Contemporary Travel Writers in the Digital Age

Madelene McWha

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Contemporary travel writers are working in a transformative time with the rapid development of online technologies, such as social media, blogs and electronic books. A gap in the academic literature was identified regarding the dynamism of this environment and in particular its affects on travel writers’ experiences. Long in-depth interviews were hence conducted with 47 authors from a range of backgrounds, including travel blogging, guidebook writing and journalism, largely from Australia, NZ, UK and USA. Data exposed a multiplicity of issues. First, the online realm was identified as instrumental for networking, which could lead to collaborations and partnerships with publishers and a sense of connectedness with the travel writing community. Second, many interacted with readers online, which encouraged them to build or enhance these relationships. Third, the digital age has provided a space for travel writers to shape an online version of their self. Traditionally, many travel writers have depended on editors and publishers to develop their brand and get their name publicised, whereas now, writers are becoming specialists in social media and self-promotion. Fourth and last, a minority voiced caution regarding the immediacy of social media, which they felt did not allow for adequate reflection and hence might affect the quality of travel writing. This concern also extended to providing publishers with free content, which some of the more professional writers felt devalued their profession. These findings suggest that what it means to be a travel writer in the twenty-first century is changing and that they are branching into new roles.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventTravel and Tourism Research Association Asia Pacific Chapter conference - Middlesex University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 2 Dec 20164 Dec 2016
Conference number: 4


ConferenceTravel and Tourism Research Association Asia Pacific Chapter conference
Abbreviated titleTTRA APac conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
Internet address

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