Developing a conceptual framework for slow travel: a grounded theory approach

Lumsdon, Les and Mcgrath, Peter (2011) Developing a conceptual framework for slow travel: a grounded theory approach. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19 (3). pp. 265-279. ISSN 0966-9582

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This paper discusses the sociocultural phenomenon of slow travel and explores and clarifies definitional issues. The 30-year-plus antecedents of slow travel are examined. A literature review shows a concentration on four key features: slowness and the value of time; locality and activities at the destination; mode of transport and travel experience;and environmental consciousness. Links to the slow food and slow city movements are discussed, and evidence that slow travel is an important emergent form of tourism in Europe, accounting for 10% of the holiday market, is provided. A grounded theory approach continues the exploration, involving 23 in-depth interviews with practitioners and academics, which revealed that their core requirements for slow travel centred on slowness, the travel experience and environmental consciousness. There was a lack of consensus about the eligibility of car travel and high-speed rail. Slow travel is seen as a group of associated ideas rather than as a watertight definition; it is a mindset about travel rather than a tangible product and concentrates on lack of speed rather than slowness per se. The conclusion shows it to be a growing part of the sustainable tourism paradigm and proposes a working definition of slow travel.

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