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The tourist route system – models of travelling patterns

Le système de l’itinéraire touristique – modèles de schémas de voyage
Thor Flognfeldt jr.
p. 35-58


L’analyse du tourisme se place avant tout au niveau d’un site ou d’une région, mais le voyage représente un déplacement entre ces lieux – du domicile jusqu’à destination et retour (Leiper, 1979). Tenter de voir le tourisme comme un mouvement et une fonction dynamique représente un défi. Dans cet article, nous essayons de modéliser un “système d’itinéraire touristique” et de démontrer ce que l’utilisation de différents modèles de schémas de voyage signifie pour la recherche en matière d’itinéraires touristiques. Notre objectif est de montrer quelles dimensions seront manquantes si les études ne se focalisent que sur les marchés, les sites ou les destinations.

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The tourist route system – models of traveling patterns

“Travel to and from the destination site and experiences associated with these phases have been ignored. A better understanding of travel behaviour could assist in the marketing of secondary trips, staging areas, and minor attractions located in the vicinity of larger, more popular destinations. Such relationship requires the cooperation of the psychologist and the tourist professional. Travellers, not laboratory subjects, must be studied in transit, at hotels, in their homes, and on site. The tourist professional can make this integrative work possible by being sensitive to the importance and implications of this type of research.” (Fridgen, 1984, p. 33).

1Even though Fridgen is a social psychologist and this author is a geographer, our shared interest is in studying what happens during travel to and from a destination as an attempt of trying to understand the whole trip behaviour. Without such an understanding of the complete trip my view is that much of the on destination studies will be lacking important information. Since most tourists “like travelling”, their en route behaviour must be regarded as an integrated part of their complete travel experiences.

2This paper is about “routes”, “sites” and “tourists”. Numerous volumes have defined “the tourist”, and those will not be repeated here. The focus of this presentation will, instead, mainly be on the routes used by the tourists and sometimes also about the sites along these routes. Of course, definitions of tourist and traveller types and segments will be used in connection with models and analysis.

3Routes were important parts of the tourist products even long before tourism was defined. Some of the ancient routes are very well known, and among those is the name of the country this author comes from – Norge – or Norway – meaning the route north­wards. That route was, of course, the waterway along the long coastline northwards. Transport by boats was the only way of moving rapidly in a mountainous country, before building the railways.

4The early travel routes were either parts of a trading system or connected to religious prac­tices. Most of the route names are created later on, to explain the subject of a route or the direction. The Silk Route through Asia is one example, the pilgrimage routes from Central Europe to Nidaros (present day Trondheim) in Norway might be another. The first real system of tourism routes might have been the Grand Tour, a complex network of routes more or less all leading to Rome (Towner, 1996).

5The tour operated routes are just one and a half century old. The first organized tours were Ths. Cook’s from 1841. In Norway Ths. Bennett started his similar practice not long afterwards.

6The invention of cars and later on motor coaches meant new possibilities of travel. Roads, however, were mainly built for other than tourism and recreation purposes. The system of Scenic Byways in the US started as early as 1913 (Lew, 1991). Since then the system is developed to be present in most US states. In addition to signs and maps, there are specialized handbooks available for some of those routes. Green routes were first just an indication on maps (i.e., maps provided by Michelin or Hallwag). The summer of 1998 marked the first official use of such sign-posted routes in Norway – named National Tourist Roads.

7The explosion of travel guidebooks and travel programmes on TV, in some countries also separate travel channels, have also contributed to the rapid emerging systems of themed routes. Both media are in the need of “telling a story” – and a travel along a touristic route fills well into such needs.

8Another route system is those used by the world around travellers. According to Pryer (1997) is there a group of “mature adventurists” who have been travelling around the world for years either because they have financial means for this or they are “working their way around”. This group does not need travel handbooks and so on, but might later on be handbook authors. They are in a way setting up routes for others to use.

9Governing was also an important reason for travel in Norway as elsewhere in Europe, and a system of inns (in Norwegian “skysstasjoner”) were located along the routes, mainly to cater for the travel of the King’s men. Providing accommodation or meals and changing horses were the duties of innkeepers, who in addition could sell their beds to other prosperous travellers.

10Such inns are well known and their location documented, as are the routes these travellers used. At the same time there existed another accommodation system less known – “travellers rest houses” (in Norwergian “ferdmannskviler”). This was a system giving permits to some small farms or houses along the roads to accommodate travellers needing a shelter and a meal. Such shelters could be a single room with one large bed or some beds. Travelling salesmen, transpor­ters, farmers bringing their goods to far away markets and migrants mingled together is such shelters. Those who grew up in such house were often well educated in national and international events, since the travellers had very much to tell (Forfang, 1978-85). Today, both inns and rest houses still might be part of the en route accommodation system, even though their names have changed and the houses are rebuilt or improved.

