Prof Stephenson’s presentation on “Deconstructing the Characteristics, Challenges and Complexities of Special Interest Tourism: A Sociological Appraisal”


Prof Stephenson highlighted that there are a range of influencing dimensions leading to the advancement of special interest tourism in the past 30 years. The work was framed within a sociological context, with special attention to influencing factors such as: hyper-consumerism; market differentiation; consumer citizenship and economies of scope.

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This presentation also included the various unique attributes of special interest tourism, with case study suggestions from the South Pacific. Prof Stephenson explored a range of unique and contemporary forms of special interest tourism, for instance: urbexing in city locations world-wide; train enthusiasts in Japan; international research tourism and travel; and tree climbing in France. He indicated that issues pertaining to culture, religion, gender and ethnicity are crucial to investigate in fully comprehending the production and consumption of special interest tourism, particularly to provide a more heterogeneous perspective.