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Mobile landscapes and transport tourism: the visual experience of mobility during cruises and coach tours

Rhoden, S and Kaaristo, M (2020) Mobile landscapes and transport tourism: the visual experience of mobility during cruises and coach tours. International Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research, 14 (3). ISSN 1750-6182

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Abstract

This study aims to analyze the visual aspects of transport tourists’ experience of mobility focusing on British cruise and coach tourists’ international travel experiences. The qualitative data was collected using semi-structured in-depth interviews with coach and cruise tourists and analyzed using thematic analysis. The visual experience of mobility (demonstrated in the paper by the example of cruises and coach tours) is critical in the formation of transport tourism experiences. The mobile tourist landscapes emerge from the interplay of the subjective experiences of particular modes of mobility (vehicle or vessel) and routes, whereby the two key visual elements are the changing scenery and views of everyday local life as experienced whilst traveling. In terms of research limitations, the present study focuses particularly on the visual elements of passive transport tourism experiences. It does not account for other tourist activities nor does it study the experiences associated with active transport tourism. Future research could perform a holistic analysis of tourists’ experiences of transport in all its forms. The findings point to the centrality of the experience of mobility in transport tourism experience. The following two key aspects of the experience emerged: the importance of variation of the scenery that the tourist consumes during their tour and a desire to observe mundane, everyday life elements of the destination, which should be taken into account by the tour operators and service providers in the route design and marketing. Originality/value: Coach and cruise tourism are rarely analyzed together; this study demonstrates considerable parallels between the two in considering them as transport tourism, a mode of recreational activity where mobility is the central part of the tourist experience and should, therefore, be considered a tourist attraction in and of itself.

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