Fanatics, fans or just good fun? Travel behaviours and motivations of the fanatic
Star Trekkers, hot-rodders, Elvis impersonators and NASCAR nuts all travel in order to indulge their interests, but who are these people and how far will they go to fulfil their fanatical dreams? This study attempts to discover more about this little understood tourist market, their needs and behaviours. The article draws together the disparate literature on fanaticism to present a model from which further analysis can occur. Accordingly, the examination begins with a psycho/social perspective of fanatics that identifies their behaviours generally, and further as consumers. The analysis is followed by melding tourism and recreation literature to establish an enhanced understanding of the leisure fanatic. The examination illuminates the concept of travel as being a function of the fanatic's make-up and, as such, the study points to the types of touristic activities they will undertake. Similarly, the role of special events is discussed as being of high importance to the needs and desires of the fanatic in providing the right environment to pursue their passions. In a final aspect to the study, negative aspects of fanatics are highlighted which may affect their travel behaviours in certain situations. The article examines the implications for those in the fields of tourism and leisure management, where special interest tourism, or niche tourism, is of increasing interest.
Journal of Vacation Marketing