can be purposive rather than representative and therefore be inclusive
of otherwise marginalized or hard to reach groups” (Costello et al., 2017: p.5). The selected group was
created in May 2017 initially under a different name “Deedsters - gruppen för alla användare av
Deedster” and has changed several times. It was entirely dedicated to staycation later in March 2019
“Hemestertips” (Hemestertips, 2020). That is the reason why the final amount of retrieved and analysed
posts (N=200) is limited to those written by the groups’ members between March 2019 and April 2020.
The collected data also includes reflective notes and observations (see Appendix C) made by the author
concerning the online community.
Therefore, both methods use purposive sampling for collecting the data suitable for qualitative
research (Bryman, 2012). The selection of data was aimed at identifying material and communities with
regards to the studied phenomenon — staycation. As expressed earlier, finding a substantial online
community was somewhat challenging.
3. Data analysis
After collecting the necessary data, the study proceeds with data reduction by exercising a thematic
analysis via coding (Bryman, 2012). This is done in order to fulfil the aim of the study, essentially by
adopting and following an investigation design (see Figure 5).
Figure 5. Investigation design. (Adapted from: Björklund and Paulsson, 2014)
Considering that there are two main coding techniques “emergent and a priori”, the study follows
recommendations from a combined approach suggested by Blair (2015: p.16). The approach includes
both techniques, and is claimed to be suitable for qualitative data research. To clarify, emergent codes are
created during the analysis, while in an a priori technique codes are embedded in theory, set and
preceding the process of data analysis (ibid). Combined coding proves to be a more efficient technique
used to answer the following research questions.
Adopting the mentioned approach, open coding is applied first during the analysis of data
collected through qualitative content analysis. Emergent categories are derived from the examined text.
This is done in order to answer RQ (1) How are staycations depicted in the online media?, to see if and
how representations of staycation changed compared to the discussion in a paper by Germann Molz
(2009).
To ease the process for netnography, the posts were copied into a separate document and furthered
analysed through manual coding again. Analysis is done in order to answer RQ (2) What are the drivers
behind opting for practicing a staycation?.
Afterwards, the data derived from RQ (1) and (2) is integrated and further used to answer RQ (3)
How is distance understood in the context of staycations?. The study proceeds with predetermined codes,
consisting of the meanings of distance (Hall, 2008): Euclidian distance, time distance, economic distance,
gravity distance, network distance, cognitive/perceived distance, social distance, cultural distance, and
centre-periphery distance.
Manual assigning of the codes is preferred to coding software. This is due to the qualitative nature
of the paper, following the rationale presented again by Blair (2015). Specifically, the study refrains from
using a software tool in order to avoid errors associated with it. Moreover, it is considered more suitable
for studies applying grounded theory (ibid), which is not the case of this paper.
4. Ethical considerations
“Ethics of encounters” (Pryke et al., 2003: p. 105) are taken into consideration while carrying out the
research. Bryman (2012) also illustrates specific ethical considerations ascribed to research conducted
online, especially “the distinction between public and private space on the Internet” through “anonymity
and confidentiality” (p.679-680). While conducting the present study, no informed consent is attempted,
due to the fact that all collected data has been considered as openly available and visible to the general
public.
Nevertheless, in order to protect their anonymity, the names assigned to Facebook source posts are
not given away during the discussion of the presented findings. Finally, the paper intends to be reported in
an ethical way. It follows guidance from Booth et al (2008), by trying to be objective, accounting for
genuine results, and acknowledging the subsequent limitations.
5. Limitations
Naturally, qualitative research and the employed methods may come with disadvantages. Bryman (2012:
p.405-406) holds on to a viewpoint that approaching research from a qualitative perspective can result in
general difficulties achieving objectivity, replicability, generalisation, and transparency. Yet the study
attempts to address it as follows.
In regards to the methods used, Bryman (2012: p.306-307) mentions that content analysis is
dependable to a great extent on the authors’ subjective thematising and interpretation. Therefore,
confirmability and objectivity of the study are also threatened by the authors’ reflexivity (Pryke et al.,
2003; Bryman, 2012). Intrinsic knowledge and values can influence the results to some extent.
Netnography is recognised to involve certain limitations as well. Specifically, by having a narrow
focus, the online material risks a lack of authenticity and data quality (Heinonen and Medberg, 2018). A
similar argument is brought up by Kozinets (2002), who implies that as an outcome, it might be
problematic to generalise the results to other communities. Considering that the member check step is not
completed, it affects the credibility of the study (Bryman, 2012). Another anticipated shortcoming of
using netnograpghy as a method is the fact that the Facebook group (Hemestertips, 2020) was initiated
with a different scope by a start-up that promotes sustainable living. Therefore the posts could be
influenced by that. In order to overcome this, only texts posted after the group re-directed towards
staycation are retrieved.
Noteworthy to mention that identifying an online community of staycationers was rather
complicated, presumably due to the developing nature of the phenomenon. The main language used
among the community members is Swedish. To reduce this limitation, Google’s automatic translation tool
is used combined with the author’s personal knowledge. Since both methods use digital material, it is
worth noting that retrieved online data includes highly changeable content. That involves the chance of it
being removed by the content creator at anytime. Thus, compromising replicability and transparency of
the study (Bryman, 2012).
Chapter IV. Findings and analysis
———————————————————————————————
In this chapter, the collected data is processed through the medium of previously discussed theoretical
framework (Björklund and Paulsson, 2014). Findings prove to be imperative to fulfilling the research aim
and bringing clarification in regards to proposed research questions. This is accomplished by following
Cresswell’s (2010) separation of mobilities into three theoretical elements: the movement, representations
attributed to it, and the actual practice.
The first sub-chapter introduces six categories as current representations of staycation in digital
media. An additional eight categories of staycation as a local travel practice in Sweden are developed in
the second sub-chapter. Representations and practices are then thematised, and merged into six aspects of
staycation discussed in the third and respectively last sub-chapter. Finally, the aspects of staycation are
examined in relation to distance and its various understandings, a classification defined by Hall (2008).
The results are described as follows.
1. Representations of staycation in digital media
The findings cast a new light on how staycations are represented. The following is required in order to
answer RQ (1) How are staycations depicted in the online media? because it is necessary to have a
clear vision on the (un)attractiveness of staycations as a domestic tourism experience. Respectively, this
sub-chapter reveals emerging categories from qualitative content analysis. It enables six categories to
develop as appropriate representations of staycation: (1) affordable luxury and cheap alternative, (2) help
and giving something back, (3) immediacy through local travelling, (4) distancing, (5) personal
development, (6) sustainable alternative.
There are always two sides of a story: positive and negative. Indeed, a couple of articles that
present staycation from a rather negative angle are noticed during the analysis “it’s a way for people to
convince themselves they are doing something when they are really just staying home from work — a little
mental maneuver to convince them they are on holiday” (Appendix B, #10). Some are even somewhat
sarcastic “Why would you go abroad, with all the awful flights and nightmare early starts, just so you can
lie in the sun on white sand next to warm, clear blue sea?” (Appendix B, #35). Nevertheless, the majority
are actually quite positive and encouraging the trend.
Therefore, when comparing the visualisation of staycation embedded in the current online
narratives with those found in a previous study conducted by Germann Molz (2009), it can be implied
that its meaning changed over time. The main categories suggested were “‘disdain’, ‘doubt’, ‘duty’, and
‘helpful how-to’s’” (ibid, p.281). However, by applying the open coding technique, the findings have
different key categories emerging, where staycations are wrapped up in new media induced
representations.
Representation 1: Affordable luxury and cheap alternative
Considering good budgeting and planning, a staycation is portrayed to be much cheaper than a usual
vacation abroad: “a lot of people paying off bills for sumptuous spas and seahorse snorkeling months
after the actual trip […] you can enjoy your time off without blowing off your finances […] you can go
the budget-friendly staycation route” (Appendix B, #17). As also pointed out in the introductory
discussion, a growing number of hotels offer staycation deals and discounts: “sometimes, all we need is a
hotel to get into vacation mode” (Appendix B, #50).
This sounds promising as a great alternative, without costing too much, and hint at luxurious
opportunities: “yes, luxury has a price tag, but hey — it’s just for one night […] think about all the money
you’re saving on gas and travel expenses! Want to make the most of your five-star staycation? Check in
as early as possible and take advantage of every complementary service the hotel offers” (Appendix B,
#18).
