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The concept of nostalgia has drawn significant attention from diverse disciplines for its powerful impact on contemporary individuals’ mind and behaviors. However, the study of tourism has been negligent on exploring the association between nostalgia and heritage tourism despite its increasing importance. This note, in recognition of this research gap, offers a chance to understand the role of nostalgia within the heritage tourism context. As there are two types of nostalgia, personal nostalgia and historical nostalgia, particular attention is given to the importance of historical nostalgia (a sentimental yearning for the past beyond one’s living memory). It is argued that the role of historical nostalgia in heritage tourism can be better understood through the reciprocal relationship between sociocultural conditions, the culture industry, and heritage tourism institutions. This note uses the Texas Renaissance Festival to illustrate how historical nostalgia arises from such dynamic interplay. It is interpreted that the Texas Renaissance Festival can be conceived of as a simulacrum where nostalgic desires are stimulated through active consumption of positive images of the past. Several suggestions for future research are made at the end of the note.

Keywords: Culture industry; Heritage tourism; Nostalgia; Renaissance Festival

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2261

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.

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