Rethinking niche tourism: The example of backpacking

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This conceptual paper re-evaluates the concept of niches in tourism markets. As
many regions are now attempting to address niche markets in tourism as a
development strategy, understanding of the dynamics of niche markets is crucial.
Current approaches are often limited to seeing niche markets as simple subsectors of larger consumer markets. We argue for a broader view of market niches as forms of social rituals involving both consumers and producers with a mutual focus of attention. Based on the work of Randall Collins we examine how interaction rituals are produced and maintained, and how these are also reflected in niche markets, such as backpacking. We illustrate the how backpacking produces a mutual focus of attention and boundaries to outsiders, helping to sustain the niche over the longer term. This analysis has implications for producers hoping to tap into niche markets, as they too need to become part of the niche community.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalCroatian Regional Development Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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