In December we published Tourism and Trails by Dallen J. Timothy and Stephen W. Boyd. We asked them a few questions to find out more about the background to the book.
What inspired you to write a book about tourism and trails?
Since our youth, we have had personal interests in trails. Dallen has fond memories of utilizing nature trails during primary school field trips and his family using them during Easter egg hunts. He also grew up enjoying trails in some of Utah’s most spectacular national parks. Since that time he has become especially interested in researching long-distance heritage trails, including religious-oriented pilgrimage paths and trade routes. Stephen has fond memories as a child of lots of walking on family holidays over the traditional beach holiday and so nowadays when he visits new destinations he is keen to explore the landscape using formal and informal trails of varying scales and importance. From a scholastic point of view both of us realize the importance of trails and routes in connecting disparate parts of regions for economic development and developing broader tourism products, yet few people have systematically examined them from a holistic perspective. There are many studies about the recreational impacts of trails, but we saw a need to treat linear resources more comprehensively from tourism and recreation standpoints.
How did the two of you come to collaborate on this book?
We have known each other since graduate school in Canada, where we shared many personal and professional interests in nature-based and cultural heritage-based tourism. In 1999, based upon our own experiences and our emerging professional interests in the management of linear tourism resources, we co-wrote and presented a conference paper conceptualizing trails as management mechanisms. Since then we have maintained our common research interests in trails and spent much time visiting and researching, largely from a policy perspective, many trails and routes in the UK, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. We are planning to carry out much more empirical collaborative work on tourism trails in the near future.
What makes your book different from others that have been published before?
Well, honestly, there are no other scholarly books out there that deal with recreational and tourism trails, let alone one that delves into the management, conservation, supply and demand and experiential elements of linear resources. The book consolidates a disparate range of literatures and concepts into a volume that is accessible to researchers and students. It provides in-depth analysis of the current trends, issues and implications of routes and trails as crucial resources for tourism and recreation.
Which other academics in your field do you particularly admire and how have they influenced your own research?
There are far too many to mention individually, although Richard Butler comes to mind first. He was Stephen’s PhD supervisor and one of Dallen’s master’s mentors. His pioneering work in tourism studies influenced us in many ways during our formative years as emerging academics, and we will forever be grateful for his mentorship. Geoff Wall, Dallen’s PhD advisor, is another tourism pioneer who taught us much and who has led the field for decades; it was Geoff’s simple typology of classifying tourism attractions as points, lines and areas that started our thinking that there is a lack of attention by tourism scholars to study linear attraction with the one exception of linear coastal resort development.
As a tourism academic you must get to travel to some exotic locations. Where is the most unusual or interesting place you have travelled to for work?
Dallen’s preferred places are where most mass tourists don’t go. For him, in this regard the most interesting locales have been Greenland, Lebanon, Mongolia, remote parts of Myanmar, North Korea and Bhutan. Stephen has visited many locations often to present at conferences; some of the most interesting over the years have been Singapore, North Cyprus, Brisbane, Vancouver; others have been more remote like Umea, Sweden and Valapariso, Chile where he experienced a student riot when entering the city!
What are your next research projects?
We are planning a new book on heritage tourism and technology, and we will continue our research on pilgrimage trails in Ireland and other parts of Europe. We are also exploring an edited book on political tourism which is around concepts and issues as opposed to case studies. Stephen is looking to undertake research on the Wild Atlantic Way; one of the largest coastal touring routes that takes you on a journey around the south and west coast of Ireland, linking to some of the touring routes along Northern Ireland’s coastline.
For more information about the book please see our website.