Tourists at the seaside: Exploring the spiritual dimension

Jarratt, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7244-428X and Sharpley, Richard Anthony john orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2135-3206 (2017) Tourists at the seaside: Exploring the spiritual dimension. Tourist Studies, 17 (4). pp. 349-368. ISSN 1468-7976

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Contemporary tourism is considered by many to embrace a spiritual dimension. That is, in increasingly secular modern societies, many forms of tourism represent a sacred journey that has the potential to fulfil the contemporary tourist’s spiritual needs. However, relatively few attempts have been made to explore this phenomenon, in particular, in the context of one of the most popular tourism settings, namely the seaside. This article addresses this gap in the literature. Drawing on research in Morecambe, a traditional seaside resort in the north-west of England, it seeks to identify the extent to which the seaside environment, in general, and the sea in particular, endow the touristic experience of the resort with emotional or spiritual significance. A number of clear themes emerge from the research that point to a spiritual dimension of the seaside experience, including a sense of connection, awesomeness, timelessness and nothingness. Nevertheless, further research in other coastal settings is required to substantiate these findings.

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