Tourism and transitions toward sustainability: developing tourists’ pro-sustainability agency

  • Aisling Force
  • David Manuel-Navarrete
  • Karina Benessaiah
Original Article
  • 112 Downloads
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sustainability Transitions, Management, and Governance

Abstract

Leveraging human agency for sustainability transitions may benefit from interventions at the subjective level. This paper explores nature-based tourism as an example of a social process through which pro-sustainability agency could be promoted in tourists. We examine the potential of nature-based tourism to advance sustainability through a model linking tourism experience, personal change and pro-sustainability agency. Our conceptual model is explored through an empirical study of tourists surveyed before and after one-day whitewater rafting tours on Costa Rica’s Pacuare River. Results suggest that tourists’ past experiences, motivation, predispositions to change and fit with personal development processes are leveraging factors for the design of nature-based experiences that promote pro-sustainability agency. These findings have significant implications for the design of tourism, including ways to extend tourists’ experiences, increase collaboration among tourism operations and enhance the guides’ role in tour impact. This research highlights tourism sustainability as a necessary complement to sustainable tourism, and the opportunity of tourism actors to design activities that encourage pro-sustainability agency.

Keywords

Sustainability transitions Tourism sustainability Ecotourism Change agent Personal change Whitewater rafting 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Arnim Wiek for his critical review of the manuscript from which it has greatly benefited. The authors would also like to express gratitude to the Costa Rican tourism operation, particularly the guides, for hosting the research. These tourism actors played an immense role in enabling this exploratory investigation. A Travel Grant from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability funded the field research portion of this study.

