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Understanding temporal rhythms and travel behaviour at destinations: potential ways to achieve more sustainable travel

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Janet E. Dickinson
  • Viachaslau Filimonau
  • Tom Cherrett
  • Nigel Davies
  • Sarah Norgate
  • Chris Speed
  • Chris Winstanley
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number7
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)1070-1090
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/06/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper analyses the roles played by time in destination-based travel behaviour. It contrasts clock time's linear view of time with fragmented time, instantaneous time, fluid time and flow, time out and the multiple temporalities of tourism experiences. It explores temporal issues in a destination travel context, using qualitative techniques. Data were captured using diary photography, diary-interview method with tourists at a rural destination; their spatial and temporal patterns were captured using a purpose built smartphone app. The analysis revealed three temporal themes influencing travel behaviour: time fluidity; daily and place-related rhythms; and control of time. Three key messages emerge for future sustainable tourist destination-based travel systems. Given the strong desire for temporal fluidity, transport systems should evolve beyond clock-time regimes. Second, temporal forces favour personal modes of transport (car, walk, cycle), especially in rural areas where public transport cannot offer flexibility. Third, the car is personalised and perceived to optimise travel fluidity and speed, but is currently unsustainable. Imaginative initiatives, using new mobile media technology can offer new positive and proactive car travel, utilising spare public and private vehicle capacity. Research is needed to implement mechanisms for individualised space–time scheduling and collective vehicle use strategies.