Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study evolved as a response to the dearth of empirically-based research within the realm of island tourism. It is an attempt to combine a broad range of geographical concepts (space, time, location, perception, regions, and impacts) in achieving a more holistic understanding of tourist group travel in the region of Shetland, Scotland, through a proposed theoretical model. A total of 100 questionnaire packages were distributed in the study area, with a response rate of 71 percent. Respondents were placed into one of two groups contingent upon their activity-based interests: Special Interest (birders, fishers, history/archaeology, natural history, and "other", n = 35), or General Interest (n = 36).;A triangulation methodology was used that employed two approaches and four distinct data-gathering techniques. The first approach, quantitative, relied on the implementation of a self-administered questionnaire and on a space-time budget. The questionnaire was designed to uncover both socio-demographic data in addition to the characteristics of the Shetland on-site travel experience. Conversely, the space-time budget required respondents to keep a daily record of their spatial and temporal use of attractions, facilities, accommodation and transportation in Shetland. Respondents were also required to trace their daily spatial movement on a map for each day of their Shetland vacation. The second approach, qualitative, involved the application of observations and interviews in all regions of the study area.;Data were presented using a number of techniques including tables, the model itself, in addition to maps of Shetland comparing travel groups on the basis of mean centre and weighted mean centre. In general, it was discovered that both groups differed only marginally in their use of attractions, facilities, accommodation, and transportation; in their overall movement through the four access zones of Shetland (Lerwick, Rural Mainland, Car Ferry Isles, and Passenger Ferry Isles); in the results of the questionnaire; and through an analysis of observation and interview data.;Implications of the methodological framework and the theoretical model are discussed in the context of past studies, and future research needs. Particular attention was focused on exploring attractions and their importance in the travel experience.



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