11During the last two decades specially designed touristic routes have come more into focus all over the world – especially themed routes like Wine Tours, Bier Route (Bavaria, Germany), Malt Whisky Trail (Scotland), Belgian Textile Route, Franco-Swiss Clock Route, Glass Trail (Sweden) and Romantische Strasse (Germany). But also more general Scenic or Green Routes has been pro­moted, often to get tourists to drive outside the main highways. Even old Pilgrimage tracks have been reopened and designed for both tourists and “new” pilgrims (Maier, Ludwig & Oergel, 1994; Dewailly, 1998; Delbaere, 1994)

12Tourism and travel as research themes are not based on a single theory, but a series of models of which some contains basic definitions that most researchers agree on. One of these common agreements is that being a tourist means leaving home, then travelling on a route, and at last returning home. Leiper (1979, 1989) has described this process in a basic model (figures 2 and 3).

13Sites are also important parts of the trips. They must, however, be viewed and sorted accor­ding to their roles within the complete trip, not always as the site of the trip. Our findings show that every site on a specified route might also have something that makes a stop at this site special for at least one segment of travellers. Most tourism studies and textbooks, however, still “seem to pretend” that tourism is happening at a single site or in a single attraction. Of course, every author is well aware that every trip is a dynamic journey containing at least both a stay and two moves. Still this “stay-and-movement part of the travel” is seldom focused in the wider sense. Even books about tourism and sustainability often concentrate their examples on destinations or sites, not telling anything about how the tourists has travelled to these destination or how they are travelling back home.

14The aim of this paper is to combine research of tourists’ behaviour at sites or within destina­tion areas with research based characteristics from the movement along the route itself. By doing so this author hopes that the readers could become more aware of the impor­tance that routing behaviour has on other types of tourism behaviour – both at desti­nations and sites. The first discussion is based on some general models of regional systems, transportation and tourism systems. Later more specific models explaining tourism development and tourists’ behaviour will be introduced.

15This paper has at least four analytic dimensions:

  • The history of routes in the tourism products.

  • The diversification of routes into modes of travelling or thematic travel.

  • The behaviour of travelling segments on the routes or at destinations based on the routes chosen for the trip.

  • Strategies for future analysis of travellers and destination based on these findings will also be focused.

16Before starting these analyses, a presentation of some models and theories based on the route dimension of tourism is needed, starting with the simple ones and then proceed to some more complicated. In the more descriptive analyses later in this paper, a return to these models is needed, sometimes supplied by new and more thematic models.

From “movement” to “surfaces” – from tracks to routes to destination areas

17To start describing what focusing on routes have meant to the development of tourism, going back to general geographical location models is important. During the sixties and seventies, Haggett (1965) completed a series of textbooks on “Models in Geography”. His aim was to build a science of geography as opposed to the more descriptive stages of the subject. His illustration of stages in the analysis of a regional system, figure 1, could also be used to show the development of routes and regions in tourism. It is important to stress that even before tourism was regarded as a field of studies, transport and movements was examined by geographers like Haggett, some of those did also choose tourism as a subject for studies (in Scandinavia by Nordstrom & Mårtenson, 1965; Sømme, 1965 & 1970; elsewhere by Christaller, 1966).

Figure 1. Stages in the analysis of a regional system. Based on Haggett, 1965.

Figure 1. Stages in the analysis of a regional system. Based on Haggett, 1965.

A Movements B Networks C Nodes D Hierarchies E Surfaces

18How could the general location model of figure 1 also be seen as a tool for tourism development analysis? The figure must then be regarded as describing stages in a process similar to the one in the Miossec (1976) model. Those stages are described as:

  • Movements will be the first attempts of leaving the house, but mostly to return the same day or to the same site. The movements are not on a registered track or a sea route, but just described as a registration of where one has moved. Movements could also be described as discoveries, in the way Miossec (1976) shows.

  • As soon as a route (or a track) has been used for more than a single organized trip, there will be a registration of a network. Such a registration will normally contain all the three basic elements of the Leiper model (figures 2 and 3). A network, however, will at this stage basically be viewed as the route in the Leiper model.

  • When adding the destination region and the home to the Leiper models, stage C in figure 1 shows a system of nodes with equal strength. Still the tourist development is only based on “home -> route -> destination and return”, where each part of the trips is as important as the other.

  • When some parts of a route either are visited longer than the others or has more visitors, a system of hierarchies is developed. Most route systems will be based on hierarchies, either as primary attractions (Leiper, 1990) to visit or as main destinations. But hierarchies might also be viewed as markets.

  • The use of surfaces might be viewed as time zones from the homes or as price zones away from a tourism centre. Surfaces in this figure might also be viewed as zones of different markets: the inner zone as the reach of afternoon activities like evening skiing or cultural recreation; the next zone as a limit of week end travel and the outer as a holiday zone.

