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Nudging tourists : the application of nudging within tourism to achieve sustainable travelling

Nijhuis, M.M.A. (2020) Nudging tourists : the application of nudging within tourism to achieve sustainable travelling.

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Abstract:The tourism sector is becoming bigger every year and the estimation is that it will continue to grow. One serious consequence of tourism is climate change. Within this sector, most of the emissions can be ascribed to transportation, especially aviation. Therefore, the behaviour of tourists need to change, and an approach that can be effective is nudging. Nudging is an approach that aims to influence behaviour by directing people in a desirable direction, which is related to the way that information is presented. However, nudging has hardly been explored within tourism, especially not linked to flying behaviour. This study performed an online experiment and applied three types of nudges: default nudges, norm nudges, and moral nudges. The purpose of this study was to find out whether these nudging types were effective in influencing the level of interest in low carbon and high polluting ways of transportation. Method In order to fill the gap of nudging within tourism and transport, an experiment has been created to find out to what extent nudging is effective, and what the most effective nudge would look like, in trying to convince people to choose a more sustainable mode of transport. A 2 (train and plane) X 2 (social norm and descriptive norm) X 2 (pro-self and pro-social) between-subjects experimental design has been used for this study. Participants encountered an advertisement that offered a city trip to London. Afterwards, questions had to be answered regarding the level of interest in the city trip with different ways of transportation. Results The findings showed that nudging within sustainable tourism is not effective for two of the three nudge types. Applying default nudging has an effect on people’s level of interest in the city trip with a high polluting way of transportation, the plane. The level of interest in the plane when applying a default plane option decreases, but no effects have been found between default nudging and increasing or decreasing the level of interest in more sustainable ways of transportation. However, both norm nudging and moral nudging did not have an effect on people’s level of interest in different ways of transportation. Nevertheless, a significant three-way interaction effect was found where norm nudging and moral nudging interact together when the default is set on plane. Social norms together with prosocial nudges with a default plane led to the increase in the level of interest in the city trip by plane. Furthermore, existing attitudes of people towards travelling by train or by plane and level of climate awareness also contributed to the explanation of the level of interest in different ways of transportation. Conclusion Default nudging is partly effective in achieving sustainable behaviour. When setting defaultsthe interest in the unsustainable option decreases, but at the same time the interest in the sustainable option does not increase. Norm nudging and moral nudging did not turn out to be effective in order to reach sustainable behaviour. However, the three-way interaction showed that these nudge types do interact together when the default is set on the unsustainable option. All in all, nudging may not be the wonder approach which leads to sustainable tourism, but higher levels of interest in more sustainable choices could be reached with nudging. Therefore nudging is of importance to reach sustainability in tourism.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/82589
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