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Tourism, tourist learning and sustainability : an exploratory discussion of complexities, problems and opportunities

Gössling, Stefan LU (2017) In Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Abstract

Learning is often a central element of tourism. Tourists can learn actively, i.e. with a specific purpose, as well as passively through the comparison of values, norms and customs. It has been argued that travel supports active learning that has positive outcomes for sustainability, for instance, in the context of conservation. Yet, the complexity of active and passive learning processes and their outcomes for environmental sustainability and sustainable lifestyles remain insufficiently understood. Against this background, the paper discusses selected learning outcomes for transportation (air travel), accommodation (hotels) and activities (theme park visits). Findings suggest that “desirable” learning (defined as pro-sustainable... (More)

Learning is often a central element of tourism. Tourists can learn actively, i.e. with a specific purpose, as well as passively through the comparison of values, norms and customs. It has been argued that travel supports active learning that has positive outcomes for sustainability, for instance, in the context of conservation. Yet, the complexity of active and passive learning processes and their outcomes for environmental sustainability and sustainable lifestyles remain insufficiently understood. Against this background, the paper discusses selected learning outcomes for transportation (air travel), accommodation (hotels) and activities (theme park visits). Findings suggest that “desirable” learning (defined as pro-sustainable development learning) in tourism may be very limited, while in particular, passive learning processes which redefine social norms frequently have outcomes that are largely detrimental to sustainable lifestyles. They include forms of moral licensing, the diffusion of responsibilities as well as the attenuation of the negative consequences of travel. Given the economic, social and cultural importance of tourism vís-a-vís its global implications for environmental sustainability, learning outcomes in tourism deserve to be studied in greater detail, while strategies need to be devised to enhance sustainable learning effects.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Consumption, environment, knowledge, learning, sustainable tourism
in
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
pages
15 pages
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • scopus:85022187049
ISSN
0966-9582
DOI
10.1080/09669582.2017.1349772
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1deaa6e7-2a3b-481c-8d71-a98302fc4e77
date added to LUP
2017-07-24 11:55:58
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:12:47
@article{1deaa6e7-2a3b-481c-8d71-a98302fc4e77,
  abstract     = {<p>Learning is often a central element of tourism. Tourists can learn actively, i.e. with a specific purpose, as well as passively through the comparison of values, norms and customs. It has been argued that travel supports active learning that has positive outcomes for sustainability, for instance, in the context of conservation. Yet, the complexity of active and passive learning processes and their outcomes for environmental sustainability and sustainable lifestyles remain insufficiently understood. Against this background, the paper discusses selected learning outcomes for transportation (air travel), accommodation (hotels) and activities (theme park visits). Findings suggest that “desirable” learning (defined as pro-sustainable development learning) in tourism may be very limited, while in particular, passive learning processes which redefine social norms frequently have outcomes that are largely detrimental to sustainable lifestyles. They include forms of moral licensing, the diffusion of responsibilities as well as the attenuation of the negative consequences of travel. Given the economic, social and cultural importance of tourism vís-a-vís its global implications for environmental sustainability, learning outcomes in tourism deserve to be studied in greater detail, while strategies need to be devised to enhance sustainable learning effects.</p>},
  author       = {Gössling, Stefan},
  issn         = {0966-9582},
  keyword      = {Consumption,environment,knowledge,learning,sustainable tourism},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  pages        = {15},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Journal of Sustainable Tourism},
  title        = {Tourism, tourist learning and sustainability : an exploratory discussion of complexities, problems and opportunities},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2017.1349772},
  year         = {2017},
}