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Presentations of the Orient: Singapore and UK Tour Operator Brochures Compared

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Promotional literature in general and tour operator brochures in particular are often criticized for the misleading way in which they portray destinations. Representations of the Far East by the West are seen as especially false and inaccurate, employing stereotypical and patronizing images and using the language of social control and imperialism. This study assesses these arguments within the context of the presentation of the Oriental destination of China by tour operators from Singapore and the UK, and explores similarities and differences in approach. While the preliminary nature of the research is emphasized, results suggest that there are few significant contrasts between the sets of brochures. Exaggerated language is used to describe the sights to be seen on touring itineraries and some of the pictorial views are romanticized in both cases, but reference is made to more modern environments and lifestyles and there is no conclusive evidence that a process of Western domination is at work. However, further examination is required of the psychological, sociological, and political dimensions of the tour operator brochure in order to fully appreciate its role and cross-cultural differences.
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Keywords: Destination portraya; Key words: Tourism brochures

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Publication date: 01 February 2001

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  • 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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