19The stages of resort development in the Miossec model are:

  • Discovery of the area

  • Pioneer resort development starts

  • Multiplication of resorts within a destination area

  • Organization of the holiday space

  • Hierarchical specialization or saturation

20All the development stages of Miossec are also examined for: access or transport, tourism behaviour and attitudes. The later both viewed from the decision makers’ and local population’s points.

21Though tourism has developed distinctive stages through stages, even Before Christ, tourism routes were well developed within both the Egyptian, Helenistic and Roman empires. Each stage of development could be found a couple of thousand years ago, and could be found when describing what has happened the last fifty years.

22Butler’s (1980) resort cycle model could also fit in here. But since this is only telling about a destination and not representing a travel-pattern model a further presentation must come later. Pryer (1997) has viewed the international en route tourists, especially those leaving the usual “highways” for new discoveries. He has set up some stages, mostly by focusing on the two initial ones:

  • Discovery

  • Following the footsteps of early pioneers

23After this stage reporters take over by publishing travel handbooks and survival kits (Lonely Planet) and semi-organized tourism takes over from early travellers. Pryer (1997) is also segmenting the travellers into budget travellers and credit card travellers.

24In accordance with the node development in Haggett’s model, Pryer (1997) is quoting Vogt (1976) who identified an important aspect of the traveller culture as being the need of “gathering places” along the touring routes, mostly for the purpose of relaxation and socializing. These gathering places have later developed as travel centres. Such developments are taking different direction both due to segments of travellers visiting the site and due to the local adjustment to these travellers’ needs. Four centres are identified by Pryer:

  • Gateway reception centres

  • Attraction reception centres

  • “Freak centres”

  • Traveller sanctuaries

25Many other centre types might be added, when describing travelling patterns of different segments.

Tourism and travelling on routes as a dynamic Geographical System

26For a long time many attempts have been made of describing tourism as a system. Viewing travelling along routes is a dynamic approach to such descriptions. As a geographer I would like to start with “movement”, starting from a place often called “home” and by some “market”, or more correctly by Leiper (1979) called a “tourist generating region”, and then showing the routes and destinations from the travellers point of view.

27Leiper (1979, 1989) himself and many others have tried to reproduce the original model (figure 2) into new ones (figures 3 and 4). Others have tried to widen the content of the travel experience (figures 5 and 6).

Figure 2. The geographical elements of tourism – A.

Figure 2. The geographical elements of tourism – A.

Figure 3. The geographical elements of a tourist system – B.

Figure 3. The geographical elements of a tourist system – B.

Figure 4. The tourism system of Mill & Morrison 1985.

Figure 4. The tourism system of Mill & Morrison 1985.

Figure 5. The Tourism Environment System.

Figure 5. The Tourism Environment System.

Figure 6. Destination area’s perspective of a vacation experience.

Figure 6. Destination area’s perspective of a vacation experience.

Source: Murphy, 1985

28In his original article from 1979 Leiper points out that he has taken his elements partly from Gunn’s (1972) “tourism environment”. His description of each element is important since many authors later on are “quoting” this article. A long passage is therefore quoted here:

“A basic model of the geographic element is shown in Figure 2. The following discussion of roles and consequences of each geographical element in the system shows that the model can be developed beyond a representation of tourist flow patterns. It can serve as an analytical tool for describing the resources involved in the tourism process, in particular the industrialized resources. Moreover it facilitates delineation of areas of touristic impact.

Tourist generation regions can be defined as the permanent residential bases of tourists, the place where tours begin and end, and in particular those features of the region which incidentally cause or stimulate temporary outflow. This definition includes the basic geographical setting, together with the necessary behavioural factors pertaining to motivation. The existence and significance of ”push“ factors in tourist generation regions has been recognized in causal studies.

The generation region is the location of the basic market of the tourist industry, the source of potential tourism demand. Accordingly the major marketing functions of the tourist industry are conducted there: promotion, advertising, wholesaling, and retailing, underlying the marketing function is the question of why certain regions exhibit a tourist exodus, an issue with commercial and sociological relevance. There is correspondingly the matter of impact. What are the economic, social, and cultural effects in a community when a significant number of its members depart for tours into other regions?

Tourist destination regions can be defined as locations which attract tourists to stay temporarily, and in particular those features which inherently contribute to that attraction. In this context the attraction can be regarded as the anticipation by tourist of some qualitative charac­teristic, lacking in the tourist generation region, which the tourist wishes to experience personally. In a broader context, a definition of a tourist attraction would recognize that not all attractions draw tourists to a region: some are discovered en route.

Most tourism studies have been directed at the destination region. It is where the most significant and dramatic aspects occur. It is also the location of many parts of the tourist business: accommodation establishments, services, entertainment and recreational facilities.

