Digital well-being in the tourism domain: mapping new roles and responsibilities

Stankov U, Gretzel U. Digital well-being in the tourism domain: mapping new roles and responsibilities Information Technology & Tourism. 2021 Mar:1-13.


Digital well-being has become a popular theme within a public discourse that increasingly attracts consumers, businesses, government institutions and technology providers who all face challenges in their technology-driven existence. However, there have been no attempts to create a comprehensive framework for a general understanding of digital well-being and the new roles and responsibilities that emerge from it in the tourism domain. Thus, this paper looks at understanding digital well-being in general and its concomitant applications in the tourism domain. After mapping characteristic digital well-being approaches and examples, we foresee the need for establishing a digital well-being continuum between everyday life and tourism that rests on three new sets of roles and responsibilities for the tourism domain, grouped around the need for adopting digital well-being philosophy in tourism, setting up new policies, and designing novel services and experiences.


As we have already noted, due to omnipresent technology, the discontinuity between everyday life and tourism diminishes (MacKay and Vogt 2012). The resulting digital elasticity between the two realms (Pearce and Gretzel 2012) holds significant repercussions for tourists’ digital well-being and the responsible management of tourist experiences. Besides, tourists have been empowered by various ICT solutions closely integrated into all travel phases, which further encourages extensive technology use. No longer able to ignore the potential negative effects, the tourism industry has started to respond to the problem with its own digital well-being initiatives (Fig. 1). However, most of the impetus still comes from consumers. Technology use on vacation clashes with emerging lifestyles, beliefs, value systems, specific health needs and areas of consumer activism focused on different aspects of well-being, such as digital minimalism, slow technology initiatives, technology restrictions based on religious beliefs (e.g. travelers following Shabbat laws) or health issues (e.g., electromagnetic hypersensitivity), all the way to techlash (e.g. boycotts of technology companies), Neo-Luddism (perceptions of technology as a threat to humanity and the natural world) and anti-5G activism (i.e., the opposition to or destruction of telecommunications infrastructure seen as harmful to living beings).

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