References

  1. Abson DJ, Fischer J, Leventon J, Newig J, Schomerus T, Vilsmaier U, von Wehrden H, Abernethy P, Ives CD, Jager NW, Lang DJ (2017) Leverage points for sustainability transformation. Ambio 46(1):30–39Google Scholar
  2. Allen S, Smith H, Waples K, Harcourt R (2007) The voluntary code of conduct for dolphin watching in Port Stephens, Australia: is self-regulation an effective management tool? J Cetacean Res Manag 9(2):159–166Google Scholar
  3. Andersen IMV, Blichfeldt BS, Liburd JJ (2016) Sustainability in coastal tourism development: an example from Denmark. Curr Issues Tour 1-8Google Scholar
  4. Ardoin NM, Wheaton M, Bowers AW, Hunt CA, Durham WH (2015) Nature-based touris’s impact on environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behavior: a review and analysis of the literature and potential future research. J Sustain Tour 23(6):838–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnould EJ, Price LL (1993) River magic: extraordinary experience and the extended service encounter. J Consum Res 20:25–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ballantyne R, Packer J (2011) Using tourism free-choice learning experiences to promote environmentally sustainable behaviour: the role of post-visit “action resources”. Environ Educ Res 17(2):201–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ballantyne R, Packer J, Falk J (2011a) Visitors’ learning for environmental sustainability: testing short- and long-term impacts of wildlife tourism experiences using structural equation modelling. Tour Manag 32(6):1243–1252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ballantyne R, Packer J, Sutherland LA (2011b) Visitors’ memories of wildlife tourism: implications for the design of powerful interpretive experiences. Tour Manag 32(4):770–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bendik-Keymer JD (2012) How goodness itself must change in the new world of the Anthropocene: moral identity and the form of power. Case Western Reserve University, OhioGoogle Scholar
  10. Blamey RK (1997) Ecotourism: the search for an operational definition. J Sustain Tour 5(2):109–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Breakey NM, Breakey HE (2015) Tourism and Aldo Leopold’s “cultural harvest”: creating virtuous tourists as agents of sustainability. J Sustain Tour 23(1):85–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Buckley M (2009) White-water tourism. In: Prideaux B, Cooper M (eds) River tourism. Cabi, Wallingford, pp 181–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Buckley R (2012) Sustainable tourism: research and reality. Ann Tour Res 39(2):528–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Christie MF, Mason PA (2003) Transformative tour guiding: training tour guides to be critically reflective practitioners. J Ecotour 2(1):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen E (1985) The tourist guide: the origins, structure and dynamics of a role. Ann Tour Res 12(1):5–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cooke B, West S, Boonstra WJ (2016) Dwelling in the biosphere: exploring an embodied human–environment connection in resilience thinking. Sustain Sci 11(5):831–843Google Scholar
  17. Cox DR, Snell EJ (1989) Analysis of binary data, vol 32. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  18. Curtin S (2010) Managing the wildlife tourism experience: the importance of tour leaders. Int J Tour Res 12:219–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dangi TB, Jamal T (2016) An integrated approach to “Sustainable Community-Based Tourism”. Sustainability 8(5):475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Deaux K (1993) Reconstructing social identity. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 19(1):4–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Deng J, Li J (2014) Self-identification of ecotourists. J Sustain Tour 23(2):255–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dolnicar S, Crouch GI, Long P (2008) Environment-friendly tourists: what do we really know about them? J Sustain Tour 16(2):197–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Echeverria J, Barrow P, Roos-Collins R (1989) Rivers at risk: concerned citizen’s guide to hydropower. Island Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  24. Eijgelaar E, Thaper C, Peeters P (2010) Antarctic cruise tourism: the paradoxes of ambassadorship, “last chance tourism” and greenhouse gas emissions. J Sustain Tour 18(3):337–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fletcher R (2009) When environmental issues collide: climate change and the shifting political ecology of hydroelectric power. Peace Confl Rev 5(1):14–30Google Scholar
  26. Fluker MR, Turner LW (2000) Needs, motivations, and expectations of a commercial whitewater rafting experience. J Travel Res 38(4):380–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gelter H (2010) Total experience management—a conceptual model for transformational experiences within tourism. In: The Nordic conference on experience 2008. Research, education and practice in media, pp 46–78. Vaasa, Finland: Medusa Group of Vaasa Consortium of Higher EducationGoogle Scholar
  28. Gössling S, Peeters P (2015) Assessing tourism’s global environmental impact 1900–2050. J Sustain Tour 23(5):639–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hall CM (2011) Policy learning and policy failure in sustainable tourism governance: from first- and second-order to third-order change? J Sustain Tour 19(4–5):649–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Higgins-Desbiolles F (2009) The elusiveness of sustainability in tourism: the culture-ideology of consumerism and its implications. Tour Hosp Res 10(2):116–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Holyfield L (1999) Manufacturing adventure: the buying and selling of emotions. J Contemp Ethnogr 28(1):3–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hosmer D, Lemeshow S (2000) Applied logistic regression. A Wiley-Interscience Publication, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) (2014) Anuario Estadístico de Turismo 2014. Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  34. Jacobs MH, Harms M (2014) Influence of interpretation on conservation intentions of whale tourists. Tour Manag 42:123–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kals E, Schumacher D, Montada L (1999) Emotional affinity toward nature as a motivational basis to protect nature. Environ Behav 31(2):178–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kates RW, Parris TM (2003) Long-term trends and a sustainability transition. Proc Natl Acad Sci 100(14):8062–8067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kolb DA (1984) Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. Prentice-Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  38. Kuzdas C, Warner BP, Wiek A, Vignola R, Yglesias M, Childers DL (2016) Sustainability assessment of water governance alternatives: the case of Guanacaste Costa Rica. Sustain Sci 11(2):231–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Larson S, Farr M, Stoeckl N, Chacon A, Esparon M (2014) Does participation in outdoor activities determine residents’ appreciation of nature: a Case Study From the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Environ Nat Resour Res 4(3):212–226Google Scholar
