Why the host community just isnt enough: Processes and impacts of backpacker social interactions
journal contributionposted on 12.02.2021, 09:08 by Ina Reichenberger
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. This research employs an extended social situation analysis to examine how social interactions of backpackers in New Zealand are manifested, how they can contribute to the visitor experience, to common travel motivations such as self-development and cultural exploration, and how they compare to and influence contacts with the host community. Results from 37 in-depth interviews indicate that backpacker interactions underlie strict rules and are based on a shared understanding of how they are to proceed in terms of conversation topics and personal elements. Certain settings and a positive relationship between interaction participants contribute to longer and more personal social interactions. These in turn are required for emotional well-being, which is why fellow backpackers often replace friends and family as a social support system. Due to the national diversity of backpacker travellers, these interactions also provide exposure to different cultures as well as opportunity for self-development. Contacts with the host community, however, have been reported to be more difficult to establish and were found to be less beneficial for backpackers who have to rely heavily on interaction partners who are social, desire to spend longer amounts of time and are willing to proceed to a more familiar level faster than non-travellers.