Self-identity and Social Norms in Destination Choice by Young Australian Travellers



Publication Details

Lewis, C., Kerr, G. & Pomering, A. (2011). Self-identity and Social Norms in Destination Choice by Young Australian Travellers. Tourist Studies: an international journal, 10 (3), 265-283.


Demand for domestic tourism in Australia is in decline, particularly for young Australian travellers (YATs) who prefer to travel overseas. Although models exist to explain destination choice, many of these have limitations, including the assumption of a rational consumer and a focus on the functional attributes of travel and tourism. Further, there has been a tendency to replicate studies, albeit in different contexts, rather than search for new insights into destination choice. With the aim of better explaining the decision of destination choice by YATs, focus groups comprising representatives from the population of interest were conducted. The approach was to examine tourism from a sociological perspective, drawing on theories of ritual, ritual inversion and fashion. The results reveal the importance of self-identity and social norms in destination selection. It is concluded that destinations that contribute to enhancing one's self-identity, particularly when they are consistent with one's existing or aspirational social group, are more likely to be visited by YATs.

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