  40. Littlefair C, Buckley R (2008) Interpretation reduces ecological impacts of visitors to world heritage site. Ambio 37(5):338–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Liu Z (2003) Sustainable tourism development: a critique. J Sustain Tour 11(6):459–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Manuel-Navarrete D (2015) Double coupling: modeling subjectivity and asymmetric organization in social-ecological systems. Ecol Soc 20(3):26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Manuel-Navarrete D (2016) Tourism and sustainability. In: Heinrichs H, Martens P, Michelsen G, Wiek A (eds) Sustainability science. An introduction. Springer, Berlin, pp 283–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Manuel-Navarrete D, Pelling M (2015) Subjectivity and the politics of transformation in response to development and environmental change. Glob Environ Change 35:558–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McKercher B, Prideaux B, Cheung C, Law R (2010) Achieving voluntary reductions in the carbon footprint of tourism and climate change. J Sustain Tour 18(3):297–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Menard S (2000) Coefficients of determination for multiple logistic regression analysis. Am Stat 54(1):17–24Google Scholar
  47. Moscardo G (2015) Stories of people and places: interpretation, tourism and sustainability. In: Hall CM, Gossling S, Scott D (eds) The Routledge handbook of tourism and sustainability. Routledge, Oxon, pp 294–304Google Scholar
  48. Moscardo G, Murphy L (2014) There is no such thing as sustainable tourism: re-conceptualizing tourism as a tool for sustainability. Sustainability 6(5):2538–2561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nagelkerke NJ (1991) A note on a general definition of the coefficient of determination. Biometrika 78(3):691–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nisbet EK, Zelenski JM, Murphy SA (2009) the nature relatedness scale linking individuals’ connection with nature to environmental concern and behavior. Environ Behav 41(5):715–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Notzke C (2016) Wild horse-based tourism as wildlife tourism: the wild horse as the other. Curr Issues Tour 19(12):1235–1259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Noy C (2004) This trip really changed me: backpackers’ narratives of self-change. Ann Tour Res 31(1):78–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Olsson P, Galaz V, Boonstra WJ (2014) Sustainability transformations: a resilience perspective. Ecol Soc 19(4):1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Palmer, T. (2004). Lifelines: the case for river conservation. Rowman & LittlefieldGoogle Scholar
  55. Pearce J, Strickland-Munro J, Moore SA (2017) What fosters awe-inspiring experiences in nature-based tourism destinations? J Sustain Tour 25(3):362–378Google Scholar
  56. Peng CYJ, Lee KL, Ingersoll GM (2002) An introduction to logistic regression analysis and reporting. J Educ Res 96(1):3–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Perkins HE, Brown PR (2012) Environmental values and the so-called true ecotourist. J Travel Res 51(6):793–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Powell RB, Kellert SR, Ham SH (2008) Antarctic tourists: ambassadors or consumers? Polar Rec 44(03):233–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Powell RB, Kellert SR, Ham SH (2009) Interactional theory and the sustainable nature-based tourism experience. Soc Nat Resour 22(8):761–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Prideaux B, Timothy DJ, Cooper M (2009) Introducing river tourism: physical, ecological and human aspects. In: Prideaux B, Cooper M (eds) River tourism. Cabi, Wallingford, pp 1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pritchard A, Morgan N, Ateljevic I (2011) Hopeful tourism. A new transformative perspective. Ann Tour Res 38(3):941–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pullman ME, Gross MA (2004) Ability of experience design elements to elicit emotions and loyalty behaviors. Decis Sci 35(3):551–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Reisinger, Y. (ed) (2013) Transformational tourism: tourist perspectives. CABI, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  64. Russell R, Guerry AD, Balvanera P, Gould RK, Basurto X, Chan KM, Klain S, Levine J, Tam J (2013) Humans and nature: how knowing and experiencing nature affect well-being. Ann Rev Environ Resour 38:473–502Google Scholar
  65. Saarinen J (2014) Critical sustainability: setting the limits to growth and responsibility in tourism. Sustainability 6(1):1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sedikides C, Brewer MB (2002) Individual, relational and collective self: partners, opponents, or strangers? In: Sedikides C, Brewer MB (eds) Individual self, relational self, collective self. Psychology Press, Hove, pp 1–4Google Scholar
  67. Tussyadiah IP (2014) Toward a theoretical foundation for experience design in tourism. J Travel Res 53(5):543–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. UNEP & UNWTO (2012) Tourism in the green economy—background report. United Nations Environmental Programme and World Tourism Organization, MadridGoogle Scholar
  69. UNWTO (2016) Tourism highlights, 2016th edn. World Tourism Organization, MadridGoogle Scholar
  70. van Veelen R, Otten S, Cadinu M, Hansen N (2015) An integrative model of social identification self-stereotyping and self-anchoring as two cognitive pathways. Pers Soc Psychol Rev 20(1):3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Veal AJ (2006) Research methods for leisure and tourism: a practical guide, 3rd edn. Pearson Education, HarlowGoogle Scholar
  72. Vila M, Costa G, Angulo-Preckler C, Sarda R, Avila C (2015) Contrasting views on Antarctic tourism: ‘last chance tourism’ or ‘ambassadorship’ in the last of the wild. J Clean Prod 111:451–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Walker K, Moscardo G (2014) Encouraging sustainability beyond the tourist experience: ecotourism, interpretation and values. J Sustain Tour 22(8):1175–1196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Walter PG (2016) Catalysts for transformative learning in community-based ecotourism. Curr Issues Tour 19(13):1356–1371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wearing S, Archer D (2002) Challenging interpretation to discover more inclusive models: the case of adventure tour guiding. World Leisure J 44(3):43–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Weaver DB, Lawton LJ (2007) Twenty years on: the state of contemporary ecotourism research. Tour Manag 28(5):1168–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Weiler B, Ham SH (2001) Tour guides and interpretation. In: Weaver DB (ed) The encyclopedia of ecotourism. CABI, Wallingford, pp 549–563Google Scholar
  78. Westley FR, Tjornbo O, Schultz L, Olsson P, Folke C, Crona B, Bodin Ö (2013) A theory of transformative agency in linked social-ecological systems. Ecol Soc 18(3):27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wheaton M, Ardoin NM, Hunt C, Schuh JS, Kresse M, Menke C, Durham W (2016) Using web and mobile technology to motivate pro-environmental action after a nature-based tourism experience. J Sustain Tour 24(4):594–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Xue L, Manuel-Navarrete D, Buzinde CN (2014) Theorizing the concept of alienation in tourism studies. Ann Tour Res 44:186–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Zelenski JM, Nisbet EK (2014) Happiness and feeling connected the distinct role of nature relatedness. Environ Behav 46(1):3–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban PlanningArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations