Tourism is a spatial phenomenon. Tourist behaviour on-site is not only dependent on the destination itself, but also on the situation in other places, tourists’ spatial mobility and access to information. On the basis of this argument, the whole tourism system is taken into account in this thesis. The aim is to analyse the interplay between mobility, tourist behaviour and guidebooks. The focus lies on German tourists in Sweden. Due to the importance of guidebooks to this visitor group, the thesis concentrates particularly on guidebooks as source of information.
In the first article, power relations that steer the selection of Swedish tourist sites in German guidebooks are analysed. The results show that the selection of tourist sites is dependent on personal, editorial, geographical, economic and tourism-sociological factors. The production of information is dependent on a complex web of power relations, the core of which is constituted by authors, publishers and readers.
In the second article, the content in German guidebooks on Sweden is analysed. Besides Stockholm and Northern Lapland, the regions presented most frequently are usually located in the south of the country. It is found that guidebooks influence German tourists’ choices of tourist sites in Sweden, and that this influence increases with the distance from Germany. The study also shows that guidebooks contribute to constructing tourism space and providing places with meaning.
In the third article, it is shown that information and time availability influence tourist mobility. The existence of an individual travel rhythm is confirmed, which is defined as a travel pattern that is independent of the tourist sites that are visited. It includes, among other things, long travel distances the first and last days of the holiday, a short first stay-over, the longest stay in the region with the greatest distance from home, and a relation between the length of stay at one place and the distance covered when departing.
In the last article, tourist behaviour is analysed. The results dispel the predominant impression in current tourism discourse that states that tourists are continually active during their holidays. It is found that the major difference between home and tourist behaviour is not constituted by the activities themselves, but by a difference in place, followed by a slower pace in which activities are performed and a limited time period. Spatial mobility, the characteristics of place and access to information all influence tourist behaviour on-site.
In conclusion, it is found that tourist information, mobility and behaviour on the spot are closely connected. Tourists consume the tourism space created in guidebooks, and recreate this space when travelling, as they choose individually how to respond to the information provided. Actors, places and tourist structures all exist in relation to each other. For the resulting behaviour in place, this means that it is not only the supply at the destination that is important, but also the situation in tourists’ home regions and along their travel routes.