Study Finds Tourists Keeping Connected While On Holiday
June 9, 2012

Study Finds Tourists Keeping Connected While On Holiday

While many people say that they take vacations to get away from it all, a new Michigan State University (MSU) study suggests that they aren't willing to relinquish their smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers while on holiday.

In fact, the study, which is set to appear in an upcoming issue of the Annals of Tourism Research, revealed that people are actually more likely to use wireless devices while on vacation than at home by a 40% to 25% margin, the university said in a June 8 press release. Furthermore, they also report that people are more likely to use the Internet to plan their trips (80%) than for work (70%).

"Not that long ago, travelers would need to find a payphone or send postcards to brag about their vacations. Now they just log on and send photos and text," MSU Professor of Community Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies Christine Vogt, the co-author of the study, said in a statement. "Our results show clearly how the changing nature of IT behavior in everyday life is spilling over into our vacations."

"Travelers are using their laptops and phones more often, and not just to plan vacations," she added. "Since Wi-Fi is available at most destinations, tourists are checking local weather forecasts, transportation schedules, restaurant recommendations, fishing reports, safe bicycling routes and much more."

The study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and Vogt shared authorship duties with Kelly MacKay of Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, the press release said.

The addictive nature of these portable, wireless devices is likely the cause for people's increasing desire to use them during vacations, and future research could help provide the tourism industry with information that can help better use the Web to serve their vacationing clientele, they added.

"We hope to conduct more research across the various stages of vacations,” Vogt explained. "This will help vacation service providers better understand what information travelers are looking for during trip planning and how it differs from the details they´re searching for after arrival."