Critical reflections on the role of interpretation in visitor management

Moscardo, Gianna (2017) Critical reflections on the role of interpretation in visitor management. In: Albrecht , Julia N., (ed.) Visitor Management in Tourism Destinations. Tourism Management Research . CABI , Wallingford, UK, pp. 170-187.

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Abstract

[Extract] Interpretation is often described as a key visitor management (VM) tool in leisure and recreation settings (Moscardo and Ballantyne, 2008). Definitions of interpretation typically focus on its management roles or functions, with general agreement that interpretation aims to create positive visitor experiences and to increase visitor knowledge about the places and/or people being interpreted (Moscardo, 2008). In the dominant information-processing or didactic approach to interpretation it is argued that this increased knowledge combined with positive experience supports VM strategies by making visitors more open to accepting and following management advice about things like appropriate and minimal impact behaviours both at the site and beyond (Copeland, 2006; Ablett and Dyer, 2009). This approach is not, however universally accepted, with the emergence of alternative perspectives on both the value and nature of interpretation as a VM tool. A consideration of these alternative approaches suggests some new ways to think about and use interpretation in VM.

This chapter begins with a review of definitions of interpretation, noting its relationships with other forms of communication between management and visitors. This is followed by a brief history of interpretation and VM that highlights the evolution of a range of management functions for interpretation. The evidence that interpretation is an effective VM tool is then critically reviewed, highlighting those factors that have been shown to be consistently related to positive outcomes. The chapter also examines recent critiques of interpretation and explores broader issues about the impacts that interpretation can have on destination communities, with the aim of identifying principles for the more effective use of interpretation in VM. It concludes by looking at future opportunities for interpretation and sustainable tourism.

Item ID: 48082
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-78064-735-7
Keywords: tourism management, visitor management, interpretation
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2017 23:11
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150603 Tourism Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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