Apparently, saving on costs will allow to have a higher budget for splurging: “since you’re not
paying for airfare or spending a large amount of money on fuel, a staycation is a good excuse to spring
for an indulgent experience that otherwise is too expensive” (Appendix B, #40); such as self-care and
other preferences: “that’s why your staycation should include a spa day, whether it’s a relaxing massage,
facial, time spent in steam rooms and saunas, or all of the above” (Appendix B, #30).
Various segments of tourists with various budget types recognise it as a good substitute, quick and
convenient, e.g. families, both with children and just couples: “with its family-friendly facilities, proximity
to tourist attractions, and easy access to complimentary Wi-Fi and breakfast, it came as no surprise that
hotels are the preferred staycation option among Singaporeans”(Appendix B, #11). Apart from hotel
stays, families can opt for other affordable options: “family bonding and bowling go hand in hand! Who
can resist a little friendly competition? Going to a bowling alley during the middle of the week can be
surprisingly affordable. Did you know many bowling alleys even let kids bowl for free?” (Appendix B,
#15).
By replacing one usually expensive trip abroad with multiple getaways during the year,
staycations is a good alternative for those with both limited available time and money: “This is why a
quick road trip or short flight across the country for the weekend can offer a good alternative for the
time-poor […] For some, the option of international travel simply doesn’t exist because of the costs
involved. Even with cheap flights and a great hotel rate, other costs like car rental push expenses up. So
instead of saving all year for one expensive trip, travellers are finding they can take multiple refreshing
getaways and enjoy it just as much” (Appendix B, #19); “Rather than one large trip during the summer,
the same amount of time “away” can be enjoyed as periodic mini-vacations sprinkled throughout the
year” (Appendix B, #25).
It appears also as a hassle-free option: “staycations are as popular as ever, with many people
opting to enjoy their time off at home and skip the hassle (and cost) of a traditional vacation” (Appendix
B, #42), and with less arrangements to take care of “yet, the hassle of planning a holiday booking of
leave, travelling back and forth the airport, half the excitement fizzles away just thinking of everything
you have to go through. But what if there was a way to go on vacation without leaving the
country?” (Appendix B, #46).
Sometimes important arrangements such as concerning companion animals: “it’s much easier
(and cheaper) to travel with a dog in a car than on a plane, so many staycationers will choose to bring
their pets” (Appendix B, #14), making it a pet friendly vacation.
Representation 2: Help and giving something back
A staycation does not seem to be about “duty” anymore, but rather help: “get involved with a local
community project, even for a day. You’ll come away feeling better for having given something
back” (Appendix B, #9); “if you want to spend your downtime making a difference in the world, why not
plan your staycation around helping others? Check for local volunteer opportunities and participate in
one together. This could be anything from tidying up a local park to preparing and serving meals at a
shelter to working on a house with Habitat for Humanity” (Appendix B, #27).
Volunteer opportunities are suggested as a way to pay back the community: “sign up to volunteer
at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, library, or other community program during your staycation. Giving
back helps remind us all of how much we have, so it's a great way to spend a little bit of your time
off” (Appendix B, #3); “break out of the norm and go help others with your time. There are many people
who need help right now — including people in your own community” (Appendix B, #10). This all adds
to the value of a vacation spent in proximity of home.
Additionally, it helps local business owners stay afloat: “by spending your valuable vacation at
home, you can help sustain your local businesses and natural habitats throughout the year” (Appendix B,
#9), “this is a biggy for me and I try in my daily life to support my local economy by shopping from local
producers when poossible. I also try and do this whenever I travel to support the economy of the place I
am visiting by again shopping from local producers and by also opting for independently owned boutique
hotels” (Appendix B, #32).
Helping not only from the staycationer’s perspective, but also business to business and business to
society: “so co-promoting with other local businesses is a great way to gather the attention of more local
travelers […] Again, not only will this benefit independent hoteliers, but neighboring businesses and the
community as a whole” (Appendix B, #13).
Local hotels necessitate to increase off-season room occupancy and decrease seasonality:
“Staycation bookings help properties reduce reliance on seasonality” (Appendix B, #14). It seems to be
the perfect strategy recommended to hotels to achieve it: “beyond dropping room rates there are more
resourceful ways to boost reservations marketing your property to staycationers is one of
them” (Appendix B, #14).
The popularity of staycations as a tourism product is suggestive to why an increasing number of
hotels are trying to take advantage of its popularity and involve domestic travellers: “hotels that position
themselves as prime staycation destinations will gain an increasing advantage in the coming
years” (Appendix B, #25).
Representation 3: Immediacy through local travelling
While boosting local economy, it gives the impression that it increases recognition for the local
environment: “staying at home for vacation means you’ll likely develop a better appreciation for your
local environment. You may discover things you never knew were there, which is always
exciting” (Appendix B, #9).
It is suggested to pretend being a tourist and (re)discovering local cultural activities, museums,
hiking activities, shows, cinema, and exploring other places that usually are visited by tourists:
“somebody probably visits the place you live–or places within an hour or two–on their
vacation” (Appendix B, #7), “their own country is also a tourist destination with its own unique history
and natural beauty” (Appendix B, #19).
Beneficial is also the fact of familiarity with the region and language: “you don’t have to struggle
with the unfamiliar. You won’t have to cope with the unfamiliarity of new surroundings, or another
language, or different time zone” (Appendix B, #22); “the strangeness of different cultures or languages,
figuring out foreign currencies or worrying about lost luggage can take a toll” (Appendix B, #34).
The aspect of immediacy attributed to staycation is portrayed as positive: “you can maximize your
time off. Traveling far means more time getting there and less time actually relaxing” (Appendix B, #22).
A break can be taken when needed: “sometimes when you need a vacation, you need a vacation, and you
need it NOW! No if, ands, or buts. The beauty of a staycation is that when you decide you need a break,
you can actually take it hours later” (Appendix B, #50).
Long-haul travelling itself can be weary: “travel stress can quickly quash the bliss” (Appendix B,
#7), “travelling can sometimes be exhausting. Have you ever felt that you needed a vacation after a
vacation?” (Appendix B, #8). A staycation seems to exclude the travel stress, such as packing, making
arrangements for the time away: “the time spent on planning and traveling drains your personal energy.
Booking flights and hotels, packing, unpacking, traveling time, etc, all deplete your mental and physical
energies” (Appendix B, #16), and “the stress of travel sometimes defeats the purpose of
vacation” (Appendix B, #50).
The distant became dreadful and stressful, while the proximate is all of a sudden full of things to
explore: “even though I have lived here for 34 years, there are a number of museum, churches,
restaurants, bars that I have never visited and certainly streets that I have never walked
down” (Appendix B, #32). Moerover, a marketing campaign using lookalike destinations proves that
local travelling can be just as breathtaking as going abroad: “German Rail (Deutsche Bahn) has used
photos of picturesque German locations that mirror famous foreign tourist destinations to encourage
Germans to holiday in their home country” (Appendix B, #23).
Representation 4: Distancing
In the provided narratives, physical distance is represented as tiresome, and the feeling of detachment is
more important: “you’re not far from home, but the point of a staycation is to feel as if you got away, and
staying at a high-end hotel is a good way to do that” (Appendix B, #40).
“Unplugging” is a must-do, where detoxing from media is one of the features of staycation: “I did
unplug from the Internet and my calendar, and it was, of course, freeing not to look at a
screen” (Appendix B, #7); “a staycation is the perfect way to really ‘switch off from a day
job” (Appendix B, #19), “don’t forget the goal: to unplug, unwind and enjoy the company of your loved
ones in the moment” (Appendix B, #27).
Though it might be off-putting for some to totally disconnect: “just make sure you’re able to put
the rest of the world (emails, calls, chores) on hold for a bit so you can actually feel like you’re taking a
break from the hustle and bustle of life” (Appendix B, #27) , “the fresh air, exercise, and lack of email
will do wonders for your body and your mind” (Appendix B, #18).
