Keywords: Young tourist, Behaviour, Liminality
The tourist culture includes a temporal way of life (Haywood et.al, 1990, p. 92). There are multiple motivations for how the tourists behave (Ryan, 1997, p. 25). Personal characteristics like age and gender influence the behaviour. It has also been suggested that tourism and leisure behaviour are closely linked. (Carr, 2002)
Referring to the age the minimum age of a 'young' person is 15 years and the maximum can be as high as 38 years. (Carr, 1998) When determining a young person the age may be the most important factor. However according to World Tourism Organisation (1991 cited in Carr, 1998) the psychological and sociological characteristics of youth, status and economic capacity are also important factors. Theuns (1991 cited in Carr, 1998) suggests that a young tourist should not be determined only by the age but also by the behaviour and motivations.
Young people's holiday behaviour can be affected by youth tourist culture (Valentine et.al 1998 cited in Carr, 2002). However it is a simplification to propose that young people are only affected by this culture. According to Roberts (1983) every young person belongs to various sub-cultures related to age, gender, sexuality and other personal characteristics. The nature of the socio-cultural norms and values that affect holiday behaviour are individual.
"The term 'liminal' is derived from the concept of passing over a threshold or limen (Latin)" (Graburn, 1983 cited in Currie, 1997, p.887). The limen separates the home environment from tourism environment. Some individuals do not feel free to misbehave outside of their societal boundaries. They do not reach the liminoidal state in the tourism environment. Those who reach the state may neglect the rules of the society. This is a way of isolating themselves temporarily from the home environment. (Currie, 1997) Seeing irresponsible behaviour as acceptable on holiday environment has been noted by many researchers (Josiam et.al, 1998). On holiday the relations to the environment are more physical and sensual than in home environment (Selänniemi, 2003, p. 23). Lyng (1990 cited in Pizam et.al, 2004) claims that there are two opposite personality types: the ones who look for the risky environments and the ones who avoid them. Yates (1992 cited in Pizam et.al, 2004) suggests that the ones who are considered as risk takers are the ones who are also linked to dangerous activities such as drug and unreasonable alcohol usage, smoking, sexual behaviour and adventurous recreational activities. Ewert (1994 cited in Pizam et.al, 2004) claims that it is the personality instinct that motivates a person to look for risks in recreational environments.
Some travel spaces such as hotels can be said to be liminal: tourists may adulterate social norms and look for adventures. These liminal spaces represent freedom for some people and anxiety for others. (Pritchard & Morgan, 2006) If the difference between the physical environments of the home and holiday destination is recognised by the individual then the behaviour in these environments may differ. However if there appeals similarities then also the behaviour may remain similar. (Carr, 2002)
Holiday destinations aimed at young tourists can associate images of nights out including increased alcohol consumption and encounters of new sexual partners (Bellis et.al, 2000). The tourism industry has to take responsibility for what kind of images do they create for young tourists. In many cases the promotional materials encourage in irresponsible behaviour. There exist studies on youth tourism which suggest that holidays can feature acting temporally in an incontinent way. (Josiam et.al, 1998)
In the early adulthood the interest for exploring new is meaningful. During the 20s young people usually go through the separation process from the family and the individual lifestyle brings along freedom. (Levinson 1996 cited in Gibson & Yiannakis, 2002) In the late 20s and early 30s there appears a sense that life is turning more serious. The behaviour turns away from the roles associated with action and excitement. (Kelly 1982 cited in Gibson & Yiannakis, 2002) Based on these suggestions I would claim that the behaviour within the age group determined as 'young' can vary significantly. There is no doubt that people at their 18s and at their 30s behave differently.
Although the youth tourist culture may affect on young tourist's behaviour there are other factors that influence behaviour such as individual characteristics. Not all the tourists reach the state when they feel like they are free to behave differently in different environments. However if the place is considered as a liminal space it may be easier to behave more irresponsibly. In destinations which are aimed at young tourists it is more likely that a young person would behave in a same manner as his/her peers. All in all everyone makes the decision whether they want to change their behaviour or not and do they let others' way of behaving affect on their own.
Carr, N. (1998) The young tourist: A case of neglected research, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research 4, pp. 307-318
Carr, N. (2002) Going with the flow: an assessment of the relationship between young people's leisure and holiday behaviour, Tourism Geographies 4 (2), pp. 115-134
Pizam, A. et.al (2004) The Relationship between Risk-Taking, Sensation-Seeking, and the Tourist Behavior of Young Adults: A Cross-Cultural Study, Journal of Travel Research 42 (3), pp. 251-260