Accepted paper:

The Sharers Care More

Authors:

Aivar Ruukel (Estonian University of Life Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

Taking photos is one of the main activities on a holiday, influencing the way a holiday is done. Travel photos are meant to be shared, in the digital age sharing photos has changed drastically with social media. Social media photo sharers may be more sustainable tourists than non-sharers.

Paper long abstract:

Photography and modern tourism emerged at around the same time (Urry, 1990), with both now recognized as being part of the everyday life of ordinary people (Garlick, 2002). The social action of taking photos is one of the main activities on a holiday, influencing the way a holiday is done. Travel photos are meant to be shared and to be seen. Traditionally photo sharing was a private endeavor (Walker, 1989), in the digital age sharing photos has changed drastically with social media. Recent study reveals that some 89% of holidaymakers take photographs and that 41% of them posted their photographs online (Lo, 2011). Tourism industry is undergoing a change with respect to its relationship with the environment. Majority of tourists is ambivalent or not interested in environmental issues (Fairweather, 2005). Limited understanding of the dynamics between different determinants of tourists responsible behavior is a challenge that hinders sustainable progress. Social media photo sharers may be more sustainable tourists than non-sharers (Boley, 2013). Boley discovered that those who posted travel pictures to social media are more interested in buying local souvenirs and support local economies than those who did not posted. Users of online media are more interested in engaging the destination at a deeper level, discover and improve one's knowledge (Lo, 2011). Current study explores the relationship between responsible behavior of tourists and their social media usage, specifically online photo-sharing. Data is collected by online survey of visitors to EDEN Destinations, a network promoting sustainable tourism development models across Europe.

panel P12
Tourism and Photography