As the main goal is to take a break from the usual routine and hectic life, mundane errands are left
aside: “if you love to garden, spending a morning perusing plants is great. Dropping off the dry-
cleaning? Not so much” (Appendix B, #7), “when you’re on a real vacation, you don’t cook, clean, or do
chores. Your staycation should be no different. Hire a cleaning service, send out your laundry, and order
in or dine out to feel like you’re on vacation in your own living room” (Appendix B, #30).
Moreover, “travel is more than moving from place to place […] move out of your mental comfort
zone and travel to new ideas” (Appendix B, #10), and “let’s be real: An escape is an escape, whether you
fly around the world or stay here in NYC […] A staycation is an excuse to check out and recharge without
feeling bad about it” (Appendix B, #50).
Trying new perspectives is also mentioned: “taking photos of the familiar will help you see things
in a new light” (Appendix B, #7), “experience your home city from a different point of view, getting to
know new areas and neighborhoods” (Appendix B, #8), “even for places you’ve been to before, a new
mindset will bring you new experiences” (Appendix B, #16), “you can take a helicopter ride or a private
boat tour, for example, to see where you live from a different perspective” (Appendix B, #40).
Even redecorating the house or apartment could be an idea: “buy a new piece of art or furniture,
add a few succulents to your windowsill, or Kondo out your closet — trust, it just might be the cleanse
you need!” (Appendix B, #5).
Representation 5: Personal development
Regarding the escape of the usual routine, staycations imply doing something different and exotic: “try to
do something different each day to keep things interesting. Why not make a game out of it? Promise
yourself each day to try one new type of ethnic food, or see a movie from a different country, or visit one
new part of town. Travel is a great personal development tool. It’s about experiencing new things and
trying something different. Doing it home still captures that essence” (Appendix B, #10).
Or to enjoy something that was always postponed: “visit free museums, bookstores and that coffee
shop you’re always meaning to check out” (Appendix B, #15). Things such as cooking classes: “you
probably have a bucket list of to-dos that you just never have the time for (cooking classes, anyone?).
Now’s the perfect time to dust off the list and start checking those boxes” (Appendix B, #5), “great time
to explore that hobby you never seem to have time for” (Appendix B, #50), or gym/yoga: “take a yoga
retreat in your living room […] all you need is a couple of blankets or towels and the right instructional
video” (Appendix B, #1), “recreate at least part of those lush yoga retreats in faraway locations without
leaving your living room” (Appendix B, #3).
Narratives suggest that there is more free time for learning new skills as well: “focus on hobbies
and personal enjoyment, relax and recharge, or take a short course and learn new skills” (Appendix B,
#19), “you can catch up on your stay-at-home hobbies or interests that you don’t have time for during the
hectic work and school year” (Appendix B, #22).
Representation 6: Sustainable alternative
Environmental awareness among tourists increases its appeal to a new level: “it is synonymous with less
pollution, saving money and not contributing to the overwhelming chaos that takes place in some of the
world’s most touristic areas […] Staycation appears like a great solution for the challenges above
mentioned” (Appendix B, #26).
Am option is saying no to flying and preferring the train instead: “the much-discussed concept
of flygskam, meaning 'shame linked to flying', was touted as one possible reason for the change […] local
train operators including Stockholm's SL and Skånetrafiken in the south have also invested in promoting
the concept of hemester (staycation) through cheap, flexible tickets that allow locals to explore their
region by train over summer” (Appendix B, #41). This suggests that it is not only better for the
environment, but also a more enjoyable view during the trip: “book a scenic, festive holiday train
ride” (Appendix B, #30).
In addition to taking the train, a staycationer seems to be encouraged towards cycling: “take a
scenic bike ride. Hop on a local bike trail or bring your bike to a nearby waterfront or park. The
combination of fresh air, nature and exercise will be invigorating and relaxing at the same
time” (Appendix B, #42). Local transportation options are suggested: “why not discover your neck of the
woods by bike or local transport instead” (Appendix B, #9).
Though the car is mentioned as well: “rent a convertible and take the scenic route. Sometimes you
want to answer the call of the open road, but it’s hard to make travel exciting in the same car you drive to
work every day” (Appendix B, #18).
Another understanding captured during the analysis is that a staycation is about maintaining eco-
friendly habits. Those are usually either hard to follow abroad, or left behind because the responsibility
for ecology flattens when far from home: “people tend to change their habits when they’re on vacation.
Most people will produce more waste and often forgo recycling, purely because they don’t have their
usual bin to hand. Or they might adopt a different attitude, in that they don’t have to really worry about
the waste/it’s not their problem, especially if the destination they’re visiting isn’t that hot on recycling
themselves. On a staycation, you don’t have to give up your eco-friendly habits in order to have a good
time” (Appendix B, #9).
The findings show how representations of staycation changed in comparison to those presented in the
paper by Germann Molz (2009). Considering the old representations, staycations changed from ‘disdain’
to affordable luxury, from ‘doubt’ to a new alternative, from ‘duty’ to giving the community back, and
from ‘helpful how-to’ pass the time towards personal development. A rather new element appertaining to
representations is staycation as a sustainable alternative. Accordingly, it is clear how the current
representations are in contrast with the former ones. The following sub-chapter continues with staycation
as practice. The representations derived from the analysis for RQ (1) are used to elicit further findings.
2. Staycation as a local travel practice in Sweden
Now that representations are made clear, it is necessary to identify how the actual practice takes place,
and if it corresponds or contradicts to the former. For this purpose, the following question is proposed:
RQ (2) What are the drivers behind opting for practicing a staycation? It allows to get an insight into the
actual practice of staycation and the motivation of travellers towards it in a highly mobile society.
Through RQ (2) the study attempts to identify the essential factors of staycation as practice within a
motivational context.
To do so, understandings gathered from the conducted netnography are further presented.
Therefore, this sub-chapter will reveal eight main categories as relevant to staycation as practice: (1)
enjoy and appreciate the surrounding natural landscape, (2) hobbies and cultural activities, (3) cost
effectiveness, (4) using environmentally friendly transportation, (5) alternatives, (6) distancing through
new perspectives, (7) local traveling, and (8) hotel stays.
Practice 1: Enjoy and appreciate the surrounding natural landscape
Members recommend each other to enjoy and appreciate the surrounding natural landscape:“enjoy the
beautiful nature we have by hiking part of Sörmlandsleden” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #9), “Paradiset,
Gömmaren, Flemingsbergsskogen or any other of Huddinge municipality’s 13 nature reserve! [link]
worth mentioning is that Huddinge municipality has been voted to the Stockholm region’s best outdoor
municipality several years in a row” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #178).
Nature reserves are mentioned quite often: “in Vallentuna there is everything from rune-stones to
fantastic nature reserves — Angarnsjöängen is really worth a visit” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #2), “if one
likes to hike or just be in the nature, there is Sandsjöbacka nature reserve. Beautiful and very
big!” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #15), “put on the snowshoes and visit Skulebergets nature
reserve” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #17) “visit a national park - visit Skäralid! Regardless of the season,
a visit to Skäralid is an experience” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #185).
Practice 2: Hobbies and cultural activities
A variety of interests are voiced. For instance, hobbies to pursue: “you can rent kayaks at
Helgö” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #11), “staycation tips: Bohusläns archipelago can be the most
beautiful place on Earth. Boat, kayak, climbing, hiking, history and culture is offered” (Hemestertips,
2020: post #21). Additional cultural and sport activities to engage in are also mentioned: “suggestions for
activities; renting stand up paddleboard, kayak or fatbike” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #181).
Some group members advise on visiting local museums: “there are many museums to visit in
Uppsala” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #13), “we spent many days last summer at Jönköping’s county
museum” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #51), “take a trip to the Air Force museum” (Hemestertips, 2020:
post #57). Moreover, the suggested activities are recommended for families and people of any age:
“Värmdo […] a place that works for all ages!” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #51), “Umeå - cozy place for
the whole family” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #92), “perfect for families with children” (Hemestertips,
2020: post #176).
Practice 3: Cost effectiveness
Cost effectiveness is mentioned in a rather subtle way. Some refer to activities that do not require
expenses, or through a comment such as: “perfect for the day when you are a little bored and still don’t
want to spend a fortune!” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #98).
Other examples are shown in comments that give tips on local transportation deals: “for 300 SEK
you can take the train unlimited times […] in Dalarna, Västmanland and Örebro county for three days
this summer” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #76), “staycation Värmland: […] you have to buy a
“Glaskogenkort” and then get free access to everything during the stay” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #38).
