Scoping the dimensions of visitor well-being: a case study of Scotland’s Forth Valley
The well-being of tourists or visitors within a destination has, until recently, received little attention. Issues relating to the personal safety and health of the travelling public have been highlighted by a number of high profile incidents of terrorist attacks, large scale natural disasters and life threatening epidemics. While such events are devastating in nature and of great concern, for the majority of travellers, health and personal safety are more likely to be impacted on by illness, being involved in an accident or becoming the victim of crime.
This thesis contributes to our existing understanding of how tourism can be affected by incidents by selecting a definable geographical area and investigating the available data from official sources to examine the dimensions, scale and nature of visitor-related incidents of crime, road traffic accidents and emergency health care. This audit was undertaken through collaborative research with the Central Scotland Police Force, the Central Scotland Road Accident Investigation Unit and the National Health Service Forth Valley. Primary research was then undertaken with visitors to the area. This in-depth approach looks beyond existing statistics to probe factors contributing to visitor-related incidents, in relation to existing tourism literature.
The results indicate that, visitors experience incidents that differ in nature and type from those experienced by local residents, and the times and places they were most at risk also varied. With visitors accounting for less than 10% of the total population, these differences are not apparent in the overall patterns and, therefore, the particular needs of visitors are unlikely to be met through existing measures. This research has the ability to form the basis of improved measures to benefit visitor health and personal safety even though the nature of the visiting population presents challenges in relation to when, where and how such preventative measures are introduced. Visitors are not homogenous and distinct groupings based on perceptions, attitudes and behaviours were found. Therefore, there is a requirement to examine how incidents impact on visitors by distinguishing them from the overall incident figures, but measures to protect visitors also have to be tailored to take cognisance of typologies of visitors.Sponsored by the former Faculty of Management at the University of Stirling