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In the Eye of the Beholder. Swedish Rural Tourism Operators' and Visitors' Views and Perceptions on Reused Agricultural Buildings

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Reutilization of agricultural buildings for rural tourism (RT) is an area that is significantly expanding today. Buildings originally constructed for agricultural production, processing and housing are an essential part of most RT operations, both as a key resource and a significant cost centre. This study compared the perceptions of RT operators about visitors' opinions of buildings with visitors' actual opinions and attempted to identify the building feature preferences of tourists. The empirical evidence was collected using a 0–4 grade Likert-scale questionnaire that was either internet-based or provided in printed form. The results showed that RT operators partially misinterpreted how visitors view and experience reused buildings and the services therein. Although visitors found building technological factors to be less important than operators did, in a comparison of aggregated tourism-related and building-related factors both operators and visitors considered building-related factors to be of higher importance. Operators correctly believed that visitors view “atmosphere” and “style/character” as the most important factors. Consequently, the use of high-tech materials (e.g. insulation) and technology (e.g. computerized ventilation) are acceptable to visitors as long as the traditional character and atmosphere of rural buildings are retained. The results can be used to guide RT operators in building renovations/re-utilizations for their operations and to make financial savings.
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Keywords: Attitude; architecture; farm building; farm tourism; perception; reutilization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Rural Buildings,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden 2: Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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