Practice 4: Using environmentally friendly transportation
It is noted that ways of using environmentally friendly transportation are mentioned: “easy to get to by
bus or tram” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #1), “by ferry, bus and train you get a long way!” (Hemestertips,
2020: post #21), “take the bike around “the three lakes” (Väsman, Bysjön and Björken) or why not take
the boat?” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #23).
Some destinations are even suggested to be reached by boat: “Lurö is a gem in the middle of
Värnen. Reached with canon/kayak, own boat or by turboat from Spiken or Ekenäs” (Hemestertips, 2020:
post #196).
Practice 5: Alternatives
Few, but still some discuss alternatives and information against more air travel/car driving: “I guess many
of you staycationers do not want to see an expansion of Arlanda as this would lead to double the number
of flights” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #45).
More recommendations regarding public transportation as an alternative to the personal car are
noticed: “it is possible to take the commuter train […] and bus or train […] for those who do not want
take the car” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #9), “place you can get to by bus, so leave the car at
home!” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #96), “travel: train to Strömstad (2h from Gothenburg) and then 40
min ferry. The island is car free and there are a lot of bikes to rent” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #152).
What can be inferred from these excerpts is that people are considering engaging in less international
travel. This is due to their awareness in regards to the negative influence flying has on climate, and prefer
less harmful modes of transportation.
Practice 6: Distancing through new perspectives
Members are suggesting distancing through new perspectives: “on the theme of staycation, I would like to
tell you to see your own city from the water. New perspectives make it feel like you traveled somewhere
else” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #3).
Home exchange seems to be an option too: “take into a hotel or change your home with friends
and vacation seriously for a few days in your own hometown. I promise you will discover new unknown
pages” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #5).
Practice 7: Disconnection through local travelling
Disconnection is recommended through local travelling: “get away a bit. It is usually about getting a
small change of scenery, and not about traveling far” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #54). Taking a break
from the city life is also regarded as an option: “Stockholm: Travelling away doesn’t mean travel far. Rent
a cabin for a weekend and disconnect the city life” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #111). Some suggest to
become a tourist in your own city: “it’s easy to go home blind. A cure is to consider the hometown with
the eyes of the tourist” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #144).
Practice 8: Hotel stays
Suggestions regarding hotel stays in the local area are also popular: “Sundbyholm is one of the gems of
Eskilstuna and you can choose to live in a caravan or castle [link]” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #40),
“book a weekend or a week in hostels somewhere in the country” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #54). Short
hotel visits during the day are mentioned without an overnight stay: “go for afternoon tea at the
Stadshotellet” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #53).
Recommendations are given for different areas across the country, tips which can be easily
accessed through the staycation map (Google Maps, 2020) created by the group: “staycation in Ludvika
— take in a few nights at a local B&B with all the charm outside the door [link for B&B]” (Hemestertips,
2020: post #23), “staycation in southern Sthlm: Hellasgården is a nice place. Nice small cabins and a
variety of activties” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #36), “Norrbotten. Harads: visit Tree Hotel or Arctic bath.
Works both summer and winter and can be done in the form of day trip or with overnight stay.
Fascinating, unique & serene” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #183).
The findings reveal that the way a staycation is practiced corresponds to its general representations in
media. For instance, staycation being cost-effective correlates to narratives of it as affordable luxury and
cheap alternative, while enjoying the immediate surroundings hints at representations of the phenomenon
as local travel. The above excerpts from the Facebook group members posts generally indicate
associations with the categories of representations identified earlier in the study. What follows is a
synthesis of the gathered data for a comprehensive understanding of staycation.
3. Aspects of staycation
Considering the developing understanding of staycations, the study continues with RQ (3) How is
distance understood in the context of staycations? — because distance and its several dimensions are
central to tourism mobilities. The meaning of distance in a staycation context adds to the understanding of
challenges that tourist mobility is facing considering the happiness loop (Ram et al., 2013).
In exploring the research questions and after consolidating the reduced data (see Figure 6), six
broad aspects are derived from merging the distinguished categories identified before: (1) convenience,
(2) societal benefits, (3) local travel, (4) detachment and change of scenery, (5) individual benefits, and
(6) environmental sustainability. This was done in order to better integrate the analysed data.
Specifically, the final aspects are attained by combining the emerged representations and practices.
Afterwards, the aspects are associated with the predetermined codes (see Table 2): Euclidian distance,
time distance, economic distance, gravity distance, network distance, cognitive/perceived distance, social
distance, cultural distance, and centre-periphery distance. The thematic analysis suggests that the concept
of distance is significant for understanding tourist behaviour and mobility in context of staycation.
Figure 6. Categorisation of themes: aspects of staycation model. (Source: authors elaboration)
The analysis follows recommendations proposed by Cohen and Cohen (2015) of implementing
emic and etic concepts, yet those are adjusted to the present study. Firstly, suggested representations
depict etic features of staycation, as it involves the perspective of the observer through interpretation.
Secondly, practices depict emic features, now that the perspective of staycationers is taken into
consideration. Finally, applying both etic and emic perspectives allows the development of the emerging
aspects appertaining to staycation. Respectively, it follows Cresswell’s (2010) reasoning for a holistic
understanding of mobility. This is achieved by merging staycation as an actual movement with its
representations and practices.
Table 2. The relationship between distance and staycation
The list of notions regarding distance suggested by Hall (2008) is simple, and especially useful in
providing new interpretations that influence mobility in relation to staycation. From the standpoint that
distance is a fluid concept as discussed in the theoretical section, it is not difficult to observe some of its
central meanings.
Noteworthy that network distance and centre-periphery distance are the least relevant notions to
the following discussion. No clear effects or connections are identified between the aspects of staycation
and these two types of distance. This could also be an indicator that the tourist generating and the tourist
receiving region are hypothetically the same or are similar to each other. What follows is an elaboration
on each of the main aspects of staycation. Its connection with different understandings of distance is
briefly discussed.
Convenience
Societal
benefits
Local
travel
Detachment and
change of scenery
Individual
benefits
Environmental
sustainability
Euclidian distance
X
Economic distance
X
X
Time distance
X
X
Gravity distance
X
Network distance
Cognitive distance
X
Social distance
X
X
X
Cultural distance
X
X
X
X
Centre-periphery
Aspect 1: Convenience
The convenience theme is developed based on representations of staycation as affordable luxury/cheap
alternative and how it is practiced through cost effectiveness. The prospects of a cheaper way of
vacationing seems to be a strong motivating factor. Not only the financial budget is considered, but also
the possible time limit as a constraint. Provided that, hints of economic and time distance occur.
Staycation provides several advantages compared to overseas vacations, such as hassle-free opportunities,
effortless and easy experiences illustrated in gravity distance. Accordingly, staying at a local hotel as a
staycation practice can be just as rejuvenating as a stay away. Changing travel behaviour towards
favouring a staycation is influenced by the relation between proximity and effortless practices.
Aspect 2: Societal benefits
Societal benefits theme depict staycation as a way to payback the local community. It essentially refers to
social and cultural distance. Notable that this particular theme was the only one not identified in the actual
practice. Even so, it holds a strong position in the identified representations of staycation. The theme
indicates that staycation is also about being benefic to other people through investment of both time and
money into the local community. It is about helping the society becoming somehow better. Cultural
distance is illustrated by means of learning something new about the multicultural society a staycationer
might reside in, especially considering the perspectives of globalisation.
Aspect 3: Local travel
What can be inferred from the local travel theme is that by excluding long distance travel, the costs
contained in economic distance are minimised and the holiday time is maximised. The holiday time
represents time distance as one that influences the decision towards favouring staycations. Moreover, it is
important to highlight the fact that Euclidian distance is hinted to be rather negative in narratives about
staycations. What is near is exciting, while undertaking long physical distances can be portrayed as
tiresome. The analysis also detects notions of familiarity. Staying in a familiar environment hints at
cultural distance. Vacationing in a place that shares the same habits and views can be attributed to both
cultural and social distance. Immediacy is another rather important aspect highlighted expressed in time
distance. Staycation is acknowledged as a more accessible and instant type of vacation.
