Tourism and Mobilities

Ekaterina Shebanova

This Book

The first academic writer I have got inspired by was one of my PhD supervisors, Professor Tara Duncan. She contributed a lot to the fields of Applied Recreation, Tourism, and Social and Cultural Geographies. Once I started to work with her, I realised that the fields of Geography and Human Mobilities could be complemented, challenged and expanded by critical theories and perspectives from other studies. As a young researcher myself, I completely understand and support all the authors of this Book. I know how demanding writing could be. It is not an easy thing, even for the experienced scholars…I am familiar with this task, and I am proud to be a part of this project.

I was summoned by one of my colleagues to be an Editor for this Book. I knew it was a ‘risky’ and ‘challenging’ process, but a very interesting and valuable mission for me as a young researcher, academic in the beginning of her path. It definitely affected me personally as I was learning together with the contributors and their absolutely brilliant minds. I believe that all together we were able to reflect broader insights and tensions with respect to the construction of the social sciences and how tourism and mobilities studies deal with current issues in the modern world. I put an emphasis again that authors brought different elements of one phenomena together with methodological tools and ideas to challenge, perhaps, excited ways of perceiving human mobility.

Furthermore, working together with the Proud Pen team, we intended to introduce new researchers with different cultural and academic perspectives in order for you, reader, to get familiar with the Tourism and Mobilities Book.

Sincerely,

Ekaterina Shebanova


Introduction

Tourism and Mobilities: Intersections and Multiple Forms of Human Geographies

The emergence of transnational knowledge in research regarding mobility, tourism and transportation uncovers new insights on populations and the ways people perform their activities. Growing movement of people and objects, a so-called new ‘turn’ in mobilities, has become an essential feature of the contemporary world that links different research areas and helps to examine the conceptual borders of multidisciplinary research (Sheller, 2014; Doering & Duncan, 2016). Sheller and Urry (2006) discuss the ‘new mobilities paradigm’ as a combination of critical theories, a new approach in geography that overlaps with studies of globalisation, migration and anthropology. Interactions of individuals, entities and objects in space, as components of geography, become a focus of marketing, business and economy, networks development and cultural studies, tourism and travel with its practices and performances in relation to geographical location.

Scholars argue that mobilities are not geographically simple anymore: they bring together different groups and organisations, goods and people with their experiences (Hall, 2005; Coles & Hall, 2011). Interactions of these diverse mobilities and so-called ‘mobility turn’ might trigger the social consequences and transform social sciences. The paradigm also focuses on relocations of images and information on different levels: local, national and international. New mobilities adopt concepts related to modern technologies and communications such as the use of smartphones, telephone, fax as well as networked computers and applications for virtual tourism/travelling activities (Coles & Hall, 2006). Research on mobility also engages ‘immobile’ infrastructures and facilities (e.g. borders, aeroports, gates, and etc.) that allow, regulate and/or limit different types of movement (Sheller & Urry, 2006). Molz (2012), for instance, debates that different areas of human mobility at the international level must be blurred with everydays concerns of individuals, material cultures, technologies and further intersections between mobility and immobility.

New mobilities also consider the emerging role of tourism and travelling in social sciences, since it brings together people and places. As a form of transnational movement and of migration, tourism can complement mobilities research through different aspects of anthropology, culture and geography. Nevertheless, many scholars claim that, inside the mobilities paradigm, tourism studies can be combined together with the knowledge from transnational studies in order to develop the areas of intersection further (Tolia-Kelly, 2006). Migration (as a form of movement) also concentrates on the broad flows of transnational movements. Moreover, academics have acknowledged the connection between tourism-migration nexus and new mobilities (Salazar, 2022).

Tourism as a form of movement still can be explored more in terms of how it reacts to ‘threats’ and ‘crises’ that challenge the paradigm (Creswell, 2006). In conceptualising tourism mobility academics have been already presenting new insights regarding ideas of ‘home’ and ‘away’, ‘hosts’ and ‘guests’, ‘everyday’ and ‘exotic’ (Coles, Hall & Duval, 2005). However, a major body of work highlighted that there was a need for a more detailed view of how tourism might be related to people’s stories, identities and their ways of perceiving mobility.

Together with issues of location and traditional geographic concerns (e.g. place and space), other global challenges such as consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic also impacted international flows of people (Marti & Bergmann, 2021). At the time of undertaking the current Book, Covid-19 was the biggest crisis on the horizon and for the majority of individuals. Indeed, the pandemic has changed many of the world’s human mobility dynamics: international tourism flows have been drastically reduced; migrants did not have a chance to get back to their home countries; lockdowns and governmental restrcitions constrained human mobility (Gössling, Scott & Hall, 2020). However, the new realities gave an opportunity to revise different forms of mobilities and their intersections with tourism performances. The purpose of this Book, as such, is to complement the previous knowledge on tourism and mobilities with critical research by illustrating new ways of understanding movement of different motivations and its impact. The Tourism and Mobilities Book collected works in ‘border’ areas and ‘embedded’ topics in order to demonstrate through different approaches the current state of art and picture present challenges and trends, and draw readers attention to possible future research. These works present not only latest issues associated with the research on geographies of tourism and mobility, but also different methodological approaches necessary to explore them. They reflect broader insights and tensions with respect to the construction of the social sciences and how tourism and mobilities studies deal with current issues in the modern world.

