Project Description

Human-animal interactions exist in multiple forms and play a role within the tourism industry. While the field of equestrian tourism has a growing body of literature discussing human-horse relationships, literature related to donkey tourism still lags behind. Existing academic literature focuses on the role of the donkey as a passive transport animal. This report analyses the experience of donkey trips in France and the resulting human-animal relationships. A qualitative data analysis has been performed, analysing provider websites as well as reviews and blogs from tourists. Furthermore, the theoretical frameworks of animal co-creation and slow tourism have been used. Results show that there exist multiple dimensions of human-donkey relationships in donkey trips: besides the already studied role of the donkey as a carrier, the donkey is also seen as a friend and companion; a guide; and a social mediator. The donkey plays an active role in the experience since he determines the pace, navigates the tourists and creates social interaction. Donkey trips thus seem to include animal co-creation. Besides, donkey trips can be seen as slow tourism activities since they include several slow tourism elements with regards to time, place, people, travel and the personal.

Author: V. Stevens (2019)