Aspect 4: Detachment and change of scenery
The next uncovered theme is detachment and change of scenery. The mental perceptions of distance here
are embedded in notions of cognitive/perceived distance. Again Euclidian distance is represented as tiring
and stressful. Thus, cognitive distance appears as desirable, providing feelings of getting away and
detachment from the usual environment. All possible while still in a physical proximity to home.
Cognitive distance seems rather essential to the phenomenon, suggesting that the act of “distancing” is
what makes it particularly interesting, providing unique outlooks on local travel. The reason why and in-
depth understandings of it may be somewhat missing.
Aspect 5: Individual benefits
In addition to previously mentioned societal benefits, a staycation gives the impression that it brings
individual benefits as well. The individual benefits theme is developed from representations of staycation
enclosed in the personal development category. In this theme, staycations are practiced through hobbies
and other cultural activities, and are meant to add practicality to it. Cultural distance is relevant here in
narratives of partaking in new activities, leaving one’s comfort zone through personal development and
improving or mastering new competences.
Aspect 6: Environmental sustainability
The environmental sustainability theme hints at cultural and social distances. A staycation allows to
maintain eco-habits by staying in a regular environment. Moreover, it excludes the necessity of long-haul
travel. It eliminates the contrast between the origin and receiving destination, as it stays essentially the
same or somewhat a familiar setting. Narratives of staycations as a sustainable alternative are a new
representation of it revealed during the analysis.
These findings show that proximity and distance are indeed subjective notions, especially put in the
context of staycation. However, in this specific case, understandings of distance add to the importance of
the concepts and how it challenges mobility. What follows now is a discussion chapter on staycation as a
change in tourist mobility.
Chapter V. Discussion
———————————————————————————————
“Why do people travel? They leave happy homes, good food, and the folks they love for the exact
opposites” Florence Luscomb (in Cresswell, 2006: p.210)
1. “Romanticisation” of staycation
The staycation phenomenon explored during this study demonstrates the connection between tourism and
mobilities, and why it is relevant to position mobilities concepts in tourism contexts (Coles, 2015).
Specifically how tourism should not be viewed as static, but with its components in motion. Reflecting on
the quote by Luscomb, a further question comes to mind: Why do people stay? In this respect, the
theoretical separation of mobility suggested by Cresswell (2010) allowed to understand the importance of
each component: the movement of staycation, its representation, and the phenomenon as practice.
Following the above analysis, the conversation leads to the final discussion of this dissertation. Firstly, it
answers the next three proposed sub-questions.
RQ (1) How are staycations depicted in the online media?
Through the emerged six themes and its relation to different meanings of distance, common views on
staycation are revealed. Especially considering Cresswell’s (2010) arguments for a politics of mobility,
where (im)mobility is shaped through current discourse. Opinions regarding staycations did not stop
spreading with the economic amelioration, as media predicted a decade ago (Germann Molz, 2009).
Surprisingly, if initially the economic crisis led to the popularity of staycation, increased environmental
awareness is a new aspect of it.
The narratives about staycation seem to resemble the discussion on walking, initially associated
with a burden by the wealthy class until “Romantic poets turned walking into an experience of
virtue” (Cresswell, 2010, p.25). Similarly, staycation is encoded in changing representations. Going local
is preferred over excessive long-haul travel in a staycation context. Perceived understandings of distance
are of equal significance compared to the usual Euclidian distance, all reinforced by increasing
environmental awareness. Thus, “relative dimensions of distance” (Larsen and Guiver, 2013: p.971) are
capable of challenging the actual tourist mobility.
Indeed, environmental sustainability theme seems rather significant. This, considering the climate
change crisis so widely discussed in academia (Coles, 2015), and around the world in general. Moreover,
findings show that the phenomenon gains recognition, and that it is advertised as a new tourist product.
All things considered, the above narratives cohere with what is presented in the discussion by
Isenhour (2012). Perhaps the cosmopolitan sense given by travelling is still desirable (ibid) (e.g. noted in
the individual benefits theme) and will be hard to renounce. Nonetheless, the staycation trend shows that
other aspects are increasingly emphasised (e.g. the local travel aspect and the increased awareness
towards environmental sustainability).
RQ (2) What are the drivers behind opting for practicing a staycation?
Representations incorporate the meaning of mobilities (Cresswell, 2010). In the given context of
staycations, the established representations both can or cannot correspond to the practice. This sub-
question aimed at finding out if it is or is not in contradiction. In general, findings show that the way a
staycation is practiced corresponds to its representations.
The practice of staycation is emphasised in local travelling in the surrounding natural landscape. It
allows the enjoyment of a variety of hobbies and stimulates personal development, while simultaneously
being cost effective. Unplugging and distancing from the usual routine is exercised through narratives of
detachment and change of scenery, especially through the medium of hotel stays in order to avoid the
familiar settings. These findings are in agreement with Andriotis (2018), where he further implies that
staycations can prove to be more rewarding in comparison with long haul trips.
Discussion around sustainability is a new aspect present in narratives of staycation developed
during this study. Indeed, practicing a staycation and avoiding high-carbon travel could be an aspect
characteristic to sustainable lifestyles (Verbeek and Mommaas, 2008). “Sustainable tourism consumption
does not necessarily mean people holidaying or travelling less […] but it will mean people travelling
more locally” (Hall, 2009: p.56).
Previously, minimal consumption and self-restraint was associated with financial struggles.
However, currently it can be related to having a specific lifestyle aiming at having a lower negative
impact and a new approach to simple living (Andriotis, 2018). Attitudes towards engaging in low-carbon
lifestyles reached different levels of recognition, but it requires the willingness to act and accept self-
restrictions (Gössling et al., 2012), especially limitations in regards to mobility (Ceron and Dubois, 2007).
RQ (3) How is distance understood in the context of staycations?
Indeed, distance could be “an element in holiday recollection through being the spatial separator between
the tourist’s home and their holiday space” (Larsen and Guiver, 2013). However, in the context of
staycations, further understandings of distance are involved as disconnecting factors. The challenge of
sustainability in the happiness loop in tourism (Ram et al., 2013) can be phased out or minimised (see
Figure 7). To do so, replacing travelling to/back from a destination with physical proximity and other
understandings of distance is desired. This stands for a change towards a more practical tourism mobility
(de Bloom et al., 2017). Physical proximity and distance are not mutually exclusive if considering
staycations. New implications for Euclidean distance are added together with additional understandings of
distance.
McKercher (2018) remarks that participating in travel at short distances is available for anyone
willing to do so, unlike long distance trips. Short and long destination trips both require available time,
and the tourist must choose between “time spent getting to the destination” or “time spent at the
destination” (McKercher and Lew, 2003: p.160). This pattern seems central to staycations as a way of
holidaying. Economic distance is emphasised through the convenience theme, while time distance
through the local travel theme and immediacy. These both represent a way to maximise the value of time
spent. The use of time is an essential component that affects the decision to take a staycation, as time is
considered a restraint (Thrift, 1977). This is achieved by merging the origin with the receiving
destination.
Figure 7. The “happiness loop” adjusted to staycations. (Adapted from: Ram et al., 2013)
Findings illustrate how “distance represents a proxy variable that embodies a range of physical
and human geographic conditions and also takes into consideration many consumer behaviour
variables” (McKercher, 2018: p.908). Thus, having a clearer understanding of the geographical context of
the studied object would permit a better perspective on the subjectivities of proximity and distance
concepts (Jeuring and Haartsen, 2017). This being specifically positioned in the context of staycation as a
case of proximity tourism.
At last, let us consider the romanticisation of staycation once more. Evidently, what is new about
staycation is the term itself. Taking that into account, could staycation rather be a fresh interpretation of
an existing practice embedded in daily tourist mobilities? Or is it an attempt to promote domestic tourism
contrary to the prominent hypermobile international travel? Without doubts, “romanticisation” occurs
through the medium of changing representations. The previously established aspects play a further role in
it. In particular via convenience, detachment through change of scenery, and environmental sustainability
through increasing awareness. Thus this discussion suggests that tourism deviates from its traditional
outlook on travelling across physical distances. Moreover, it is moving beyond it through romanticisation
of staycation. It is found to be an essential factor in facilitating changes in tourist mobility, discussed as
follows.