As such, in Chapter 1. “Looking at walking/tourism through a gendered lens” authors discuss recent differences in walking and tourism patterns and add gender perspectives and issues of feminisation in the new mobilities paradigm. Researchers draw attention to individuals’ motivations and constraints that might affect their mobilities patterns taking into consideration females stories and experiences. Walking has been recently portrayed as a way to escape contemporary restrictions during Covid-19. However, literature has acknowledged this trend from the Western and rather ‘masculine’ perspective. This Chapter pictures women as equal and active mobile actors, with strong self identification in terms of walking/travelling. Furthermore, authors identify the constraints, feelings of vulnerability and potential danger that women might face while walking, which often relate to the safety concerns, and “lead them to adopt safeguarding strategies, both before and while engaging in walking” (Chapter 1). By presenting ‘voices’ of research participants, authors bring insights on how females perceive restrictions they face in space and conclude by suggesting to expand the research on tourism and mobilities through gender lens and even merge “queer and race theories, critical disability studies and decolonial approaches” (Chapter 1) that might expand the previous calls on mobilities studies.

Following the topic of Covid-19 consequences, Chapter 2. “The evolution of technology and new types of tourists: The Case of Pokémon Go Tourist” debates on the increased attention of academics to the role of technologies during the post-pandemic period in the tourism-related industries and how they affect the mobile actors’ patterns and motivations. Author explores the role of smartphones, mobile applications, mobile games and the implementation of Augmented Reality (AR) with its relation to the industry of tourism and touristic destinations. Chapter 2 describes the case study of the example of Pokémon Go “to prove that an AR location-based mobile game can influence individuals’ decisions to visit certain destinations” (Chapter 2). The use of successful game apps might influence certain groups and populations to take actions and decisions regarding tourism/mobility and, according to the author’s research, justifies through economic lens the design and development of such games. Researcher suggests exploring further the implication of that phenomenon in terms of its relation to the mobility of tourists. As such, mobile actors (e.g. tourists or travellers) could have a quality use of the advice generated by a mobile game to learn about certain locations by consuming the virtual materials and tools promoted by the game. Chapter 2 pictures a segment of the mobile gamers tourists ‘a Go Tourist generation’ (Chapter 2) and concludes by arguing how destinations could use better knowledge received from virtual tools in order to promote tourist destinations and/or increase visitors’ mobility.

Chapter 3. “Travel constraints in the pandemic situation: A perspective of the digital economy” also complements the studies regarding post-pandemic outbreak and travel constraints changes of one’s mobility. Authors summarise various limitations in the tourism industry caused by Covid-19. They argue that “the current research on travel constraints has not been well studied systematically under the conditions of digitization, networking and intelligence” (Chapter 3) that could help to advance the travel mobilities during the pandemic conditions. This Chapter brings the perspectives of the digital economy, modern technologies and informatisation on front by appealing to the better explorations and use of them to guarantee security and convenience of the ones who move and travel. By outlining the case of China and theoretical background on how to implement digital economy tools to deal with travel constraints in mobilities, authors intend to solve the travel restriction problem through digitalization, networking and intelligence. A presented framework also demonstrates a necessity to analyse more cases from China due to another ‘non-western’ perspective and valuable cultural knowledge similar, yet different to existing critical theories on tourism and mobilities. Furthermore, authors propose to practitioners and policymakers to pay attention to such systematic methods to determine the path to solve the problem when facing the travel restriction problem in the mobility (Chapter 3). Chapter concludes by calling on further tests to be conducted by using more case studies and empirical research methods to examine this framework (Chapter 3).

Chapter 4. “A New Perspective of Tourism by Positive Actions in Japan” also emerges new cultural knowledge with means of transportation in mobilities as authors present a new perspective of tourism mobilities in Japan by picturing how “rivers, humans, and trains are used by individuals to generate new perspective of tourism” (Chapter 4). As tourism experiences can enhance one’s well-being and life satisfaction it is becoming important to explore further other environmental characteristics that unknowingly might affect mobile actors (e.g. tourists, travellers or migrants). This Chapter presents an ‘untraditional’ but common for Japan angle of factors coexisting with nature that should be taken into account once analysing tourism mobilities. “Based on three unique examples of transportation (river mobility, human mobility and train mobility) in Japan, authors extract the characteristics of future tourism mobilities and discuss the necessary components” (Chapter 4). By elaborating empirical and theoretical insights on various means of transportation in Japan and its comparison to other countries, authors discuss historical and cultural factors of popular tourism activities. Researchers also introduce different mobilities-related prospect, as such, co-creative activity during movement, realisation of a joint sightseeing experience between the tourist and the person executing the movement, realisation of tourism experiences using transportation methods of historical and cultural significance and realisation of a sightseeing experience by deliberately slowing down the speed of movement in relation to the destination instead of moving at high speed (Chapter 4). Chapter concludes by suggesting to explore more profoundly Japan’s cultural and historical heritage, as well as Southeast Asian countries values in general, to emerge knowledge in the future.

