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The Social Construction of Tourist Places

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Ordinary places become tourist places when they are attributed particular meanings and values which appeal to and attract tourists. In this sense, tourist places are socially constructed and negotiated phenomena. This paper explores place meanings in the context of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation area, Far North Queensland, Australia. Two components of place meaning were examined. Firstly, the meanings of place produced by the tourist industry and, secondly, the meanings of place consumed by tourists visiting the area. There existed significant overlap between these constructions in spite of potentially conflicting on-site evidence, suggesting that actual experience of place does not significantly affect place meanings. This was confirmed by a comparison between different groups of tourists, which revealed that the meaning attributed to place was influenced by pre-visitation variables, including existing knowledge, and environmental preferences and experience. A conceptual model of tourist places is proposed, which argues that the success of a tourist place depends on the level of consensus on meanings negotiated between the systems of place production and place consumption.
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Keywords: DAINTREE AND CAPE TRIBULATION AREA; FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND; PLACE MEANINGS; PLACE PROMOTION; QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT; SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONS; TOURISM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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