Sustainable elements of the backpacker experience
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SubjectBackpacker; backpacking; hostels; environmental practices; sustainable tourism; visitor experience
The aim of this paper is to explore how environmental practices contribute to the backpacker experience at hostels. Discovery of what environmental practices positively or negatively affect the backpacker experience will help when developing sustainable management strategies for hostels. There is a variety of material and academic studies regarding “green” tourism practices, however, to date, little research has been completed regarding the backpacker experience and environmental practices of hostels. The material presented in this literature review represents the backpacking experience on an international scale as well as important characteristics of sustainable tourism trends. This applied research project used a mixed method approach including the use of quantitative and qualitative research measurements. The quantitative research helped to identify the positive and negative elements of the backpacker experience at hostels. Data collection for the qualitative research was completed through a semi-structured telephone interview with a sample size of four experts in sustainable practices and hostels. A key element for the data collection was the conceptual framework of the European Customer Satisfaction Model (ECSI) model. This model indicated how sustainable elements can influence the backpacker experience depending on the designated technical or functional purpose of the sustainable practice. The outcomes of the research including the finding that functional elements have a larger influence on the backpacker experience are presented in an adapted ECSI model. Additionally, the data produced a list of the critical success factors required for the implementation of sustainable practices at hostel location.
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