The following Chapter 5. “Tourists’ mobility toward Nature” also represents research regarding activities related to nature and active tourism as an alternative form to ‘move’ after Covid-19. As authors state, many individuals changed their mobility patterns by “adopting more sustainable and healthy practices from nature” (Chapter 5). They undertake mainly the literature analysis on how exactly the tourists’ preference has changed in relation to realise their mobilities. Authors present “the semi-systematic review process of the theoretical perspectives using the combination of keywords “tourism”, “mobilities”, and “COVID-19”, from the websites Scopus, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar” (Chapter 5). By doing this the Chapter debates on the point that active tourism, together with walking activities and cycling have emerged more with the consequences of Covid-19. Based on such points, authors highlight the idea that individuals experience more sustainable and secure touristic practices and other forms of mobility due to becoming more concerned about their well-being. Chapter concludes by outlining new preferences of mobile actors to perform their mobilities and outdoor activities towards nature. However, as an already recognised tendency, it should be examined better with appealing to specific topics and relevant keywords.

Chapter 6. “The Migrant’s search for a shared humanity: an analysis of mobility in Tagore’s short story The Kabuliwala in British-occupied Calcutta”, unlike the previous works, is focused on migration, a relocation of people that has been already explored by the academy from different angles. As the author states the ‘new mobile generation’ brings a population that “has undergone displacement for a cause, the relevance of which is naturally open to interpretation” (Chapter 6) and debates the importance of humanity through the figure of the migrant within mobilities paradigm. From a sociological and philosophical perspective, this Chapter appeals to the division of the excited theories and idea of who the figure of migrant is and “embodies the anxieties of the contemporary migrant” (Chapter 6). Author appeals to the issue of humanity through an ancient story and work of Rabindranath Tagore, a 19th century humanist from the state of Bengal (British India). Researcher compares in a spiritual way the experience of two different types of migrant by bringing an example of two characters of the story, Rahamat and Mini. Chapter intends to explore a phenomenon of migration through ideas of humanism and adoption of the achievement of that spiritual society where material, political, cultural and spiritual freedom blurred in understandings of one’s mobility” (Chapter 6).

As it has been already observed, the arised forms of tourism and their connection with various forms of mobility and movement needs more exploration and critical discussion to shed light on the matter of having and understanding multiple approaches and theories in social science research. The new mobilities paradigm allows researchers from different fields and backgrounds explore the possible trajectories to complement the already excited calls. This Book presented a collection of chapters that might map out new ways to analyse tourism mobilities from empirical, sociological and theoretical perspectives. Authors brought their critical minds together with methodological tools and ideas to challenge, perhaps, excited ways of perceiving human mobility. Moreover, their research demonstrated how exactly the research might be transformed due to global challenges, such as Covid-19 and its restrictions that affected individuals’ ways of moving and sense of attachment to destinations. The Book, in general, had a chance to explore some ‘trends’ and how contemporary research on tourism and mobilities had adapted to the ‘new realities’.

References

Coles, T., Hall, C.M. and Duval, D. (2005) Mobilising tourism: A post-disciplinary critique. Tourism Recreation Research 30 (2), 31–41.

Coles, T., & Hall, M. (2006). The geography of tourism is dead. Long live geographies of tourism and mobility. Current Issues in Tourism, 9(4-5), 289-292.

Coles, T., & Hall, C. M. (2011). Rights and Regulation of Travel and Tourism Mobility. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 3(3), 209–223.

Creswell, T. (2006). On the move. Mobility in the modern western world. Abingdon: Routledge.

Doering, A., & Duncan, T. (2016). Mobilities for Tourism Studies and “beyond”: a polemic. Tourism Analysis, 21, 47-59.

Gössling, S., Scott, D., & Hall, C. M. (2020). Pandemics, tourism and global change: a rapid assessment of COVID-19. Journal of sustainable tourism, 29(1), 1-20.

Hall, C.M. (2005) Reconsidering the geography of tourism and contemporary mobility. Geographical Research 43 (2), 125–39.

Martin, S., & Bergmann, J. (2021). (Im) mobility in the age of COVID-19. International Migration Review, 55(3), 660-687.

Molz, J. G. (2012). Travel connections: Tourism, technology, and togetherness in a mobile world. Routledge.

Salazar, N. B. (2022). Labour migration and tourism mobilities: Time to bring sustainability into the debate. Tourism Geographies, 24(1), 141-151.

Sheller, M. and Urry, J. (2006) The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 38(2), 207–26.

Sheller, M. (2014). The new mobilities paradigm for a live sociology. Current sociology, 62(6), 789-811.

Tolia, K., & Divya, P. (2006). Affect – an ethnocentric encounter? Exploring the “universalist” imperative of emotional/affectual geographies. Area, 38(2), 213-217.

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Book Information
Published: Sunday, 10 Dec 2023
ISBN: 978-1-914266-05-8
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