Production and consumption in the tourist-historic city

Voase, Richard (1999) Production and consumption in the tourist-historic city. In: Consuming Markets, Consuming Meanings: 1st International Conference on Consumption and Representation, 1-3 September 1999, University of Plymouth.

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Abstract

This paper is about the way in which 'places' are consumed. It is also about the way in which places are 'produced' in order to be consumed, by tourists, with the aim of accruing economic benefits. The particular place which features in this paper is the City of York. This is a city whose historic built environment has largely escaped the effects of industrial development and war. For this reason it satisfies a salient characteristic of some of the newer forms of tourism which have proliferated in the last twenty years, which involve the visitation of unspoiled environments of both the built and natural kinds: representing, one might say, a postmodern yearning for a pre-modern past. The supply-side response to this demand has become known as the 'heritage industry' and involves the commodification of 'the past', in its natural, built and symbolic forms, in order to make such environments consumable. In 1994, the York City Council commissioned a report from a firm of consultants to advise on action needed to secure the city's future as a tourist destination. Their report recommended that a new major visitor attraction be created, referred to variously as an 'icon' and a 'must-see' attraction, in order to secure the future of the already-healthy tourist industry in the city (Touche Ross 1994). I had doubts as to whether this proposal would benefit York's tourism in the way intended. To explore these doubts, I embarked on an examination of the theoretical background behind the kind of advice offered by the consultants. I also looked at what social science could reveal about the nature of consumption of tourist sites. The findings were published in Leisure Studies (Voase 1999).

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:This paper is about the way in which 'places' are consumed. It is also about the way in which places are 'produced' in order to be consumed, by tourists, with the aim of accruing economic benefits. The particular place which features in this paper is the City of York. This is a city whose historic built environment has largely escaped the effects of industrial development and war. For this reason it satisfies a salient characteristic of some of the newer forms of tourism which have proliferated in the last twenty years, which involve the visitation of unspoiled environments of both the built and natural kinds: representing, one might say, a postmodern yearning for a pre-modern past. The supply-side response to this demand has become known as the 'heritage industry' and involves the commodification of 'the past', in its natural, built and symbolic forms, in order to make such environments consumable. In 1994, the York City Council commissioned a report from a firm of consultants to advise on action needed to secure the city's future as a tourist destination. Their report recommended that a new major visitor attraction be created, referred to variously as an 'icon' and a 'must-see' attraction, in order to secure the future of the already-healthy tourist industry in the city (Touche Ross 1994). I had doubts as to whether this proposal would benefit York's tourism in the way intended. To explore these doubts, I embarked on an examination of the theoretical background behind the kind of advice offered by the consultants. I also looked at what social science could reveal about the nature of consumption of tourist sites. The findings were published in Leisure Studies (Voase 1999).
Keywords:York, consumption, tourist, experience, authentic, bmjanomaly
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N830 UK Tourism
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:5547
Deposited By: Richard Voase
Deposited On:22 May 2012 10:32
Last Modified:22 May 2012 13:09

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