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Children as Eco-literate Tourists: The Contribution of Outdoor Residential Centres in the United Kingdom

Karen Cripps (University of Winchester, UK)

Children in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

ISBN: 978-1-80117-657-6, eISBN: 978-1-80117-656-9

Publication date: 7 March 2022


School trips to Outdoor Residential Centres can represent a significant and formative childhood tourism experience that can potentially influence adult tourism and leisure choices. Commonly located in ‘green spaces’ which range from peri-urban through to wild and natural landscapes, these centres offer adventurous outdoor activities. Alongside developmental and educational learning, children are immersed in nature experiences that can enable emotional connections with local environments. This chapter is based on a UK context, in which current policymaking is concerned with increasing inclusivity of access to British landscapes, in which many of these centres are located. It is argued here that Outdoor Residential Centres enable childhood experiences that can influence future consumer choices, alongside shaping support for the future protection of natural landscapes.

As a markedly under-explored area of the literature in the United Kingdom, this conceptual review of the literature sets out the imperative for understanding the vital role of Outdoor Residential Centres in shaping tourism futures. Through bringing together environmental education and psychology with tourism management literature, the chapter identifies the imperative for further research to enable nature connections through Outdoor Residential Centre experiences. This responds to the UK policy agenda to increase nature connections and support conservation. The application of a ‘sustainable children typology’ to a Welsh case study demonstrates how Residential Outdoor Centres enable children's empowerment through outdoor learning experiences that shape them as ‘sustainability thinkers’ and to potentially influence pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours as ‘sustainability transformers’ – and ultimately, eco-literate tourists.



Cripps, K. (2022), "Children as Eco-literate Tourists: The Contribution of Outdoor Residential Centres in the United Kingdom", Séraphin, H. (Ed.) Children in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 41-54.



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