Pluralization of production and consumption roles in tourism? An entrepreneurial perspective on proximity tourism.

Jelmer Jeuring

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    Tourism activities in peripheral, rural areas of countries around the North Sea often are an important factor in strengthening the regional economy. Often, strong emphasis is put on attracting visitors from outside these regions, hereby ‘copy-pasting’ the understanding of touristic roles and destination imaginaries that are hegemonic in an international tourism context (Jeuring, 2015). This one-sided emphasis can be problematic for several reasons. For example, because much of the tourism activity in such regions is strongly domestic or even intra-regional, with vacationers living nearby their holiday destinations. Taking these tourists for granted and failing to understand the perceptions and motivations of ‘proximity tourists’ (Díaz Soria & Llurdés Coit, 2013; Jeuring & Haartsen, 2016) can result in a disconnectedness between a region as tourism destination and the various ways residents engage with the places they live in (Dredge & Jenkins, 2003; van Rekom & Go, 2006). As such, it is justified to reconsider whether prevailing dichotomized perceptions and imaginaries of production and consumption roles (Braun, Kavaratzis, & Zenker, 2013), such as tourists, residents, guests or hosts, can be maintained in these localized tourism contexts and how they interact or overlap. In this vein, we seek to better understand how tourism entrepreneurs in Friesland, a province in the north of The Netherlands, perceive 1). different roles of local stakeholders -particularly residents- in relation to their tourism businesses, 2). the extent to which proximity tourists are perceived to be a viable segment of tourists and 3). the potential benefits of tourism activities in people’s everyday environment. Qualitative analysis of interview data reveals the relative importance of various roles attributed to entrepreneurs themselves, to local residents and to the region of Friesland as tourism destination. The results point to complex relations between polarized dichotomies and hybrid roles where stakeholders often are simultaneously consumers and producers, tourists and residents, guests and hosts and where roles change throughout the life course.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29-Sept-2016
    Event25th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research: Balancing Dichotomies - Turku, Finland
    Duration: 28-Sept-201630-Sept-2016


    Conference25th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research
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