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Self-guided trails – a route to more responsible tourism?

Self-guided trails – a route to more responsible tourism?

MacLeod, Nicola ORCID: 0000-0001-7504-2270 (2016) Self-guided trails – a route to more responsible tourism? Tourism Recreation Research, 41 (2). pp. 134-144. ISSN 0250-8281 (Print), 2320-0308 (Online) (doi:

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In recent years, the tourism industry has faced criticism by turning its attention to the development of more responsible tourism. This is a form of tourism that is mindful of the diverse needs of host communities, local business and the visitor. This paper investigates the development of more responsible tourism from the perspective of a popular tourist product – the self-guided trail or route. The trail or route provides a themed and interpreted journey through the urban or rural landscape, creating links between sites, attractions and other tourism businesses by providing information and storytelling along the way. These products have a global appeal and are becoming more prolific. Through a literature review on trails, the paper analyses their key characteristics and the rationales of developers and concludes that trails have the potential to contribute to more responsible tourism development. The paper proposes a series of planning principles which are derived from the literature and examples of good practice therein which may assist trail developers in creating more responsible tourism routes and trails. The discussion concludes with a case study of a project in Cornwall in the south-west of the UK, where responsible planning has underpinned recent trail development.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Tourism Recreation Research on 1 March 2016, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Responsible tourism, Self guided trails, Routes, Trail planning, Tourism development, Planning principles
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Marketing, Events & Tourism
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2020 13:00

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