The environment, ecology and adventure tourism

The impact of nature on wellbeing is an area that has been extensively examined and the articles in this group explore the particular relationship that tourism products and activities have on the sense of wellbeing. The following articles focus on the various methods available to researchers in examining wellness tourism in a natural setting.

One of the earlier articles examining the impact of nature on wellbeing is that by Pesonen and Komppula (2010) who investigate if rural tourism in Finland could be seen as a form of wellbeing tourism by comparing motivations. The study found that, among Finnish rural tourists, a segment of rural wellbeing exists. These rural wellbeing tourists are motivated by the need for relaxation and to escape from a busy everyday life. The findings show that this segment want the opportunity for physical rest more than members of other segments. A typical rural wellbeing tourist was found to be a 45- to 54-year-old female who has lived her childhood in the countryside. The wellbeing segment values privacy, does not want schedules, likes a calm atmosphere and wants to spend time outside in nature more than other segments.

Konu’s article (2015) explores the methodological issues relating to wellness tourism focusing on the use of an ethnographic approach to examine new service development. In particular, the article focuses on a case study on wellbeing tourism using the development of a forest-based wellbeing tourist product as the basis of the study. The article provides an excellent summary of the diverse methods in using ethnographic studies and the findings confirm that the use of ethnography in wellness tourism, especially within a forest-based context, is highly appropriate.

Continuing the theme of methods used in the area of nature and wellness tourism and returning to the introductory discussion of subjective wellbeing, the research note by Bimonte and Faralla (2014) examines the relationship between participation in outdoor recreation and self-reported happiness. The findings, from a sample of tourists holidaying along the coast of Tuscany, confirm that proximity to nature can enhance personal emotional and physical well-being. The study suggests that not only does interaction with nature preserve the physical and social environment, but it also improves wellbeing.

By Margaret Deery, PhD; University of Surrey, UK, Leeds Beckett University, UK and Curtin University, Australia. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management.


Bimonte, S., & Faralla, V. (2014). Happiness and nature-based vacations. Annals of Tourism Research, 46, 176-178.

Konu, H. (2015). Developing a forest-based wellbeing tourism product together with customers–An ethnographic approach. Tourism Management, 49, 1-16.

Pesonen, J., & Komppula, R. (2010). Rural wellbeing tourism: Motivations and expectations. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 17(01), 150-157.