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17 JAN 2023 (TUE) 15:05 - 15:35

Understanding independent tourist practices: Hiking, driving, and lying flat

Ms MENG Yiran


This research examines independent tourist mobilities as social practices and identifies three types of mobile practices widely enacted in domestic tourism – hiking, driving, and lying flat. Through ethnographic and mobile methods, the study will explore how materials, competences, and meanings influence the ways tourists engage in independent travel. The empirical analysis will be based on a qualitative study conducted in Yunnan province. Preliminary findings show that the practice of hiking is shaped by the co-presence of multiple modes of mobilities derived from negotiations between a modern sense of comfort and convenience and a desire for nature engagement. This study considers hiking, driving, and lying flat as separate practices but intermittently connected through places, persons, technologies, and natures. In the coming fieldwork, the research thus seeks to continue exploring the practices of driving and lying flat within contemporary China's broader social, cultural, and technological milieu. The findings will contribute to a Chinese conceptualisation of independent travel and provide implications for tourism policymaking to be more aware of the various social transformations ongoing in China.

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