Tourism literature tends to focus on passive tourists, who constitute the majority of tourists today. However, there is a growing number of individuals who overlap their study, work, and business with tourism activities. These independent tourists have created a new segment in the tourism industry, where tourists develop and experience their own tourism activities. However, there is a lack of current research on these independent tourists, especially in terms of how they function in the experience management process and how this can be translated into various new types of offers.
This study investigates the functions, experiences, and behaviors of this type of tourists. Accordingly, this study makes use of purposive sampling, employing direct observation, in-depth interviews, and analysis of personal social media (e.g., blogs). The findings show that while some independent tourists function in a multitude of ways, from searching for ideas to composing, creating, and experiencing their own products, others are less active and tend to piggyback their efforts on those of more active tourists. The study finds that the motivational matrix is highly important for individuals who combine work and tourism. Working persons with a strong motivation for tourism relative to work maintain high levels of commitment, activity, and creativity in the tourism sphere, especially when they face problems with their work. Highly satisfied independent tourists initiate future actions by either revisiting the same destination or leading others to have similar experiences at the same location. Finally, the chapter discusses some methodological lessons learned from direct observation and in-depth interviews and studying social media.
New York: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. 275-296 p.