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Psychological and behavioural approaches to understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility
An international workshop in the Black Forest of Freiburg, Germany

3rd – 6th of July 2012

was proudly organised by
Bournemouth University, FRIAS, NHTV and the University of Otago

In order to mitigate tourism’s contribution to climate change, there is the need for innovations at political, technical and individual levels. Yet, despite a growing contribution to climate change, tourist and traveller behaviour is currently not acknowledged as an important sector within the development of climate policy. Influencing individual behaviour and informing effective governance will require a sound understanding of the psychology and social factors that surround contemporary tourism and travel mobilities.

This workshop aimed to explore the psychological and social factors that may contribute to and inhibit sustainable behaviour change in the context of tourist and traveller behaviour. The organisers intended to form a stronger knowledge base and research agenda for the effective governance of tourism’s contribution to climate change.

The programme consisted of multi-disciplinary sessions (see overview below) and discussions in plenum. The full day by day programme can be downloaded here; the workshop reader with all abstracts here.

Session themes:

  • Attitude-behaviour gaps
  • Experience
  • Air travel psychology
  • Geographical psychology
  • Social Psychological aspects
  • Marketing
  • Theoretical concepts
  • Policies and psychology
The workshop has been a great success, with 23 high quality papers and 26 participants from many renowned institutes around the world providing ample food for some good discussions. A Special issue of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism was published in 2013 (Volume 21, Issue 7, 2013), and a volume including most papers in 2014: Cohen, S. A., Higham, J., Peeters, P., & Gössling, S. (Eds.). (2014). Understanding and Governing Sustainable Tourism Mobility: Psychological and Behavioural Approaches: Routledge.

The Routledge volume has been reviewed rather positively in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Amongst others, the reviewer concluded that it “is relevant for the approaches adopted, the insights discussed, and the repercussions of tourism within the increasingly crucial debate over climate change and sustainable development. In particular, it is recommended for postgraduate studies on tourism mobilities, spatial planning, and environmental studies focusing on the performative trends and futures of travel behaviour in the medium and long terms. This contribution, therefore, should be used as basis for a more critical review of the contemporary paradoxes of the tourism industry in the light of the evident environmental inefficiency of the tourist system as a whole” (Amore, 2014, p. 3).


Amore, A. (2014). Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: psychological and behavioural approaches, edited by S.A. Cohen, J.E.S. Higham, P. Peeters, and S. Gössling. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1-3. doi: 10.1080/09669582.2014.944412

Cohen, S. A., Higham, J. E. S., Peeters, P., & Gössling, S. (Eds.). (2014). Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: Psychological and behavioural approaches. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.