Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Science


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Patricia Sherwood

Second Advisor

Stuart Devenish


This thesis describes a research project in the South West Tapestry Region of Western Australia which uses phenomenological method to investigate the experiences of farm tourism hosts and guests. The overall aim of the research was to identify motivations of both hosts and guests in order to determine to what degree farm tourism in the SWTR provides the kind of holiday experience people are seeking. Phenomenology was chosen as a flexible yet rigorous methodology for researching lived experience, which would enable an in-depth understanding of motivations surrounding hosting farm tourism and choosing a farm tourism holiday. The initial stage of the project involved the collection of sociodemographic data from farm tourism operators with the purpose of documenting the current status of farm tourism in the region, and to build a regional profile as a context for the phenomenological investigation. Stage I of the research produced some significant findings in terms of expansion in the self-catering sector, seasonal demand patterns and visitor sources, all of which have obvious implications for future development and sustainability of farm tourism in the region. The research found that the amount of time hosts spent with guests in activities was a more important factor in the development of close relationships than accommodation type. The phenomenological investigation found hosts to be highly motivated to provide an enjoyable holiday experience on the farm for their guests, meaningful activities for children, and an opportunity for people to relax and recover from the stresses of city life. They enjoyed meeting new people and engaging in social activities with guests. There were some tensions, particularly around shared space, which need further investigation. The guests' motivations indicated they were seeking the sorts of experiences hosts were able to provide, which augurs well for the sector in terms of future business development. There was a preference from both groups for developing friendships with people who shared a common interest.

Included in

Tourism Commons