Travel Geography. Los Angels.

Well it’s time to publish another of my school projects. This is my first individual essay at the University.

I study Bachelor in Travel and Tourism Management at HIL (Lillehammer Public University).

In this task I cover theories and connect them to my own experiences and Los Angels. This essay have not been given a grade, but I passed and got some great feedback from the teacher.


Task in Travel Geography

Los Angeles.


The research done on motivation related to travel has not been conclusive. Richard Sharpley covers many theories in “Tourism, Tourist and Society”. Among others, he mentions the studies done by Goodall (1991) on Push/Pull, the work done by Maslow and his pyramid of needs, and the theory on Extrinsic/Intrinsic factors.


What most of these models have in common is that they have been used in some

way or another to understand the motives behind tourism. When you use different
models, and research different types of environments, the answers will necessarily vary. “Many authors and researchers in tourism have concerned themselves with motivation, recognizing it as one of the most basic and indispensable subjects in tourism studies” (Sharpley 2006) Due to the word-constraint, I will focus on the  Push/Pull and Extrinsic/Intrinsic models in this text.



How we view an event is individual. The push factor is difficult to figure out. Research in the area of motivation deals with a lot of unconscious factors in people, like culture, religion, family, friends, social class and so on. Understanding the specific motivational factors that help people make their choices would make a travel agent hugely successful. Wealth would come because these intrinsic motivations are the first step of making our choice of what kind of trip we want to take.


If we need love in our lives, we might visit friends and family. Or maybe we might
seek the love of a god. If we need change in our lives we might leave cold Norwegian winters and go somewhere warm. If we need something healthy in our lives, we might choose a spa holiday or perhaps a walk in the mountains of Norway or a skiing holiday.


I am, for example, planning a trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco in California USA. My reasons for travelling are push and pull factors but also intrinsic and extrinsic. The person-specific motivations for travelling to the United States during the holidays are among others needing to be with my US “mother” and a need for a traditional Christmas. The push factor is important when the tourist decides which destination to visit. Once we have been influenced by the push factors in our lives, we are ready to be influenced by the extrinsic/pull factors that exist.


When it comes to my trip to the US, my external motivations would be that I look forward to making new friends as well as reconnecting with old ones and enjoy sunny California. Since I will be living with the people I visit, I will only be buying an airplane ticket. I would call myself a Wanderluster tourist. It is important to understand that there are different types of tourists with different kinds of motivations behind their travels. This will be covered later on. Here I will focus on Los Angeles and tourism in general.


Pull factors have been described by Sharpley and (Goodall 1991) as being destination specific attributes. Some of the destination specific attributes of Los Angeles are Disneyland (easily accessible), the Walk of Fame, the Tour of the Stars, Spring Break and the fact that it is almost always sunny. A family with small children may enjoy a trip to Los Angeles if it includes the above mentioned attributes. This is the experience they seek. Their motivations for choosing Los Angeles could be because they have seen an advertisement about how Disneyland is appropriate for children and that both parents have a couple of weeks off work.


Work and tourism in opposition.

People often seek contrast on their holiday. As a student in the United States you have way stronger regulations/rules to live by than a student in Norway may have. The students could, therefore, have an internal motive to escape the boring life of a student. As put by Sharpley, “people feel the need to travel not only because of the sense of meaninglessness and normlessness imposed upon them by modern society but also by the need to be recognized, to have their ego or confidence boosted, to personally and psychologically gain from tourism.” (Sharpley, 2006) Wheeller (1992) calls this “ego-tourism”. So the student goes to party on Spring Break in Los Angeles while the family with small children goes to Los Angeles for Disneyland.


Disneyland Park is more authentic and family-oriented than Disney
World. Disneyland Park had a rough start, but was completed in 1955. It cost 17
million USD to build. This was financed through a TV-series produced by Walt
Disney himself. Mr. Disney stated that “I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.” (Walt Disney) Dreams are part of peoples’ push/internal/intrinsic factors. Walt Disney’s vision and design of Disneyland Park led to a park that focused more on history and family than commercialism. Disney World on the other hand is meant as a consumer product and nothing more. This is an external factor that may persuade some tourists to go to one park over the other.  (Just Disney)


The imagination of childhood

People have less responsibilities on holiday than they do at home. When you attend Disneyland Park, you enter a “Magic Kingdom” where there are no worries about bills. Nor do you have any work tasks to complete. When you live in a hotel in the area, you do not have to think about cleaning, making food or other household chores. “So, tourists, while on holiday, are temporarily freed from the demands of their jobs, household’s chores, social commitments and, generally, the behavioral norms and values of their society.” (Sharpley 2006) And then you are also likely to spoil yourself. Is this not how we imagine it’s like to be a child?


Contrast vs. extension

People seek an opposition between work and tourism. “By saving up for the holiday, the tourist is able to indulge in a life-style that is in direct contrast to normal life; in compensation for what is missing at work and at home, the holiday represents an inversion of everyday life” (Sharpley, 2006). This means that a person who works in bank management (with responsibility) (extrinsic), might want a holiday where he can be totally clueless as to what is happening, and thereby getting a sense of freedom (intrinsic). A charter trip to Los Angeles might be a suitable fit for this person.


Other people seek to have a holiday as an extension of their work. If a person is highly interested in his field of studies, may that be work or otherwise, it is not unlikely that he will seek an extension of his work while on holiday. A professor in history may want to visit the pyramids and take notes. Perhaps a theme park operator in the United Kingdom may want to go to Disneyland Park in Los Angeles. “there is little distinction between patterns of work and patterns of leisure.” (Sharpley, 2006)


People are different

As you can see from the two paragraphs above, there is a big difference between people. Some may enjoy a holiday that is similar to the way they work, while others may prefer a contrast to their daily life when they go on a holiday. As within the fields of sociology and psychology there are few people in the extremes, but the tourist tends to lean more toward one (extension or opposition of work/studies) than the other when they are on one specific holiday. Either they travel on a pre-planned trip or they do things on impulse. Some travel with a company like SAGA (charter/package deals) while others pay for everything themselves, separately.


More people get to travel

The industrial revolution has made tourism widely available. Better technology improved the infrastructure dramatically. In the 18th century it took 60 days to go across the United States while today you can take the same trip in a plane in less than 6 hours. Then we have the internet which has improved the connectivity and options available to anyone who access it. “Ving er den i norge som ser ut til å ha utnyttet nettet som salgskanal best” (Aasbø, 2009) In 1998 Ving became the first in Norway to implement online ordering within the charter industry. The internet made it more accessible. This was a milestone, just like Virtual Reality tourism might eventually replace the tourism industry. (Sharpley, 2006).



As I have shown, both our external (pull/extrinsic) and internal (push/intrinsic) motivation for going on holiday varies greatly. “Having something to look forward to and to dream about, can be as equally exciting and beneficial (and in many cases more so) than the holiday itself. Thus, tourist motivation can be strictly linked with anticipation (Parrinello 1993)” (Sharpley, 2006). So we see that motivation remains a highly needed area of research within the field of tourism.


References APA style:

Asbø, M. (2009) De lærte oss og reise: 50 år med norsk charterturisme. Lundeby:

Colombus press

Just Disney: Disneyland history hentet fra

Goodall, B. (1991) Understanding holiday choise. London: Bellhaven press

Parrinello, G. (1993) Underdevelopment and Marxim. Dartford: Greenwich

University Press

Sharpley, R. (2006) Travel and tourism. Thousand oaks: Sage publications Inc. (US)

Wheller, B. (1992) Exo and ego tourism: New wave tourism. London: English tourist



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