Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Public understanding of sustainable leisure and tourism - EV02047

The aim of this project is to develop the evidence base for understanding the public and consumer views of making leisure and tourism more sustainable. Public understanding of the concept of sustainability is likely to be limited on the whole, although increasing, but with some sections of society exhibiting great understanding. This project will adopt an inclusive approach in order to give voice to those ‘hard to reach’ groups who are often excluded from social research, but for whom improving sustainability in leisure and tourism will be as important as for those more typically engaged with the debate.

The key questions the research aims to address are;
• What do consumers and non consumers understand more and less sustainable forms of leisure and tourism to be?
• What leisure and tourism aspirations do consumers and non-consumers have for the future?
• How does this understanding and these aspirations vary according to factors such as demographics, travel frequency, travel history, life stage and environmental activity?
• Who is held to be responsible for taking action to address the problems associated with leisure and tourism on a mass scale?
• What triggers and barriers are there to adopting a more sustainable future?
• What behaviour change might consumers and non consumers be willing to undertake and under what circumstances?

The key facets of the research will be;
• To maximise the value for policy design, the design of a topic guide will be sent for stakeholder consultation from contacts within the tourism industry. The topic guide will be prepared by experts in tourism and social science research.
• Discussion will be stimulated by the use of material employed within the University of Surrey for the teaching of issues of sustainability in tourism and leisure. Much of this material is bespoke and designed by those who will be involved in the focus groups.
• A sample design will be prepared that aims for maximum inclusion of hard to reach sections of society. This will be achieved by conducting focus groups in various locations around the UK and in urban and rural centres. We propose to convene one group of 16-21 year olds, in order to understand those consumers at the early stages of making independent leisure and tourism decisions.
• Focus groups will be moderated by two researchers in order to optimise the balance of skills within the team and to manage the risk of technical or human failure.
• The report and presentation will be prepared by subject experts with great experience of writing in an easily understood and accessible manner.
• Dissemination will be aided by the extensive networks available to the members of the team. An industry roundtable will be hosted after discussion of the findings with DEFRA, but prior to submission of the final report. In this way, key industry representatives will be made aware of the findings and the final report can include their responses to the research findings.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Public understanding of sustainable leisure and tourism   (287k)
• Final Report - Annex : Public understanding of sustainable leisure and tourism   (8963k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2007

Cost: £69,812
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Surrey
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Development              
Sustainable Procurement              
Fields of Study
Sustainable Consumption and Production