Transit routes are paths linking tourist generating regions with tourist destination regions, along with tourists travel. They include stopover points which might be used for convenience or because of the existence of attractions. Transit routes are a vital element in the system. Their efficiency and characteristics influence the quality of access to particular destinations and accordingly they influence the size and direction of tourist flows. They are also a special case of tourism impacts, i.e., when changes arising from faster or longer haul transport cause stopover points to be bypassed. Transit routes are the location of the main transport component of the tourist industry.” (Leiper, 1979, pp. 396-397).

29Even though Leiper is showing that transit routes might include attraction stopovers too little efforts is made in showing the importance of the route itself. During the last two decades the development of thematic routes like “die Romatische Strasse”, the Malt Whisky Trail, Scenic Routes, has been as an important element in travel as resort development. In the US this development started very early, the first Scenic Road came in 1913 (Lew, 1991). When adding boating, sailing, biking and trekking to the use of cars and coaches to move around, en route travel is not merely “transit”.

30In Norway, however, such official designated “tourist route road” status were not obtained by any road until the summer of 1998 when four National Tourist Roads were selected. They are the Hardanger Fjord road, the Sognefjell Mountain Road, the Old Strynefjell road and the Coastal Road in Nordland county. All of these are situated close to our field study areas, and will be commented later as an information system.

31Of course some roads have had an “unofficial name” presented in brochures, and sometimes even at road signs. Most of these were roads crossing the border between Norway and Sweden (the Blue Road, the Copper trail, etc.), but even some roads like the Atlantic road, the Golden route and the North Sea Road).

32Leiper himself and others have later redrawn or extended the figure. In figure 3 the transit region or “the route environment” is more clearly defined, and the routes are indicated by direction lines. In this way the three main geogra­phical elements are still shown:

  • Tourist generation region or home, sometimes described as “market”

  • Transit region or routes, sometimes described as “the travelling environment”

  • Tourist destination region or sometimes described as destination and resort attractions.

33This view has later been extended by many other authors, still the key elements will always be found! The next step might be to include further destination development first based on marketing or the transfer of information, later by including destination behaviour, and at the end – the aim of this paper – an extension to en route behaviour.

34Some tourism development models are shown under the name of “the tourism system”. The first textbook using that name was by Mill & Morrison (1985). That book is mostly regarded as a marketing book, showing two “highways of communications”:

  • The awareness or marketing highway – where a destination tries to sell its image or products to a market

  • The transport highway ­ – where tourist actually are on the route, trying to reach the destination.

35The content of the Mill & Morrison systems model (figure 4) does not differ much from the Leiper models, but add “marketing” as a specified tool of convincing people to travel to a certain destination. As a system of a spider web, an analysis could start at any box in the model.

36Mill & Morrison (1985, p. xviii) gave each part a subscript:

  • Market – A consumer behaviour approach to market demand emphasizing both the external and internal influences on travel including the alternatives to travel, the market inputs of tourism suppliers, and the process by which a buying decision is reached.

  • Marketing – An examination of the process by which the destination area and individual suppliers market their products and services to potential customers with an emphasis on the effective use of distribution channels

  • Destination – An identification of the procedures that the destination area should follow to research, plan, regulate, develop, and service tourism activity

  • Travel – A description and analysis of major travel segments, travel flows, and modes of transportation used.

37In the previous presented models, destinations have not been described and either the products or the stakeholders in destination development processes have been shown.

38Models for analyzing travel patterns in connection to destination or resort development are many. Travis (1989) has integrated Leiper’s basic travel model with another site model looking at the destination experience – including the roles of producers. Another way of explaining this is to say that Travis also has included Mill & Morrison’s system in a destination development model. Communication of different types of information and marketing efforts are also included. The way this model is presented in figure 5 is slightly revised by this author after a personal discus­sion with Travis.

39The upper circle in Travis’ model is similar to that of Mill & Morrison. But Travis extends the destination block into producing another circle, where “attractions” are regarded as the core of the destination, just because they seem to be the reasons for visiting a “desti­nation”. The two other elements of the lower circle are “services and facilities” and “people and place”. If we try to show the role of different producers or stakeholders in the Travis model, they might be:

  • People – represented by the tourist population themselves. Often a trip is entirely produced by the travellers, but other producers might be “tour operators”

  • Transporters – including both the travellers themselves (by own car or recreational vehicles) or different means of transport

  • Marketing and information persons – and later this part should be viewed in-depth

  • Destination developers – both including planers, governmental officials and investors

  • Attraction managers – representing both commercial and non-commercial bodies. Regarding business travel, meeting places and conference venues are the “attractions”.

  • Service and facility providers – including a group of producers formerly regarded as “the tourist trade”, the accommodation and catering sector. Shopping is also put in this block

40and at last:

  • The regional human, culture and nature environment. Of course, in many cases the nature environment is also the main attraction for the travellers, especially those visiting rented or own cottages.

41This means that the Travis’s model also functions well for describing who might be the stake­holders in a tourism development strategy. In Flognfeldt’s extension of the Travis model (figure 5) the transport part is divided into “en route-transport” and “transport within the destination area”. The latter is important, but was not directly communicated through Travis’s original model.

