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Tourists' reflections on sustainability in a biosphere reserve landscape

Authors: Fredrik Hoppstadius*, Karlstad University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Landscape, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Biosphere reserve tourism, landscape, sustainable tourism, tourists
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

There is a lack of critical engagement and instead a focus on practical solutions in sustainable tourism debates. Research on biosphere reserve tourists has focused mainly on descriptions, while not critically engaging in issues relating to sustainable tourism. The ways that biosphere reserve tourists reflect on sustainable development can illustrate different aspects of how the tourism landscape highlights debates and themes in sustainability. Further, tourists' reflections on this topic could give indications on how to go beyond the practical, local and small‐scale application of sustainable tourism to become more sustainable. This presentation explores tourists' reflections on sustainable development in the landscape of a Swedish biosphere reserve. The study draws on material generated from qualitative methods consisting of walking in‐depth interviews, participant observation, and photographing.The benefit of multiple methods is to explain aspects of the informants' renderings that they might not actively connect to their role as “sustainable tourists”. Interviewing, participating in tourism activities, and photographing together with the tourists frame the informants' reflections on sustainable development in the biosphere reserve landscape. The findings indicate that biosphere reserve landscapes can increase environmental awareness, that aesthetics are important to how tourists make sense of sustainability, and that the functionality of the biosphere reserve landscape shows how people perceive environmental concerns and how they see their own roles in affecting the landscape.

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