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The concept of risk in nature-based tourism and recreation – A systematic literature review

Gstaettner, A.M., Lee, D. and Rodger, K. (2016) The concept of risk in nature-based tourism and recreation – A systematic literature review. Current Issues in Tourism . In Press.

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Risk is a complex concept, with its conceptualizations depending on epistemological perspectives and methodological approaches of the various research disciplines it is embedded within. It was the aim of this literature review to provide a scientific basis to understand how current academic research has approached the phenomenon of risk in the context of nature-based tourism and recreation. Using a systematic quantitative literature review method, we assessed how risk was conceptualized in a selection of 59 original research papers that have been published in English language peer-reviewed academic journals from 2000 to 2015. We identified fundamental differences in the perspectives taken by researchers discussing risk. Whilst 37 papers (63%) viewed risk as a potential negative consequence of participating in recreational outdoor activities, 22 studies (37%) investigated risk as a meaningful component of the outdoor experience dimension. The presented review led to the identification of specific risk factors that increase the likelihood of negative outcomes as well as potential benefits from participation, and also offers an overview of underlying psychological processes involved in the participation in ‘risky’ nature-based activities. Further research implications are discussed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
Copyright: 2016 Informa UK Limited
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