Wilderness Tourism Marketing | Leisure Management Dissertations

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Promoting Wilderness Tourism

Literature Review


Behavioural research on the study on wilderness destination is a relatively new development in the ecotourism industry. Promoting place marketing has become increasingly important within the tourist industry (Kang-Li 2008). There has been limited work done on promoting wilderness as a place of tourism.

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This research project aims to identify whether experiential marketing would have a greater impact than traditional marketing and branding approaches in promoting wilderness in tourism. The literature review will explore the concepts of Tourism, Wilderness, Place Marketing and Experiential Marketing, looking at past and present literature from various scholars and academics who have conducted extensive research on these subject areas. Arguments identifying gaps that exist within the literature will be presented, exploring the extent to which experiential marketing would be different and/or more effective than traditional marketing approaches.

The Evolution of Tourism and it’s relationship to Wilderness

In the early 19th century, the term “tourism” was used to describe the movement of people for pleasure (Smith, 1989). It is also written that a more convincing origin to present day tourism is centred on the medieval pilgrimages. There is a distinct difference between pilgrimage and tourism. One is a religious activity and the other is a secular (Theilmann 1987). However, as years have passed, there have been further attempts to define the term “tourism”. The United Nations Statistical Commission has accepted the following definition recommended by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), stating that tourism comprises: activities where people may travel to different places and stay away from their normal surroundings for not more than a year for leisure, business or any other purpose. (World Tourism Organisation, 1993). In a similar context in the UK the definition most often used was proposed by the Tourism Society in the early 1980’s: Tourism is defined as destinations where people would travel for temporary or short-term stay away from their natural environment to live, work or engage in activities as day visits or excursions (Tourism Society, 1982) Similarly, Jafari, 1977 argues that tourism is about the study of man away from his natural habitat, where the industry responds to his needs, and there an impact is created by him and the industry on the host social-cultural, economic and physical environment. In a simplistic form the term tourism could be understood as movement of people for pleasure or work. From the evidence presented above would it can be concluded from the above definitions that tourism would seem to be:

  • People who are away from their normal place of residence and will return back to their homes at some point in the future.
  • Visits that are only temporary or short term, but are not longer than 12 months in duration.

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