Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Tourism Planning and Development Vol. 8 No. 2 pp.171-183


An area of particular interest for those researching in tourism entrepreneurship has been lifestyle entrepreneurs. Lifestyle entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by the need to succeed at living a certain quality of life by maintaining an income which allows them to survive (Deakins & Freel, 2006).

The dichotomy between entrepreneurs who develop businesses for profit and those who are motivated by lifestyle has formed the basis of much discussion about lifestyle entrepreneurs in the literature. Shaw & Williams (1998) have conceptualised two groups of lifestyle entrepreneurs constrained and non-constrained. This paper contributes to our understanding of lifestyle entrepreneurs by presenting six case studies of surf tourism lifestyle entrepreneurs to investigate common themes and characteristics.

This paper investigates lifestyle entrepreneurs in Ireland who have established surf businesses in the West of Ireland. Key questions posed include: are there commonalities between these entrepreneurs in terms of their background, both in terms of their business and private lives? Why did they embark on this particular entrepreneurial journey? How do they inter-relate with other local entrepreneurs? What are their visions for the future of their business? Has the business grown in size over time from how they first envisioned it? Have their original lifestyle goals shifted?

The empirical research, which comprises of in-depth interviews, provides rich data which brings us beyond the single issue of whether profits are a key motivation. By studying lifestyle entrepreneurs as a group on their own (rather than trying to compare them with regular entrepreneurs) we are free to investigate beyond the traditional constructs of business research which focuses primarily on profits, strategy and operations. In so doing we are able to add to knowledge regarding this already identified important group of tourism entrepreneurs. Findings show the importance of past travel experiences and that motives do change over time.