Mountaineering adventure tourists: a conceptual framework for research

POMFRET, G. (2006). Mountaineering adventure tourists: a conceptual framework for research. Tourism management, 27 (1), 113-123.

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Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.tourman.2004.08.003

Abstract

Mountaineering has emerged as a popular form of adventure tourism, yet there is scant research that develops an understanding of its participants. This paper contributes to a theoretical understanding of mountaineer adventure tourists by evaluating previous work on mountaineering, mountaineers, adventure, recreation and tourism. It uses this to develop a conceptual framework to examine mountaineer adventure tourists, the key influences on their participation in mountaineering and their actual experiences during involvement. In this framework a number of influences encourage participation. Push elements (Ann. Tourism Res. 4(4) (1977) 184), including risk (J. Leisure Res. 17(3) (1985) 241; Leisure Today 49(4) (1978) 7; J. Phys. Educ. Recreation 19(4) (1978) 27) and mastery (KYKLOS 52(3) (1999) 315), are influential. Pull elements (Ann. Tourism Res. 4(4) (1977) 184), including the natural mountain environment and mountain conditions are also significant. Other influences are personality attributes such as sensation seeking (Sensational Seeking: Beyond the Optimal Level of Arousal, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 1979) and lifestyle factors, including previous mountaineering experience (J. Leisure Res. 17(3) (1985) 241). These components combine to influence people's perception of adventure. During participation, mountaineer adventure tourists experience contrasting emotions, a core element of adventure (Adventure Tourism: The New Frontier, Butterworth-Heinemann, London, 2003). They can also experience flow (The Psychology of Happiness, Rider, 1992) and peak experience (The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, Penguin, Baltimore, MD, 1976). How tourists experience mountaineering, and the emotional states encountered throughout this activity, result from the combined influences that originally encouraged them to participate. The framework differs from previous studies on mountaineering (e.g. Int. J. Sports Psychol. 27 (1996) 308; J. Leisure Res. 17(3) (1985) 241; Pers. Indiv. Differ. 25(6) (1998) 1063; KYKLOS 52(3) (1999) 315) in that it recognises the inter-relatedness of the influences on mountaineering participation, acknowledges the convergence of tourism and recreation in an adventure setting, and emphasises the importance of investigating mountaineers during their actual participation. Discussion of the framework's value to mountaineering tourism providers is presented, and suggestions are made for further study in this under-researched field.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Tourism, Hospitality and Events Research
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.tourman.2004.08.003
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 14 May 2008
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2010 16:54
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/842

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