The everyday use of smartphones spills over to the tourist experience, according to Dr Dan Wang of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and co-authors in a recently published research article. The researchers argue that “understanding how the smartphone shapes the tourist experience cannot be separated from the way it is used in one’s everyday life”, to the extent that “everyday life and travel should not be viewed as completely separated entities, but rather special cases of each other”. The impact of technology on travel evolves, they suggest, “as the traveler gains experience using new technologies” and the benefits those technologies bring. Smartphone use is most definitely transforming our daily lives, allowing us to listen to music, take photographs, socialise with friends, obtain information and make purchases wherever we want. This should have clear implications for travel, but the researchers note that tourism is still seen as somehow distinct from everyday life. It is time that travel is no longer seen as “a temporary reversal of everyday activities” that essentially involves “a no-work, no-care, no-thrift situation”, they argue. With friends and family – and the workplace – now just a swipe away, it is increasingly difficult to truly switch off, leading to a “decapsulation” of the tourist experience. The researchers argue that there is a “mutual penetration of the experiences from the travel context and everyday life context”. Although keeping in constant contact with those at home and having a wealth of information about the destination in one’s pocket may diminish the sense of adventure and escape, it can enhance the travel experience. Yet even though there is a great deal of evidence that tourists use mobile technology before, during and after their trips, a thoroughly convincing explanation for why that is occurring has not been put forward. Get the full story at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PDF 50 KB)