42If summing up, the development of Leiper-based models has moved from movements to transit route to transport, and the inclusion of “the highway of information” or “marketing message” is supposed to move in the opposite direction. My way of research will then be to examine if actual tourists on the route adjust their behaviour to fit these models or vice versa.

The extended routes – the trip as a complete event

43The Leiper model could also be extended to a route system in another way, by viewing the “extended route” as a way of mapping trip behaviour. This is a tradition from the mid-sixties, from before the presentation by Leiper (1979). In a study mainly focusing on how to estimate the value of outdoor recreation, Clawson & Knetsch (1965) described five stages of a trip. Their stages have been of great impor­tance, and been used by several authors in different ways. The comments below of each stage are made by this author, and describe how field work data of Lillehammer students has been used in different analyses.

  • Anticipation – including personal travel planning and advice from friends and relatives

  • Travel to site – most of the actual trip, plus things that happens during this trip

  • On-site experience – there might, of course, be more than one site to visit during a trip

  • Travel back home – the rest of the actual trip

  • Recollection – a process that never ends since memories of a specified trip is continuously changing often due to new travel experiences at other destinations.

44There will most often be more than one site included in a trip. Travel to site might therefore be repeated, but there will only be one stage named “travel back home”.

45Murphy (1985) has put the stages of Clawson & Knetsch into a more comprehensive model of development (figure 6). The model is separated into three ovals or descriptions. The outer part represent “the destination’s (promotional) point of view”, the middle part “tourists’ point of view” and the inner part an “outdoor recreation experience model” as shown by Clawson & Knetsch (1965). Such a view is very useful when examining both the destinations and the travelling patterns.

46A similar model by Gunn (1998) is extended to seven phases of travel experience:

  1. Accumulation of mental images about vacation experiences

  2. Modification of those images by further information

  3. Decision to take a vacation trip

  4. Travel to destination

  5. Participation at the destination

  6. Return home

  7. Modification of images based on the vacation experience

47(Source: Murphy 1985)

48By transferring Gunn’s (1998) phases 1, 2 and 7 into the Murphy model they could all be seen as destination image formation phases. If all these models should be transformed to a situation of interviewing tourists, figure 7 shows some differences based on where and when the interviews take place. One of the great challenges would be to use the different trip stages in marketing and information strategies.

Figure 7. Stages during the extended trip.

Figure 7. Stages during the extended trip.

Source: Flognfeldt & Onshus, 1998

How can the “tourism systems” knowledge be used in a data collection process?

49In the paper quoted in the beginning of this paper, Fridgen (1984) discussed every stage in the Clawson & Knetsch model. Fridgen both explained the lack of research based on the whole trip and on the transportation stages and asked for further research. In his discussion of elements in the Travel to Destination stage, Fridgen tells:

“Transit regions and destinations are competitive. The challenge for the transit region is to attract and hold tourists. The built environment is one medium used by a community to express itself, to inform travellers about its attractions and hospitality. Little is known about how empathy and curiosity are elicited in travellers as they encounter a community”.

50For many repeating visitors to Norway, especially form Germany and the Netherlands, a pattern like this seems to be common:

“The first visit to Norway is a substantially long trip – duration 3 – 5 weeks – including either the Western Fjords, the Lofoten islands or the North Cape. The next trip is a regional one, giving possibilities of longer stay at certain destinations and shorter day stages. If they continue to visit Norway, one or a few sites previously visited are chosen as an accommodation base.” (Flognfeldt, 2000a)

51Fridgen (1984) was also discussing the directional effects – is there a difference of how tourists view an area on the road to a destination, compared with what they view on the return back. He found no differences when viewing the beauty (of landscapes, nature and villages).

52The destination phase, however, will both according to Fridgen and to our observation during the last 30 years, be the field which most research is centred on. In this area the roles of hosts are included in many research projects, in contrast to studies of hosts’ communities along the route. They might even be “hosts against their will” – just providing passing through access for caravans of cars on their ways to “green or eco-tourism destination environments” further North (Flognfeldt, 1997a).

53If the “travel-to stage” has been of little concern to researchers as Fridgen underlines, the returning phase is even less understood. Themes of interest in such studies are: directional effects, social interaction patterns and constraints of time and money. Fridgen also raises a question about the need for examining where in the travelling pattern side-trips are most common? All these questions will be of great importance for those trying to make a living of transit tourist. This also includes studies of effects of local signposting and establishing scenic byways and short information based footpaths.

54For consumption studies, these geographical areas will be divided into six time main periods (or stages in the consumption process) to show how to get a complete knowledge about all travel expenditures. Examples of such stages might be:

  1. Pre decision stage. The expenditures of this stage are connected to the decision making pro­cess – maps, travel handbooks and other information material are the prime ones. As soon as the decision seems to be close, also some medicare expenditures like brushing up vaccinations, could be added to the “pre-paid expenses”.

