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Sailing the tide of over consumption: applying a business history approach to explore the rising demand of luxury yachts and travel since 1979

Duncan Philip Connors (Otago Business School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 26 May 2023

Issue publication date: 28 July 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify how the socio-economic trends caused by the economic deregulation of the last four decades have led to a high-net-worth strata of individuals and families that conspicuously consumes luxury items and are the main customers in the luxury yacht market.

Design/methodology/approach

A selected cross-section review and discussion of relevant publications and theories within the field of tourism, social sciences, business and economic history are synthesised with relevant data to outline the factors leading to socio-economic change and conspicuous consumption.

Findings

This paper advocates for the synthesis of scholarly techniques found within the discipline of Business History to illuminate the development of a luxury yachting industry over the past four decades. Using the varieties of capitalism approach this paper demonstrates that the local characteristics of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in combination with the international globalisation and trade deregulation since 1980 has led to a new super wealthy class that engages in conspicuous consumption. Using a schema based on critical juncture theory, light has been shed on the specific factors underpinning the demand for luxury yachts as part of this conspicuous consumption.

Originality/value

This paper adds a new set of methodologies and theoretical tools to the student of luxury tourism that embed the practice within the context of socio-economic changes brought forth by economic globalisation since 1979, opening up new avenues of research.

Keywords

Citation

Connors, D.P. (2023), "Sailing the tide of over consumption: applying a business history approach to explore the rising demand of luxury yachts and travel since 1979", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 340-348. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-03-2023-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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