The English parish church: its relationship to the heritage visitor attraction market.

Gibson, R.W., 2004. The English parish church: its relationship to the heritage visitor attraction market. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This work examines a much overlooked and neglected part of the Heritage Visitor Attraction sector - namely parish church tourism in England. An estimated 12 million visits are made to parish churches outside normal worship and ritual. The aim of this research is twofold. First, is to discover more about the motivational behaviour and patterns of this large body of visitors and, secondly, to analyse the product being offered to them and the method of its delivery.

The initial chapters constitute reviews of both the appropriate literature, the growth of current UK heritage attraction industry and of the reasons why parish churches are now seen as a heritage attraction resource. Also reviewed are the current extent of parish church tourism and the likely organisations with some kind of interest in the subject.

To carry out the research, a mixed postmodernist methodology, employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, was adopted. Initially a typology of churches according to tourism potential was produced. This typology was used as the guideline for the selection of a group of fourteen churches in several parts of England for a fieldwork study of church visits. Almost nine hundred visitors were interviewed from May to December 2000 at the selected sites. A series of case studies was undertaken featuring a different selection churches of widely differing characteristics and also at different stages of development in their ability to meet visitor needs. Some further survey work on 'non-visitors' was undertaken to discover why churches might not appeal to them. This work was carried out in the vicinity of three of the sites used for the visitor survey.

The research findings led to the production of a Classification of Church Tourists and also a scale designed to value the location in terms of tourism potential, as location was found to be one the key components with major influence on the attractiveness of a church to potential tourists.

The other key component was found to be 'resources' of three quite different strands. How these resources are managed and then delivered to the visitor at parish level forms a substantial part of the latter part of the work. Some wider issues pertinent to future developments in church tourism are discussed in the closing chapter.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Gibson, R.W.
Date: 2004
ISBN: 9781369313369
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 03 Sep 2020 13:13
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2023 09:34

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