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Discusses the importance of unexpected experiences as a major motivation for tourist travel.
Prof. Alan A. Lew Dept. of Geography, Planning & Recreation Northern Arizona University AlanLew.com Tourism Incognita: On the Edge of Destination Places Nanjing University, Nanjing, China 12 November 2012 Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources. Herbert Spencer, 19th c. British philosopher Dubai, U.A.E. & The Musandam, Oman Palm Islands Burj Khalifa & The World construction Burj Al Arab & Jumera Beach Hotels Shopping in Dubai Musandam Peninsula, Oman Bukha Castle in Bukha, Oman “dhow” – fishing boat in Khasab, Oman I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before. Robert Mapplethorpe, Photographer Terra Incognita North America - 1566 • Latin “Land Unknown” • Cartography: Regions not yet mapped or documented – 16th – 19th centuries – European Age of Exploration – Earlier cartographers used “HIC SVNT LEONES” (Here Be Lions) Terra Incognita as Geographic Imagination The Tourist’s Terra Incognita • Terra Cognita: place and spaces that are known to tourists, or at least to the mass tourism industry – most often listed in tourist guide books • Terra Intimidus: known places that are avoided by most tourists – reputation for danger, risk, or discomfort - intimidating places • Terra Incognita: unknown to tourists – “inept sites” = unknown places that have tourism potential – “inert sites” = tourists have no special need to know about – = most of the world Lew & McKercher (2006) Safety and Risk • The Unknown = Lack of Certainty = Fear – Uncertainty = lack of / imperfect place knowledge – Reasons for tourist “guides” • Cultural Theory of Risk (Douglas 1992) – Perceptions of Danger & Reduction of Risk = Basis of Culture • Social norms prevent social and natural disruptions • Some cultures & people more risk averse than others • Tourism Environments – Almost Always Structured for Safety – Creating models of Efficiency, Predictability & Control • Theme parks, cruise ships, hotels; shopping malls Tourist Motivation • Are Efficiency, Predictability & Control the primary experiential goals of leisure time? – If yes, then just stay home and watching television • Variations in Risk Tolerance among tourists – Safe, Familiar & Guided v. Risk, Novelty & Exploration – Plog’s (1974) Psychocentric - Allocentric Model A Tourism Incognita Framework Tourism Cognita Tourism Incognita Home & Destination Periphery & Beyond Known / Safe Unknown / Risk Home Destination Periphery Cognitive Experiences in Tourism “TOURISM COGNITA” “TOURISM INCOGNITA” • Iconic / Mass Tourism • Individual / Unique • Planned / Predictable • Unplanned / Serendipity • Safe / Familiar / Easy • Risk / Exotic / Challenge • Passive / Educational • Adventure / Exciting • Staged / Contrived • Authentic • Front Region • Back Region • Role Conformity • Role Transformation • “Psychocentric” • “Allocentric” • “Evoked” Sites • “Inert & Inept“ Sites I thought that one thing was going to happen, but something else entirely happened. Kathryn Shulz, Journalist and Author Angkor Wat & The Tonle Sap, Cambodia Angkor Wat Ta Prom & Pre Rup Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me. Carl Sandburg, 20th c. American author and poet Marketing Tourism Incognita • What would the marketing of tourism incognita look like? • How can tourists be encouraged to explore terra intimidus and terra incognita? • How does tourism incognita exist in our contemporary tourism economy? • Finding Tourism Incognita – Known, Unknown & Avoided Geographic Places • Easy to identify and map – “Alternative Tourisms” • Most likely to playing in tourism incognita Playing with Tourism Incognita • 1 - Adventure Tourism – Outdoor environments, physical challenges – Thrill experiences: White water rafting, Scuba diving, Trekking – Active tourism (sport activity) & Extreme tourism (very high risk) • 2 - Volunteer Tourism – NGO/non-profits: Faith-based groups, Environmental advocates, Scientific and museum societies – Possibly alleviates the guilt of mass tourism – Serious Tourism - Most tourists are not interested • Both: – Immersive Experiences – Promise of Entering Back / Hidden Regions – Highly Structured Experiences Other Alternative to Mass Tourism • Slum Tourism • Industrial Tourism • Ecotourism • Village Homestays • Disaster Tourism • Working Farm or Ranch Stays • Religious Tourism & Pilgrimages • Working Mine Tours • Aboriginal and other Ethnic • Extreme Tourism Tourisms • Mostly Benign Regions of Tourism Incognita • Transcending the Superficial and Commercial • Authentic, meaningful & back region experiences • Reality Spaces & Serious Tourism • Ethical Issues: Wealth, Power, Class relationships Unplanned & Unguided Tourism • Unguided Tourism – “wanderlust” - “drifter” – “Traveler” – "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving" - Lao-Tzu • Degrees of Unguiding – Tourists slip in and out of guided & unguided states • Unguided Travel Games / Untours – Simultaneously structured & open, guided & random – To transcend the structure • Mission:Explore website - “to experience the world in new ways by doing vitally important random and warped challenges”. Self-Guided Tourisms • Free and Easy Tour Packages – Transportation & Accommodations – Tourist fills in other activities • Self-Guided Travel – By-pass Travel Agents – Self-guided Walking and Driving Tours • Greater risk and responsibility for outcomes – if it is exceptionally good, then it could be an experience of a lifetime. Structure or Agency or Both? • All Examples Above – Structured in the tourism economy – Extending tourism economy into tourism incognita – Guided in some way (person or paper) – Mostly insured against harm to tourists = safety bubble • But also: – Self-reflective - Seeking Opportunities for authentic encounters with terra intimidus and terra incognita – Aware of becoming too commercialized and mass tourism oriented If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail. Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, 500 BCE Manado & The Lembeh Strait, Indonesia Crested Black Macaque Babirusa Tarsiers The Lembeh Strait Coral Triangle Muck Diving in the Lembeh Strait Small is Beautiful Squat (or Hairy) Lobster Nudibranch “Sea Slugs” Pygmy Seahorse Pregnant ~ 1 to 2 cm tall Creativity comes from looking for the unexpected and stepping outside your own experience. Masaru Ibuka, co-founder, Sony Corporation Conclusions 1. Curiosity / Novelty Seeking – Drives Learning, Innovation & Creativity • Emotional Extremes – Risk of Disappointment - Opportunity for Euphoria – Tourism would not exist if people were not curious about other places • Potential for euphoria, insights or discoveries 2. Serendipity – Unplanned Opportunities – job, career, friendship, & more… Tourism Incognita – Holds the greatest curiosity for the tourist – Drive for discovery shared by explorers, travelers & tourists A Tourism Incognita Model TOURISM COGNITA - Terra Domus (house) - Terra Viator (traveler) TOURISM INCOGNITA - Terra Intimidus - Terra Incognita Balancing Safety & Risk • Tourists & Destinations are Complex – Knowns & Unknowns, Safety & Risk, Desires/Attraction & Revulsions/Rejection • Safety is Absolute in Tourism Marketing – Safety builds trust needed to for tourists to spend money • Few market Unknowns, Uncertainties & Risks • Most prefer sure things with lower rewards over risk • But … Risk is Essential in Marketing Imagination • Beyond the day-to-day routine – Adventure tourism & Amusement rides = Safe Thrills – “Exotic” Destinations = Insights into “Tourism Incognita” You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Paulo Coelho, Brazilian author and music lyricist The earth is big enough, people are small enough, and life is unpredictable enough that there will always be new realms of tourism incognita to lure us out of terra domus and beyond terra viator in search of insight, discovery and exhilaration.
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