Escaping COVID-19 through webcam-travel: an application of the Social Psychological Model of Tourism Motivation.

Jarratt, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7244-428X and Gammon, Sean James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5053-8763 (2022) Escaping COVID-19 through webcam-travel: an application of the Social Psychological Model of Tourism Motivation. Tourism Culture and Communication .

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Official URL: http://cognizantcommunication.com

Abstract

The use of webcams to virtually visit destinations has, over the last decade, generated much interest – none more so than during the covid-19 lockdowns. As countless millions across the globe were forced to stay at home, the practice of webcam-travel significantly increased, with preliminary studies finding the key drivers for the growth in usage to be freedom, nostalgia and connectiveness (Jarratt, 2021a). However, it was unclear to what extent that such practice was born from a desire to escape from the lockdown experience or to seek out (virtually) new and familiar places. In order to explore this further the Social Psychological Model of Tourism Motivation or SPTMTM (Iso-Ahola,1982) was applied to findings related to webcam use during lockdown, which indicate that users were both escaping environments they found stressful and/or demanding, while at the same time seeking out specific compensatory environments that collectively helped in coping with lockdown restrictions. Furthermore, the model brought attention to the often hidden interpersonal components that impact upon the push and pull factors associated with webcam-travel, introducing and augmenting concepts such as virtual flanerie and anthropomorphic parasocial relationships.


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