  2. Pre travel stage. The route or destination or at least the country to visit – is now chosen. Most expenditures are to pay for whole packages, or tickets, insurance and other parts of the trip. In addition clothing, sport gear, hand­books, film and medicines will complete this stage of expenditures. Some could be payments for services at the destination, others for transport to and from the destination and others are affiliated to take a trip without regards to where this trip will go.

  3. Trip to main destination stage (Norway). In our case trips (for foreigners) from the respondents home address to Norway. Since Scandinavia until this year has been an “insular peninsula”, most foreign visitors must use either car ferries, train ferries or aircraft to enter the area.

  4. Touring in Norway. In our case shall this be separated into three sub-stages:

  5. D-1 On tour, before the interview takes place.

  6. D-2 At interview site.

  7. D-3 On tour, after interview took place.

  8. Returning home from Norway stage.

  9. After returning home – memories. The most focused part of this is film processing.

55For Norwegian respondents, stages D-1 and D-3 are substitutes for stages C and E.

56This list of possible stages (and at the same time of geographical areas) during the extended trip should be supplied by a list of possible ways of collecting information or the geographical areas where this collection might take place. Revised models might therefore be drawn to show the accurate stages of each data collection process.

57The model of figure 7 might be extended for use in the analysis of tourists’ consump­tion. The “anticipation stage” of Clawson & Knetsch is divided into two stages:

  • Pre decision

  • Pre travel

58For many practical uses such a division is important, i.e., when studying the response to different travelling information media (Flognfeldt & Nordgreen, 1999) or on consump­tion patterns (Flognfeldt, 2000).

Segmenting tourists by modes of travel

59An important question has emerged during the ten years of field work data collecting and analysis of en route behaviour: which types of segments could better be used for explain­ing en route behaviour? The tradition in Norway, as else­where, has exclusively been to focus on nationalities for explaining travel behaviour. Expressions like: “The German do like this, opposed to tourists from the US who act like…”, seem to be widely used, even among professional market analysts. Experiences from field studies and tourism planning show that the nationality stereotypes often presented by marketers should not always be accepted as scientific without a further examina­tion that includes tests of other segments. The task must therefore be to test other types of seg­ments, in addition to nationality, such as modes of travel, use of transport, accommodation and some socio-demographic variables.

60“Modes of travel” was tested in the first fieldwork (Flognfeldt, 1992 a & b). The origin was a model presented in Pearce (1987) based on Campbell (1966), that I thought could be interesting to use. Oppermann (1995) has been thinking in the same way by showing some models of tourism flow patterns. Figure 8 has to be explained a bit further.

Figure 8. Modes of travel according to the modified Campbell/Flognfeldt model of 1999.

Figure 8. Modes of travel according to the modified Campbell/Flognfeldt model of 1999.

61Another of the methods of analysis was to look at the patterns of travelling to and through the region by geographical space and time models – like the one describing tour operated trips. Another is to focus on a series of different segments often descri­bed as modes of travelling.

62This segmentation is based on the Campbell model (1966) – but reversed. Descriptions of trips according to modes of travelling:

  • Day trips – trips starting and finishing at home during the same day. As visitors they must be described as short time guests. Some times day trips are called “excursions”

  • Resort trips – trips to a place where the major part of the stay is at the accommodation location. These guest are those often favoured by marketing efforts – the reasons might be the belief that the longer stay in the region, the more profitable those guests are for the area. In some studies resorts are extended to “destination areas”.

  • Base holiday trips – the prime trip is going from home to a single accommodation unit with a longer stay than three nights. These visitors do take some day trips out of the accommodation area, i. e. to visit attractions, in addition to using on site attractions.

  • This group of travellers should have been split into two: those staying at a base in the field area and those staying outside. Only the latter group is focused in this paper since they will be short time guests. The bases differ from destination areas by the actual travel behaviour found during the visits.

  • Tour operated round trips – mainly by coaches – where the travellers are visiting new places every day and night. A few of those trips are based on combining railroads and local scheduled bus routes. These groups are very often staying for a very short time, either visiting an attraction during day time or just to get a nights’ sleep in a local hotel.

  • Round trips by private cars or recreation vehicles – are in principle organized as the tour operated ones, but those driving in private cars have a bigger freedom of individual choice during the trips. Some round trippers stay at the same site for a couple of days, others are just passing through.

63The intention of the Campbell model was to examine modes of recreation travel. When regarding the modes of travel patterns from the point of view of the local tourism industry, also other modes of travel have to be included: in most studies, business travel and travel related to work or organizations therefore have to be added to the “Campbell modes of travel model” as important segments.

