Mythbusting: Generation Y and travel

Moscardo, Gianna and Benckendorff, Pierre (2010). Mythbusting: Generation Y and travel. In Pierre Benckendorff, Gianna Moscardo and Donna Pendergast (Ed.), Tourism and Generation Y (pp. 16-26) Oxfordshire, U.K.: CAB International.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Moscardo, Gianna
Benckendorff, Pierre
Title of chapter Mythbusting: Generation Y and travel
Title of book Tourism and Generation Y
Place of Publication Oxfordshire, U.K.
Publisher CAB International
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
ISBN 9781845936013
Editor Pierre Benckendorff
Gianna Moscardo
Donna Pendergast
Chapter number 2
Start page 16
End page 26
Total pages 11
Total chapters 14
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Tourism is a complex, dynamic phenomenon with a relatively brief history of academic research attention, mostly in the social sciences. Like other areas of human activity, tourist behaviour exists in a constantly changing context and tourists have great capacity for social and personal adaptation and innovation within these contexts. In addition, given that the bulk of research into tourism has occurred since the late 1970s, there is little in the way of longitudinal research in this area, and as a result it is easy for tourism researchers to fall into the trap of premature cognitive commitment (Langer, 1997). Langer (1997) describes premature cognitive commitment as the inability to abandon existing assumptions about, or perspectives on, phenomena. Alternatively, it can be seen as a situation where individuals assume that an existing situation is set and this limits their ability to critically analyse underlying structures or situation-specific outcomes. These forces make the prediction of tourist behaviour difficult.

The key challenge for social scientists studying tourism is to look beyond the present manifestations of tourism and to use social science theories or conceptual approaches that can explain the underlying mechanisms of change rather than the specifics of the outcomes. One area that has received very little attention in tourism is that of change in tourist behaviour over time (Moscardo, 2004). Where it has been studied, the focus has been on changes in the supply of tourism rather than on the characteristics of tourists or the populations that tourists come from (Moscardo, 2004). One concept related to changes in consumption behaviour that has gained much attention in the broader social science literature is that of generational cohorts. The concept of generational differences in values and behaviours has potential power to explain and predict changes in tourist behaviour over time.

This chapter will introduce the idea of generational cohorts and discuss the challenges researchers face in using this concept before analysing in more detail the most recent generation to enter the world of travel – Generation Y (Gen Y). The chapter will critically examine the available evidence on Gen Y, its characteristics and what is actually known about its tourist behaviour.
© CAB International 2010. All rights reserved.
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Created: Mon, 20 Dec 2010, 14:54:47 EST by Dr Pierre Benckendorff on behalf of School of Tourism