2.2 The Tourist’s Role in Defining the City

2.2 The Tourist’s Role in Defining the City

“Central to tourist consumption then is to look individually or collectively upon aspects of landscape or townscape which are distinctive, which signify an experience which contrasts with everyday experience.” (Urry 1995; p.132)

John Urry examines in length the role that tourism plays identifying that the tourist’s quest is one of wanting a ‘typical’ experience of another place and they recognise iconic signs as being evocative of a true genuine experience synonymous with that place.4 The tourist is seeking a ‘typical’ experience of another place and recognises iconic signs as being evocative of a true, genuine experience. Urry identifies two different types of tourists, both seeking the ultimate travel experience. The first type is that of the romantic tourist who is seeking an exclusive solitary experience, one that appears ‘authentic’ and unspoilt by the presence of other tourists.5 However, the collective tourist is one who wants to experience the atmosphere created by others, who wishes to be somewhere because it is seen by everyone as significant.6

4.  “Moreover, the gaze is constructed through signs and tourism involves the collection of such signs.”  Urry, J. (1995). Consuming Places.  p.133

5. However, authenticity is often staged for the purposes of tourism, creating an artificial experience supposedly evocative of the ‘genuine’ authentic experience. The tourist often tries to seek out an ‘authentic experience’ yet often tourism operators construct artificial sites to occupy the inquisitive tourist, keeping them away therefore from the domain of local occupation. Urry, J. (1995). Consuming Places.  p.138-139

6.  Their experience is signposted with “markers which identify what things and places are worthy of our gaze.”  Urry, J. (1995). Consuming Places.  p.139

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