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Understanding tourists’ reactance to the threat of a loss of freedom to travel due to climate change: a new alternative approach to encouraging nuanced behavioural change

Font, X and Hindley, A (2016) Understanding tourists’ reactance to the threat of a loss of freedom to travel due to climate change: a new alternative approach to encouraging nuanced behavioural change Journal of Sustainable Tourism. pp. 26-42.

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Abstract

This article proposes that reactance theory can be used to better understand how tourists’ perceptions of climate change affect their travel decisions. Reactance theory explains how individuals value their perceived freedom to make choices, and why they react negatively to any threats to their freedom. We study the psychological consequences of threatening tourist's freedoms, using a range of projective techniques: directly, using photo-expression, and indirectly, through collage, photo-interviewing and scenarios. We find that reactance theory helps to explain the extent of travel to two destinations: Svalbard and Venice, providing a nuanced understanding of how travellers restore their freedom to travel through three incremental stages: denying the climate change threat, reducing tensions arising from travel and heightening demand particularly for the most visibly threatened destinations. The theory suggests a fourth stage, helplessness, reached when consumers dismiss the value of destinations once they can no longer be enjoyed, but for which we, as yet, have no data. Reactance theory questions the validity of awareness-raising campaigns as behavioural change vehicles, provides alternative explanations of why the most self-proclaimed, environmentally aware individuals travel frequently, and helps identify nuanced, socially acceptable forms of sustainability marketing, capable of reducing resistance to change.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Sustainability
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Font, XUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hindley, AUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 16 May 2016
Identification Number : https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2016.1165235
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2016 Taylor & Francis
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 08 Feb 2017 15:58
Last Modified : 08 Feb 2017 15:58
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/813493

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