Investigating Urban Exploration in a Tourism Context: The Interplay of Authenti-seeking and Sensation-seeking in Urban Exploration

Lisa Mochow & Lukas Elias Kohl

Student thesis: Master thesis


This Master thesis investigates the phenomenon Urban Exploration (UE) in a tourism context. Urban Explorers are dedicated to access urban infrastructure and man-made environments that are abandoned or disused, often without permission to do so. Authenti-seeking and sensation-seeking are two motivational dimensions that have been identified from the extant literature. The aim of this study is to examine the demand for a form of tourism related to UE. Therefore, the focus has been placed on investigating the effect of authenti-seeking and sensation-seeking towards the tendency to perform UE. The theoretical point of departure lies within the literature dealing with UE, in which the increasing demand for extraordinary, challenging and new experiences is portrayed. To understand their expected importance for the tendency to perform UE, the aforementioned dimensions are reviewed in detail. The relationship between the constructs was investigated in an explanatory study using self-administered questionnaires as the quantitative research method of choice. Additionally, the questionnaire comprised elements of exploratory nature to gain further insights. The results of the study reveal that the dimension sensation-seeking has a strong effect on the tendency towards UE while authenti-seeking exhibits no meaningful effect on the tendency towards performing UE. Regarding the relationship between the constructs, no significant differences between age and gender could be identified. Insignificant differences between these groups have been recorded for the tendency towards UE itself. The majority of individuals with high authentiseeking and sensation-seeking attributes and behaviour also show a high tendency towards UE and vice versa. The minority of individuals were found to be seeking only one of the dimensions as their tendency towards UE is low on average. The main motivations for performing UE are escapism, otherness, excitement, personal meaning and aesthetical considerations regarding architecture. All these findings are valuable for characterizing and understanding explorers and individuals that seek holiday experiences that entail elements of UE. What is more, practical implications for tour operators specifically and destination marketing in general, regarding demand characteristics of potential visitors, are being presented.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages143
SupervisorsFlorian Kock