2. Towards a change in tourist mobility
This study had a focus on distance and its understandings in the context of staycation. The new mobilities
paradigm provided a fresh philosophical perspective on tourist mobilities. Whereas distance proved to be
a useful tool to answer the main theoretical research question proposed in the introduction. Provided that,
How does the meaning of distance within staycation as a case of proximity tourism challenge tourist
mobility?
Currently, dominant leisure mobility patterns and travel behaviour are indeed recognised as
unsustainable (Ram et al., 2013), especially in the light of given negative effects of hypermobility (Cohen
and Gössling, 2015). Climate change awareness and a change in attitudes/behaviour towards a more
sustainable mobility could potentially diminish its consequences (Ceron and Dubois, 2007). Though,
Larsen and Guiver (2013) question whether changes in travel behaviour will happen on a voluntary basis,
indicating that a combination of strategies are needed in order to shift towards a more sustainable
mobility in tourism.
By departing from quantitative growth in tourism towards more qualitative aspects of it, the
staycation phenomenon closely relates to the steady state tourism paradigm (Hall, 2009). Likewise, it is
discussed along with the low-carbon tourism paradigm as it suggests less non-essential overseas trips and
more localised tourism (Becken, 2017). As well as degrowth inspired tourism (Andriotis, 2018).
If a transition from ‘growth’ to ‘steady-state economy’ (Hall, 2009) is to occur, the rationale
behind it will not be a decline in leisure oriented consumption based on economic reasons, but rather due
to the potential climate shift impacts it implies (Theuns, 2013). Following the academic literature, this
perspective seems to create a discrepancy with the usual values promoted in tourism (Jeuring and
Haartsen, 2017). Evidently, if international tourism increases, the staycation trend and its changing
representations add to the list of existing practices in domestic tourism. Thus, making it more diversified
and appealing to travellers.
Emissions generated by highly mobile lifestyles are estimated to only escalate with time, where
hypermobility is becoming fashionable (Gössling et al., 2012). The staycation phenomenon pursues the
advantage of excluding air travel from the tourist usage due to lack of necessity (de Bloom et al., 2017).
Considering that, staycation is another rising holidaying trend, and a local travel option positioned on the
other side of hypermobilty. However, quoting Germann Molz (2009), it might just be an attempt to “re-
appropriate stillness into a more marketable ‘staycation’ that could mobilise citizens through
consumption, even as they stayed at home” (p.282).
In the event of re-appropriation, staycation may have social, economic, and environmental
implications for tourism. A growing interest in local travel will allow domestic/national tourism
departments to regain their recognition that was reduced with the growth of international tourism (Pearce,
1996). Isenhour (2012) argues that a staycation would limit the potential obtainment of cultural capital
offered by international tourism. Yet this study introduces another side of its social implications, e.g.
sustaining the local community, rejuvenation of local culture, and reconsideration of the host-guest
relationship. Staycation hints at a sustainable consumption in tourism through its local travel aspect (Hall,
2009), where tourism is challenging climate change, and not facilitating it. For this reason, staycation may
be an attempt to reappropriate proximity and make domestic tourism more attractive. All mentioned
implications add up to the phenomenon as meaningful and far-reaching.
Following recommendations from tourism scholars, individual change towards travelling at a
reduced distance is desirable. Gössling et al. (2012: p.147) believe that persuading highly and (at the
moment) less mobile travellers to engage in low-carbon movements are both important without exception.
Though influencing those already highly mobile travellers to limit emissions caused by travel seems more
complicated than the other (ibid). A transition towards a more local lifestyle requires a change of habits,
and renouncement of the hypermobile social lives that we are so used to (Larsen, 2013).
Another line of thought is the promising intention of slow tourism, where “there is considerable
potential for slow travel as a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy for tourism” (Dickinson el
al., 2011: p. 285). Similarly, staycation alters the understandings of distance, and is more likely to able to
address these issues. The results of a study conducted by Becken (2017: p.841) reveal “getting people to
reduce activities that cause carbon” and “dominance of new patterns” as associations mentioned by
tourism experts regarding emerging changes in behaviour and low-carbon tourism challenges. Surely, the
staycation phenomenon advocates for such behavioural changes through its romanticisation.
Chapter VI. Conclusion
———————————————————————————————
This dissertation provided further insights into how dynamic representations of staycation in tourism are
constructed. Subsequently it added to the knowledge regarding relative meanings of distance, and its
relationship with proximity tourism. Thus, it achieved the initial aim developed in the beginning of the
study.
Reflecting on the introductory discussion on tourism binary distinctions outlined by Cohen and
Cohen (2015), the phenomenon of staycation blurs the abstract boundaries between some of the
mentioned dichotomies (e.g. proximate and distant, home and away, host and guest). It demonstrates the
possibility of experiencing vacationing through different understandings of distance, as the concept stands
central to the phenomenon.
By potentially rejecting the use of high carbon types of transportation, it is to some extent similar
to 'slow tourism’ (Germann Molz, 2009; Soria and Llurdés Coit, 2013). The difference represented in the
central concepts appertaining to each, pace for slow tourism and distance for staycation. The practice of
staycation does resemble and favour the low-carbon transition scenario discussed by Larsen (2013). In the
context of staycations, long-haul trips are rather on the opposite side of status and cosmopolitanism, and
going local is promoted through positive outcomes.
Also, it highlights how people can enjoy local travel while still being in physical proximity to
their home through sensations of detachment and change of scenery. On a final note, the results of the
study seem rather encouraging, particularly by bringing additional societal, theoretical, and practical
contributions elaborated as follows.
1. Contribution of the dissertation
Past research has shown the place that travel holds in tourism, where physical distance is considered as a
central aspect. However, more clarification was needed regarding other meanings of distance, and how it
challenges tourist mobility. To my knowledge, no study has attempted to address this issue in the context
of staycation. This paper had one of its main focuses on how understandings of distance might influence
travel behaviour towards preferring a staycation, considering the circumstances of growing international
tourism where hypermobility is favoured. Thus, it adds significance to the study on a societal level.
By presenting a fresh perspective on domestic tourism through distance in staycation, the current
dissertation adds importance to the new mobilities paradigm in tourism studies. The identified themes
form a model that represents the main aspects of staycation. The model is respectively the main analytical
contribution of this paper. It also contributes to the knowledge on distance concepts. Another contribution
to the academic literature is adding to the number of papers that call for behavioural changes that depart
from non-essential travel towards a more efficient tourism mobility (de Bloom et al., 2017).
Although the study has a relatively new and still growing phenomenon as a study object, it
encompasses practical contributions that contain marketing and managerial implications. The discussion
agrees with Jeuring and Haartsen (2017) in their statement on the value that proximity tourism studies
holds for local tourism marketing and regional development. Therefore, the results can be used by local
tourism offices and destination marketing organisations, as well as by individual businesses that promote
local travel. It also holds implications for hotels that are looking into optimising their image on the market
by considering staycation as a tourism product. Finally, the findings of the study can be generalised even
to an individual level, as it can present interest for travellers themselves. For instance, by having a better
understanding of distance, travellers can adopt it towards a different option in their travel choices.
2. Future research suggestions
Despite the promising findings and its contributions, this study calls for further research. Some
suggestions are looking into the growing worry towards pandemic outbreaks (e.g. Covid-19). The
staycation market could be encouraged, contributing through minimising the vulnerability of tourism in
health crisis contexts, while also increasing interest towards domestic travel.
Even if the decision to disregard material involving the Covid-19 crisis was taken prior the study,
it was difficult to avoid. Indisputably, the discussion revolving around it in context of staycation is a
promising topic: “what is extra nice about hiking is that it is excellent to do despite the coronatimes
[emoji] a good alternative in these times to more public places!” (Hemestertips, 2020: post #192). It can
be observed how staycations thrive in crisis contexts, e.g. economic, environmental, and health.
Considering the findings presented in this study and the world circumstances of Covid-19 lockdowns, the
staycation trend is likely to continue increasing, especially in the summer of 2020.
In future studies, staycation phenomenon can be explored considering a different theoretical
frameworks and by following a different methodology. The study did not aim to gain comprehensive
understandings of distance coming directly from staycationers. Therefore, it would have been more
interesting if in-depth interviews as an applied method were conducted, but due to time limitations it was
not possible to implement. More work is required to establish the value staycation holds for academia,
and its managerial implications.
