This session is organized around the theme of nature experiences and digitalization and in particular from the visitor perspective. An important trend in tourism today is the empowered digital traveler. Information technology empower travelers and visitors by enabling them to control the process of co-creating and shaping parts of, or their entire experience. This trend have made visitors independent in making decisions and provide them with opportunities to share their experiences with others.
Furthermore, natural and cultural attractions play a critical role in the tourism system because they provide the on-site experiences and activities needed to satisfy visitor motives. Information technology can be used to attract visitors, manage visitors, provide information and interpretation, and to stage memorable visitor experiences in natural attractions.
However, research from studies in protected areas and in popular tourist destinations in the Swedish mountains suggest that although the Internet is important to visitors in the pre-visit phase it is less important in the on-site phase.
The main purpose of this session is to highlight research on visitors’ use of information technology in the on-site nature experience. The session will also emphasize methodological aspects of studies of nature experiences and information technology use from a visitor perspective.
The session organizers welcome, but not exclusive to, abstracts on: internet use in natural attractions, importance of social media for attracting visitors to natural attractions, effects of empowered visitors in natural attractions, impacts and challenges of digitalization in co-creating nature experiences, as well as studies focusing methodology such as visitor tracking, web analytics, ethnography, prototyping, experiments and comparative studies.
Sandra Wall-Reinius and Maria Lexhagen
Department of Tourism Studies and Geography, Etour
Mid University, Sweden
831 25 Östersund
Telephone +46 10 142 82 46