Are Travel Plans the Best Way to Make Tourist Travel More Sustainable? Hadrians Wall: A Case Study

Are Travel Plans the Best Way to Make Tourist Travel More Sustainable? Hadrians Wall: A Case Study


L Lumsdon, J Guiver, University of Central Lancashire, UK


An investigation into the issues for managers of tourism attractions of improving the sustainability of travel to their sites. A case study of a World Heritage Site in Northern England.


This research investigated the issues in attempting to make tourist travel more sustainable. It took as its case study Hadrian?s Wall: a Roman-built fortication stretching from coast to coast across Northern England. This has created a popular linear tourist attraction, now a World Heritage site which has parallel walking, cycling, car, bus and train routes and so provides considerable potential for modal shift towards more sustainable travel.

A series of in-depth interviews with the managers of tourist attractions along Hadrian?s Wall provided information about the willingness to support more sustainable travel and the perceived barriers against modal shift. The paper reports how the respondents see their influence on modal choice in a rural and uncongested area and how sustainable travel competes with other priorities such as attracting visitors, preserving the archaeology, protecting the environment, invigorating the local economy, educating and enthusing the future guardians of the area?s history.
The interviews reveal how ?the concept? of Hadrian?s Wall has been changed by collaboration and marketing, with attention focussed on local networks as well as terminal facilities. The paper describes how this has altered the way that the area?s major generators of tourist travel view their markets and functions. However, the interviews demonstrate how moves towards more sustainable local tourism can be delayed by institutional change within contributing organisations, and local decisions swayed by the policies of national organisations. Local transport is frequently seen as a peripheral issue to organisations exerting considerable influence on the enactment of travel policy and practice in the area.

Leisure travel, one of the fastest growing travel sectors, differs from other travel sectors: travellers are often unfamiliar with local transport networks, travel forms part of the activity, not simply providing access to the attraction and it involves different valuations of time. The paper discusses how this case study contributes to our understandings of how leisure travel might become more sustainable and the insights it offers to other transport sectors.


Association for European Transport