64Not all parts of the travel experiences will take place at the area of accommodation. In Norway, types of base experiences may take place at a substantial distance away from the accom­modation bases. For middle of the day visitors to Røros we traced bases up to 250 kms away, telling that the day trips had a length of up to 500 kms plus a 4 – 6 hours stay at the attraction. Similar distances are measured for alpine ski resorts (Hafjell, Trysil, Hovden, Oppdal and Hemsedal) and theme parks like Hunderfossen Family Park.

65Two different travelling distances or day trip fields are described in figure 9:

  • Visitor fields – indicating how far away from a base area might an experience take place if the visitors should be able to return to their base the same day

  • Attraction fields – indicating how long distance are day trippers will to go to an attraction and returning back the same day

Figure 9. Day trip commuting fields.

Figure 9. Day trip commuting fields.

66Both these distances are of high importance to those marketing accommodation areas.

67The most usual way of segmenting travel is to use business and pleasure travel as the two different ones. This author has shown a way of segmenting travel according to when travel happens and who is paying for the trip – see figure 10.

68Figure 10 has three dimensions: Work <-> leisure; who is paying for the trip and education travel. Flognfeldt (1979) includes five different types of travel based on these dimensions:

  • Holiday and leisure

  • Travel and commuting to/from work

  • Incentive travel

  • Business travel

  • Seminars and conferences

Figure 10. Segmenting according to work<->leisure and who is paying the trip.

Figure 10. Segmenting according to work&lt;-&gt;leisure and who is paying the trip.

Source: Flognfeldt, 1979

69When looking at which type of accommodation a person is supposed to use, just examining his socio-demographic status might be lacking important information, like: “who is paying for this trip?”. The use of attractions will be different when an incentive traveller is visiting a resort com­pared to a business traveller, even if both travellers are paid by their employers. At a Saturday night train returning from the rural parts of Norway to Oslo, a group having used their second home for skiing and a commuter going for work on a road construction, will be on different trips.

70What if the view should be turned – and seen from the local area? Another way of using the modified Campbell/Flognfeldt model is to view different groups of tourists from the way they are using a single site. This is shown in figure 10 where the point of view is from the destination area. In this way the local perception of travelling segments is another than the one regarding the whole trip.

71At least five different travelling patterns “hit” this model region.

72The model of figure 11 shows a very common structure of such mountain municipalities in Norway that are highly dependent on tourism. The model originates from studies of alpine ski resorts in mountain valleys. The service centre, which often also is the administrative centre of the municipality, is located down in the valley. In addition one ski resort or more are located further uphill due to better snow conditions. There will often be a competition between these two types of centres, especially on service provision and shopping possibilities (Flognfeldt, 1999 a).

Figure 11. Patterns of tourism travel – viewed from a local focus.

Figure 11. Patterns of tourism travel – viewed from a local focus.

Source: Flognfeldt, 1995 a

73The model indicates five different travelling patterns named after the most common segments using the pattern:

  • Resort tourism – where city tourism could be included by drawing the service centre and the resort functions (e.g. RBD) close to each other

  • En route tourists – either just passing through or choosing a short stop-over

  • Business travel, among others including:

  • Salesmen

  • Administrators

  • Service workers

  • Travel for local service demand

  • Base tourism

74Especially when planning service provision to an area this model seems very useful. In addition segmentation based on the actual behaviour of the respondents has been tested, like:

  • Use of accommodation the night before interview

  • Use of modes of transport to reach the site of interview

  • Number of previous visits to the area, including those previously having lived permanently in the area

  • Trip index groups

75Also a set of socio-demographic and psychographic descriptors will later in a later extended version of this paper be tested as segmentation tools. They seem very good in studies of attraction behaviour along the tourism routes.

Time geography models

76The tradition of using time geography models introduced by Hägerstrand (1974 and 1978 a & b) in the early seventies. One of the aims of using such models was to look closer at how different segments of travellers (mostly daily commuters) used different modes of transport between home and office and activities (Mårtensson, 1978).

77A very specific result of these studies was the introduction of the system of “flexible working hours” in Stockholm, Sweden. This innovation was later on adapted in many other environments resulting in a much more efficient use of transport.

78Such time geography models were used in studies of local recreation travel behaviour, but in this author’s knowledge, not in any tourism travel behaviour study according to this author’s knowledge?

79Why are then so few time-geography models used in tourism analyses? One reason might be that the bulk of time geography studies took place in the Seventies, some time before the studies of tourism really took off. Another must be that geographers and others have not been that interested in the dynamics of travel as Fridgen (1984) also has shown for psychologists. Studies taking place at a single resort or a regional level have had the priorities.

80An attempt of showing three different time geography patterns of travel within a single day is described in figure 11 above.

81Figure 12 shows the standardized geographic pattern of a day on a tour operated trip. Other figures are constructed to show a typical day trip and a similar day at a resort or an attraction type theme park.

Figure 12. Standardized pattern for a single days trip on a tour operated coach trip visiting a single and very attractive museum – like Maihaugen Open-air museum in Lillehammer or Lom Stave Church.