Other narratives regarding staycation can be revealed if another study object was chosen, e.g.
those who cannot afford a vacation. The outcome could be a different experience of staycations, hinting at
the politics of mobility (Cresswell, 2010) again. The study does not include a wide view of the world and
is partially limited to Sweden in terms of geographical range. Future studies concerning staycation in
other locations, that depart from a Eurocentric view (Cohen and Cohen, 2015) could generate different
results, bringing further contribution to the topic.
Finally, the study did not establish the geographical context of the studied object. This limitation
occurred due to the digital nature of the material and methods chosen. The gathered data from qualitative
content analysis has a universal character belonging to a general perspective, while netnography was used
to retrieve data with a more narrow direction, specifically focusing on Sweden. Obtaining subjective
understandings of far/near distance perceptions in an accurate geographical context would have brought
more significance to this paper, especially considering that “subjectivities of proximity and distance are
central to one of the main paradoxes of tourism” (Jeuring and Haartsen, 2017: p.123).
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Appendices
Appendix A. List of hotels that market staycation
1. https://hotelatsix.com/offers/staycation/
Staycation – for two, Hotel At Six. Stockholm, Sweden
2. https://hotelcstockholm.com/stockholm/staycation/
ICEBAR STAYCATION, Hotel C. Stockholm, Sweden
3. https://www.nordicchoicehotels.se/kampanjer-och-erbjudanden/staycation/
Staycation - bo borta hemma, Nordic Choice Hotels. 169 available locations
4. https://www.hotelkungstradgarden.se/staycation/
Staycation, Hotel Kungsträdgården/The King´s Garden. Stockholm, Sweden
5. https://hotelj.com/en/special-offers/weekend-staycation
WEEKEND STAYCATION, Hotel J. Stockholm, Sweden
6. https://www.elite.se/sv/hotell/vaxjo/staycation-i-vaxjo/
STAYCATION I VÄXJÖ, Elite Stadshotellet and Elite Park Hotel. Växjö, Sweden
7. https://fizeaustraat.hotelv.com/rooms/staycation
Staycation at Hotel V Fizeaustraat, Hotel V. Amsterdam, Netherlands
8. https://novotel.accor.com/promotions-offers/package-offers/owm009309-003-novotel-
staycation.en.shtml
It's staycation time! You don't need to travel far to disconnect!, Novotel. Multiple locations
9. https://curtisshotel.com/buffalo-staycation/
Buffalo Staycation, Curtiss Hotel. Buffalo (NY), USA
10. https://www.scandichotels.com/weekend-packages-and-offers/grand-staycation
GRAND HOTEL STAY IN OSLO, Grand Hotel Oslo by Scandic. Oslo, Norway
11. http://www.carlia.com/staycation.aspx
Staycation - ett erbjudande för dig i närområdet!, Best Western Hotel Carlia. Uddevalla, Sweden
12. https://www.niccolohotels.com/en/niccolo/hotels/hongkong/central/
the_murray_a_niccolo_hotel_hong_kong/offers/murray_staycation.html
MURRAY STAYCATION, The Murray, Niccolo. Hong Kong SAR, China
Appendix B. Material used for qualitative content analysis
Online magazines:
1. https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/staycation
“Time for a Staycation: How to Kick Back, Relax, and Vacation at Home”, by Real Simple
Editors (July 09, 2019)
2. https://www.bustle.com/p/11-staycation-ideas-for-adults-that-feel-ultra-luxurious-9564258
“11 Staycation Ideas For Adults That Feel Ultra Luxurious”, by KYLI RODRIGUEZ-CAYRO (July
6, 2018)
3. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/g30549533/staycation-ideas/
“15 Amazing Staycation Ideas That Won't Blow Your Budget”, by LIZZ SCHUMER (Jan 21, 2020)
4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveodland/2012/05/31/16-things-to-do-on-a-staycation/#432f17496819
“16 Things To Do On A “Staycation””, by Steve Odland (May 31, 2012)
5. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/g29625922/best-staycation-ideas/
“12 Actually Fun Staycation Ideas That Are Waaay Better Than Standing in a Security Line Eating
Airport Food”, by EMMA BAKER (Oct 30, 2019)
6. https://driftermagazine.ca/staycations-are-an-excellent-alternative-to-world-explorations-1f27785b9ab8
“Staycations are an excellent alternative to world explorations”, by TStreet Media (Aug 4, 2017)
7. https://www.fastcompany.com/3062808/how-to-go-on-a-staycation-without-feeling-cheated
“How To Go On A Staycation Without Feeling Cheated”, by LAURA VANDERKAM (Aug 17, 2016)
Blog entries:
8. https://medium.com/@kehruba.imran/my-staycation-holistay-essentials-for-2019-2c7110edee59 —
“My ‘Staycation’/’Holistay’ Essentials for 2019”, by Kehruba Imran (May 28, 2019)
9. https://www.verdemode.com/discover-the-benefits-of-a-staycation/
“Discover the Benefits of a Staycation”, by Linda McCormick (Aug 14, 2012)
10. https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/staycation/
“STAYCATIONS: 5 WAYS TO EMBRACE YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY AT HOME”, by Nomadic Matt
(Feb 22, 2019)
11. http://merlionwayfarergoesworld.blogspot.com/2018/09/expedia-study-parents-as-top-
staycationers.html
“Expedia Study - Parents with Kids Emerge as Top Staycationers in Singapore”, by Merlion Wayfarer
Goes World (Sep 29, 2018)
12. https://mitsueki.sg/category/mitsueki/my-staycations/
“Category: My Staycations”, by Mitsueki (multiple dates)
13. https://www.innroad.com/blog/2015/03/how-independent-hoteliers-can-capitalize-on-the-staycationer-
trend/
“How independent hoteliers can capitalize on the “staycationer” trend”, by innRoad (n.d.)
14. https://www.webrezpro.com/boost-off-season-occupancy-with-staycation-bookings/
“Boost Off-Season Occupancy with Staycation Bookings”, by WebRezPro (Oct 10, 2019)
15. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/i-need-a-staycation
“How to Plan a Staycation”, by Ramsey Solutions, Lampo Licensing, LLC (n.d.)
16. https://www.lifehack.org/633905/why-staycation-is-the-new-vacation-for-every-travel-lover
“Why Staycation Is the New Vacation for Every Travel Lover”, by Brian Lee (n.d.)
17. https://www.everydollar.com/blog/staycation-ideas
“12 Staycation Ideas That Won’t Bust Your Budget”, by EveryDollar, Lampo Licensing, LLC (n.d.)
18. https://smartcaro.org/5-staycation-ideas-to-save-your-summer/
“5 Staycation Ideas to Save Your Summer”, by Caro Federal Credit Union (n.d.)
19. https://www.siteminder.com/r/trends-advice/hotel-travel-industry-trends/staycation-hotels-domestic-
bookings/
“The Global Staycation Trend: How can independent hotels secure domestic bookings?”, by
SiteMinder (n.d.)
20. https://www.planday.com/blog/marketing-your-business-to-staycationers/
“Marketing your business to “staycationers””, by Jonne Tanskanen (n.d.)
21. https://socialnomics.net/2019/03/08/uk-staycation-travel-trends-2019/
“UK Staycation Travel Trends 2019”, by The Socialnomics Team (Mar 8, 2019)
22. https://blog.sleepnumber.com/the-upsides-of-a-summer-staycation/
“THE UPSIDES OF A SUMMER STAYCATION”, by Sleep Number Corporation (n.d.)
23. https://www.contagious.com/news-and-views/doppelganger-destinations-sell-staycations-to-germans?
fbclid=IwAR3Binl5Q1jpmsWxc4qOlirmGuYCFXzys2kD1s7oJF18QRNAwwk8fi_bb2s
“Doppelganger destinations sell staycations to German holidaymakers”, by Contagious
Communications (Jul 30, 2019)
24. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2018/03/22/inside-mindset-staycationers
“Inside the mindset – Staycationers”, by Amelia Brophy (Mar 22, 2018)
25. https://www.regency-mgmt.com/resources/newsroom/staycations
“Staycations: Backyard Getaways on the Rise”, by Regency Management (n.d.)
