An Analysis of Culture as a Tourism Commodity

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The notion of culture has been the object of multidisciplinary studies attempting, with difficulty, to define this polyhedral social concept expressed in symbolic representations. Culture has a significant role in tourism functioning as an internationally promoted commodity, a role that has often been the subject of debates among academics concerned about the vilification of culture's primary social role. This article analyzes the complexity of the concept of culture in combination with the characteristics of a product, as conceived in marketing, focusing on the levels of product theory from Kotler and Armstrong. The research is based on secondary data analysis in the discussion. This incorporates culture's symbolic representations, its tangibility and intangibility, its multiplicity of interpretations and meanings, the ambiguous status of ownership by the buyer and its versatility to satisfy consumers' needs while functioning as a unit of identification for a society. As a product culture presents a unique configuration with a construct of four different dimensions highlighting the need for special consideration in culture's marketing process. The research could also be considered as a platform for future investigations on the subject and as supporting material in education.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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