Altered images? The case of the cultural tour route

Oliver, T.M., 2002. Altered images? The case of the cultural tour route. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Organised tours are one of the main ways that tourists experience cultural destinations. They are often described as 'a destination bubble', conveying a sense of isolation rather than involvement. The extent to which tour participants interact with and learn about destinations is not well understood, although the acquisition of knowledge is frequently cited as significant in peoples' decisions to travel by this mode. This research investigates cultural tour participants' experiences, and specifically addresses the extent to which participants' images of their destinations change or remain unaltered after their visit, and whether satisfaction from a tour can be linked to the degree of informal learning gained about the route.

The concepts of tourism and cultural tourism are explored; definitions of 'culture' and theories on how culture is used, transformed and 'consumed' by tourists, are presented. The nature of the 'cultural route' is examined and two principal types are distinguished; those from antiquity, and tour routes operating in cultural destinations. The organised cultural tour, its origins and development are explored.

The empirical research was developed from environmental psychology, employing route mapping to elicit information about tour members' knowledge before and after touring. Judgement and convenience-based sampling were used to select a cultural destination and Ireland was chosen because it presented elements common to many non-specialised tour itineraries in Europe. A multi-method approach combined qualitative and quantitative techniques in the analyses of cognitive maps, and triangulated the findings with those from focused interviews and participant observation.

The study successfully accomplished its objectives in finding that tourists' images changed in magnitude as the tour had enforced already well-defined images, hi particular, tour members' knowledge of places positioned sequentially along a route tended to increase. The research has contributed significantly to the understanding of tourists' map formation processes and it was found that information sources are particularly important, although information about a destination may be stored in people's memories regardless of whether they have actually visited that destination. Indirect sources of information were not usually supplemented by new sources acquired at tour destinations. The thesis concludes by exploring the implications of the primary findings for academic study and the management of the cultural tours sector.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Oliver, T.M.
Date: 2002
ISBN: 9781369313871
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 18 Sep 2020 07:35
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2023 09:31

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