Deconstructing tourist typologies: The case of backpacking

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5 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide researchers with an analytical tool for deconstructing well-established tourist typologies in which motivations and meanings are coupled together with practices of travel arrangements. Design/methodology/approach – In line with the distinction between types and forms of tourism, the analysis examines the motivations and meanings (type-related attributes) of tourists who comply with conventional travel arrangements and practices (form-related attributes) of backpacking. The backpackers' motivations and meanings are analyzed in light of a revised version of Cohen's phenomenological typology of tourist experiences. Findings – The analysis suggests that contemporary backpacking is a form of tourism that can be further segmented into sub-types by the variety of meanings backpackers assign to their experiences. Research limitations/implications – The distinction between type and form can be used for deconstruction of tourist categories other than backpackers. However, this distinction cannot be expected to completely cover the complexity and variety of tourists' behaviours and attitudes. Originality/value – The study presents evidence to suggest that the implicit inclination that tourists who travel in the same manner also share the same motivations and meanings is open to doubt. Accordingly, the paper stresses the need for cautious and sensitive tourist typologies that capture the existing variety in tourism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-312
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Oct 2009


  • Leisure activities
  • Tourism
  • Travel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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