Edited by Nancy Duxbury and Greg Richards
Chapter 4: The value of experience in culture and tourism: the power of emotions
Due to the rising trend of cultural tourism, in recent decades a number of places have turned into destinations. This has often resulted in strong commodification of culture whereas cultural assets and local population suffer from great numbers of tourism consumers. At the same time, the tourist experience in such conditions is of a low value. So how to leave a positive impression of a destination, and how to create meaningful visits? Experience economy research may have answers to these questions. A destination image is acquired through spontaneous or created experiences. While it is difficult to manage spontaneous experiences, it is possible to create authentic and pleasant ones that may even be controlled in order to leave positive impacts both on tourists and locals as well as on cultural tourism resources. Such experiences are based on creating different innovative, spectacular, and sensory stimuli that engage tourists to identify with them and/or to participate and co-create. To achieve a ‘real’ response in a tourism experience, it is necessary to stimulate emotions with which tourists are able to identify. Although creative tourism represents a shift from ‘ordinary’ cultural tourism by engaging visitors in the creation of their own experiences, most creative tourism programmes have started to look alike: offering visitors active participation in courses and learning experiences which may be authentic and pleasant but not necessarily stimulating and meaningful emotions. The chapter provides a transdisciplinary theoretical background on experience creation drawing from the fields of psychology, culture, and tourism to progress towards a new concept, tourist emotional engagement (TEE). TEE is put forward as a means to deeper creative tourism experiences, providing an original theoretical construct for creative tourism with added value. It is further tested on an innovative Croatian case study, the Museum of Broken Relationships, based on experience co-(re)creation.
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