Identity and tourism mobility: an exploration of the attitude-behaviour gap
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Journal: Journal of Sustainable Tourism
This paper explores the attitude-behaviour gap from an identity perspective in order to better understand why tourists act sustainably at "home" but not when "away". The majority of tourism-related CO2 emissions stems from transport. Behavioural change is a possible way to reduce those emissions. However, research indicates that instigating behavioural change within tourism is problematic, because of the attitude-behaviour gap. Studies suggest that understanding the role of identity and tourism mobility could explain this gap; this paper researches that idea, using a narrative approach to explore the travel life histories of 24 participants, with a second interview to examine how interviewees viewed their tourism activity in the light of environmental debates and concerns. Data were analysed using thematic and narrative-based dialogic/performance approaches. The paper reveals how a need for personal identity can influence travel behaviour and that identity plays a significant role in travel decisions, sometimes overriding cost and environmental issues. The power of social identity is explored, noting increasingly powerful global VFR networks, along with the search for future selves, the need for personal differentiation and issues of multiple identities. Suggestions are made for ways to use identity research into policies seeking to achieve behavioural change. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.