26. https://youmatter.world/en/staycation-definition-stay-vacations-sustainable/
“What Is Staycation: Discover The Latest Trend In Sustainable Tourism”, by André Gonçalves (Jan
28, 2020)
27. https://clark.com/travel/staycation-ideas/
“7 Amazing Staycation Ideas for Any Budget”, by Clark.com Staff, Clark Howard Inc. (Feb 20, 2020)
28. https://womenwhomoney.com/staycation-vacation/
“Can A Staycation Be Just As Good As A Vacation [Or Better]?”, by Women Who Money, Infinity Pro
On (n.d.)
29. https://www.verywellmind.com/have-a-truly-relaxing-staycation-3145216
“How to Make Sure You Have a Relaxing Staycation”, by Elizabeth Scott, MS (Jan 23, 2020)
30. https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/staycation-ideas-ds00/
“11 Sensational Staycation Ideas for the Holiday Break”, by Katie Sawyer (Dec 14, 2018)
31. https://www.moneyunder30.com/summer-staycation-guide
“How To Create An Epic Summer Staycation”, by Credit Sesame (Jul 11, 2019)
32. https://eatsleeplovetravel.com/2018/04/14/what-are-the-benefits-of-a-staycation/
“What Are The Benefits Of A Staycation?”, by Team Eslt (Vicky, Mr Eslt, Junior Eslt & Mini Eslt)
(April 14, 2018)
33. https://home.barclays/news/press-releases/2019/05/staycation-boom-driven-by-millennials/
“Staycation boom driven by millennials”, by Barclays (May 23, 2019)
News:
34. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/worklife/06/12/balance.staycation/index.html
“Staycations: Alternative to pricey, stressful travel”, by Debra Alban, CNN (Jun 12, 2008)
35. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/29/modern-tribes-the-staycationer-catherine-
bennett
“Modern tribes: the staycationer”, by Catherine Bennett, The Guardian (Apr 29, 2017)
36. https://www.totalbusinessmagazine.com/2019/08/marketing-your-business-to-staycationers/
“Marketing Your Business To ‘Staycationers’”, by Total Business (Aug 27, 2019)
37. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-plan-the-perfect-staycation-2018-8?r=US&IR=T#2-create-a-
staycation-budget-2
“10 tips for planning the perfect staycation”, by Natalia Lusinski (Aug 5, 2018)
38. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/how-to-take-a-staycation-this-summer/
2019/06/20/90e13492-9217-11e9-b58a-a6a9afaa0e3e_story.html
“How to take a staycation this summer”, by Christopher Elliott, The Washington Post (Jun 20, 2019)
39. https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/6m-push-for-staycationers-to-keep-discovering-as-
tourism-softens-38680016.html
6m push for staycationers to 'Keep Discovering' as tourism softens”, by Pól Ó Conghaile,
Independent (Nov 11, 2019)
40. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/travel/how-to-make-the-most-of-a-staycation.html
“How to Make the Most of a Staycation”, by Shivani Vora, The New York Times (May 2, 2017)
41. https://www.thelocal.se/20190716/swedes-travel-overseas-package-holidays-staycation-flygskam
“Flygskam: Are Swedes really going green and swapping overseas travel for 'staycations'?”, by The
Local Sweden (Jul 16, 2019)
42. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/enjoying-a-staycation-15_b_5543286?
utm_campaign=share_twitter&ncid=engmodushpmg00000004
“Enjoying a Staycation? 15 Tips to Keep It Frugal and Fun”, by WiserAdvisor.com, Huff Post (Sep 7,
2014)
Lifestyle websites writing about staycation:
43. https://thestaycationers.com/
“The Staycationers”, by THE STAYCATIONERS team (multiple dates)
44. https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/travel/staycations/
“Staycations”, by HONEYCOMBERS PTE LTD (multiple dates)
45. https://life.staycation.co/
“Staycation life”, by Staycation (multiple dates)
Online guides and blog entries on hotels websites:
46. https://www.stayfareast.com/en/staycation-guide/what-is-great-about-staycations-and-why-you-
should-go-on-one
“What's Great About Staycations & Why You Should Go On One”, by Far East Hospitality (n.d.)
47. http://innonthedrive.com/what-is-a-staycation-and-why-you-need-one/
“What is a Staycation? – And Why You Need One!”, by Inn On The Drive (n.d.)
48. https://traveler.marriott.com/tips-and-trends/plan-staycation-thats-actually-worth-vacation-days/
“Plan a Staycation That’s Actually Worth the Vacation Days”, by Mandy Donovan (n.d.)
49. https://blog.staypineapple.com/blog/2017/10/26/make-a-staycation-your-best-vacation
“Make a Staycation Your Best Vacation”, by StayPineapple (Oct 30, 2017)
50. https://www.duanestreethotel.com/blog/5-reasons-to-make-your-next-break-a-staycation/
“5 Reasons to Make Your Next Break a Staycation”, by Duane Street Hotel (n.d.)
Appendix C. Reflective notes
While conducting the netnography, some brief observations were made and also included in the collected
material. The “Hemestertips” group found on Facebook is administered by Deedster, a start-up based in
Stockholm, Sweden that promotes sustainable living by means of a mobile application with the same
name (Deedster, 2019). Initially, the Facebook group was for those who were using the mobile
application, but later in March 2019 it was finally dedicated to staycation.
Through staycation, the members of the group aim to generally inspire each other towards
enjoying local travelling, e.g.: “Sörmlandsleden for those who are craving an environmentally friendly
adventure” (post #77). Usually, the structure of an analysed post consisted of a destination in Sweden,
followed by some tips on “what” one can see there, and sometimes accompanied with some images of it.
Some posts were shorter, consisting of just one sentence, and others could be more extensive, up to two
small paragraphs.
Initially, the group (Hemestertips, 2020) was established on May 31 in 2017, under the name
“Deedsters - gruppen för alla användare av Deedster”, changed names a few times, only to be named
“Hemestertips” on March 27, 2019 (see Figure 8). Also, it is identified as a public “social learning group”
with visible online content.
Figure 8. Group history (Hemestertips, 2020). Screenshot by author.
The administrators of the group also informed the members that the shared pictures will also be
seen on the a staycation map (see Figure 9) available on Google Maps (Google Maps, 2020) — an
approach to help visualise the recommended activities and also useful when looking for relevant tips
based on location. The map at the moment includes 247 tips in total with 2283 views.
Some tips/activities are organised in topics (see Figure 10) and can be found following the next
popular categories: outdoor life, child friendly, city life, food & drinks, culture, sea & lake.
[Translation: outdoor life (27), child friendly (14), city life
(11), food & drinks (8), culture (7), sea & lake (7)].
Figure 10. Popular topics (Hemestertips, 2020).
Screenshot by author
Figure 9. Staycation map (Hemestertips, 2020).
Screenshot by author
During the study, it was observed that the group expanded, with the members number increasing
with approximately 400 people, with members being added almost on a daily basis — also being
suggestive of how interest in the phenomenon is growing. Currently, the group has nine admins and
moderators, and 952 members. The discussions in the group are not very dynamic, but the number of
members is growing, and new posts are observed quite often.
Purpose Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the hotel industry has launched various marketing promotions to survive in business, such as those promoting the idea of “staycations.” This study aims to explore what drives millennials’ staycation consumption and experiential components of staycation experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Design/methodology/approach Taking a qualitative approach, semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with a total of 25 participants who were millennials living in Hong Kong. Content analysis of the textual data was performed. Findings This study reveals that millennials’ staycation consumption is derived from the challenges they face in reality (disillusion of travelling) and from their own fantasy (illusion of travelling). Millennials’ staycation experience dynamically comprises their physical and cognitive activities, social interactions and emotional responses, whereby they gain a feeling of extraordinariness combined with the ordinariness of familiar surroundings. Research limitations/implications This study contributes to the staycation-related literature by untangling the dynamics of millennials’ staycation experience. In the COVID-19 situation, millennials’ staycation experience entails feelings of both ordinariness and extraordinariness, in which they actualize their fantasy of travelling. Practical implications In a bid to gain millennials’ interests in the post-COVID-19 era, hotel management needs to continue designing Instagrammable rooms/amenities and developing variously themed packages by collaborating with local brands and nearby attractions. Originality/value This study contributes to the limited literature on staycations in hospitality by revealing the structure of staycation experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and future behavior toward staycations, especially from millennials’ perspective.
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