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AbstractThis thesis focuses on an under-researched area of tourism - individualised travel - by examining non-institutionalised solitary travellers. The purpose of the study is to discover precisely why non-institutionalised solitary travellers travel alone. In order to understand the travel behaviour and motivation of solitary travellers, they are contrasted with group tourists. To be able to tackle this research problem, Grounded Theory is chosen as the most appropriate approach, for the following reasons. First, Grounded Theory is a methodology which makes its greatest contribution in areas about which little is known. Second, its aim is to generate rather than to test theory. Based on the computer-assisted content analysis and interpretation of relatively neglected qualitative data obtained from interviews and diaries, sixteen socio-psychological justifications for solo travel are empirically identified. From these responses, a taxonomy of non-institutionalised solitary travellers is inductively constructed. It consists of two basic types. First, there are those who travel alone because they simply have no available travel companion, referred to as "solitary travellers by default". Second, there are those individuals who deliberately travel on their own, and who are regarded as "solitary travellers by choice". The elaboration of such a distinction is the primary contribution made by this research to tourism knowledge. A secondary contribution is realised by confronting the data on solitary travellers and group tourists with the extant literature on tourist typologies - an exercise that raises a number of issues about the mythical status of the former. As a result, an alternative taxonomy is generated that consists of two distinct types of tourists - individualistic and collectivistic. The individualistic tourist is someone for whom internal personal values. (e.g., sense of accomplishment) are the most important principles in life, who has motives stemming from ego-enhancement (e.g., personal development), and for whom travel means the investment of personal cultural capital. The collectivistic tourist, on the other hand, is someone who assigns greater priority to external personal values (e.g., sense of belonging), whose motives originate in the anomic conditions of society, and for whom travel is little more than a short break from routine.
CitationMehmetoglu, M. (2003) 'The solitary traveller: why do people travel on their own?'. PhD thesis. University of Luton.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Luton.
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