Distracted gaze: Problematic use of mobile technologies in vacation contexts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Digital technology has undeniably altered the way tourists experience destinations. Yet, the problematic use of smartphones and similar mobile devices in vacation contexts has received limited attention. Using descriptive and interpretive approaches, this study explores tourists' experiences and perspectives on the impact or lack thereof of continual engagement with mobile media devices on their tourism experiences. The broad-spectrum view was that mobile distraction takes “something” away from individual tourist experiences as well as travel groups' experiences, although interpretations of the significance of this forfeiture varied considerably. Findings highlight the perceived repercussions of various forms of digital distractions for the quality and scope of the tourist's consumption of sights and sounds; the tourist's wellbeing; social interactions; and the experiences of ‘others’. However, some tourists' cognizance of these deleterious effects may not necessarily translate into mindful use of mobile technologies in the holiday context. Findings hold key implications for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalTourism Management Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Digital distraction
  • Divided attention
  • Multitasking
  • Smartphones
  • Social media
  • Technology paradoxes
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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