Figure 12. Standardized pattern for a single days trip on a tour operated coach trip visiting a single and very attractive museum – like Maihaugen Open-air museum in Lillehammer or Lom Stave Church.

82When trying to generalize these different time geography based travelling patterns into a model of potential site visitation, figure 13 shows an example model used by Flognfeldt (1999) to describe and analyze traffic patterns in the municipality of Lom in the Jotunheimen mountains of Norway.

Figure 13. How sites are located into different routes.

Figure 13. How sites are located into different routes.

83Travellers belonging to each of the four different visitor patterns described in figure 13 have very different behaviour both on attraction visitation and expenditures. Those on a pattern A trip are much more frequent attraction visitors than those on pattern B. This is seldom understood by local tourism promoters, since their main focus is to attract overnight stayers. Since short time stoppers (persons staying less than one night) are not registered in most statistics, their behaviour is under-focused in most consumption studies and other studies based on accommodation statistics.

84Most often short time visitors are completely neglected as customers in such studies. When trying to combine economic studies based on expenditures with those based on the income of firms belonging to the tourism trade, this lack of measuring short time stoppers might be one of the reasons why there is a discrepancy between the two methods (Onshus, 1997).

  1. Tourist that are visiting site Y just during daytime

  2. Tourist that are just staying overnight at site Y

  3. Tourists that are just going to visit site Y on a day-trip from home or holiday base

  4. Tourist that are choosing site Y as a destination/resort for more than one night’s stay

85Flognfeldt (1999) presented a survey conducted in Ottadalen 1995. On of his hypotheses was that those interviewed at a site between 1200 and 1700 hours were more likely to have been visiting a museum at the spot they were interviewed, than those interviewed later that night at an accom­modation site. The latter, however, could have been museum visitors that same day – at another site.

86Thus both where an interview takes place and when is of high importance to the results of both consumption and attraction use studies.

87Figure 14 shows the travel pattern registered in Ottadalen 1995. This region has a variety of nature and culture attractions. Many nature attractions are primary according to Leiper (1990), but only one cultural attraction is so. This is Lom Stave Church, a more that 900 years old church still in use for the local congregation. Lom is therefore a site to be visited by all four categories shown in figure 13.

Figure 14. Ottadalen 1995 Modes of travelling measured for 2368 respondents.

Figure 14. Ottadalen 1995 Modes of travelling measured for 2368 respondents.

Figure 15. Population mobility in space and time.

Figure 15. Population mobility in space and time.

88When does a long lasting tourism trip become a part of a migration process instead? Bell & Ward (2000) has shown how a time and space diagram could be used to show different types of travel . Most types of movement in time and space are included in that model. Most forms of tourism are found on the shadowed part of the figure, with a duration between a day and a year.

89This figure allows a much further discussion of time and space dimensions, both in tourism and other types of travel.

90Measuring en route behaviour at a short stop site or for a wider destination area might also be done by using the trip index (Flognfeldt, 2000). One problem by using the trip index might be when the data collection is restricted to interviews at accommodation units.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Stages in the analysis of a regional system. Based on Haggett, 1965.
Légende A Movements B Networks C Nodes D Hierarchies E Surfaces
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Titre Figure 2. The geographical elements of tourism – A.
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Figure 3. The geographical elements of a tourist system – B.
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Figure 4. The tourism system of Mill & Morrison 1985.
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Figure 5. The Tourism Environment System.
Fichier image/jpeg, 180k
Titre Figure 6. Destination area’s perspective of a vacation experience.
Crédits Source: Murphy, 1985
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Figure 7. Stages during the extended trip.
Crédits Source: Flognfeldt & Onshus, 1998
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Figure 8. Modes of travel according to the modified Campbell/Flognfeldt model of 1999.
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Figure 9. Day trip commuting fields.
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Figure 10. Segmenting according to work<->leisure and who is paying the trip.
Crédits Source: Flognfeldt, 1979
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Figure 11. Patterns of tourism travel – viewed from a local focus.
Crédits Source: Flognfeldt, 1995 a
Fichier image/jpeg, 80k
Titre Figure 12. Standardized pattern for a single days trip on a tour operated coach trip visiting a single and very attractive museum – like Maihaugen Open-air museum in Lillehammer or Lom Stave Church.
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Figure 13. How sites are located into different routes.
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Titre Figure 14. Ottadalen 1995 Modes of travelling measured for 2368 respondents.
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Figure 15. Population mobility in space and time.
Fichier image/jpeg, 107k
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Thor Flognfeldt jr., « The tourist route system – models of travelling patterns », Belgeo, 1-2 | 2005, 35-58.

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Thor Flognfeldt jr., « The tourist route system – models of travelling patterns », Belgeo [En ligne], 1-2 | 2005, mis en ligne le 27 octobre 2013, consulté le 24 mars 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/belgeo.12406

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Thor Flognfeldt jr.

Lillehammer University College, Norway,

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