Popular culture as a powerful destination marketing tool: an Australian study

Radomskaya, Valeriya (2018) Popular culture as a powerful destination marketing tool: an Australian study. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the marketing possibilities of popular culture tourism (PCT). There is promise in developing alternative forms of cultural communication and cultural representation in tourism. Specifically, PCT is explored as a way to enhance and reshape the current approach to destination promotion in Australia. Through the arrival of new and diversified cultural experiences, Australia can improve the existing tourism portfolio. Although there have been many studies which describe the marketing practice of using elements of popular culture in destination promotion, few, if any, effectively address the issue of usability of such methods in Australia.

To understand the nature of the challenge, it is important to acknowledge the diversity inherent within popular culture, as well as the huge diversity of individual experiences and responses to such cultural practices. This work is concerned with the richness of individual experience, the multi-form qualities of interpersonal encounters with popular culture in Australia.

This thesis uses pragmatism as the main interpretive framework, with its powerful ability to disambiguate and clarify the research questions. To study the phenomenon the researcher uses a combination of three research methods: survey research, descriptive study, and exploratory study. Each study contributes a unique perspective to the literature on popular culture tourism. To answer the research questions considerable data comprising 253 detailed questionnaires, 20 unstructured interviews, 648 blogs and social media posts, and marketing materials of over 50 DMOs were collected and analysed. The thesis has six chapters in total.

The first chapter introduces the concept of PCT. It discusses how popular media and tourism, and thoughtful engagement of these forces, have created a phenomenon with great potential and strong commercial and popular impact. PCT is an umbrella term comprising several fields, such as film-induced, literary, and music tourism, as well as special events, and technology tourism, among others. The chapter argues that PCT can encourage youth tourism and help accommodate the needs of tourists coming from diverse households and families (multi-generational groups, singles, 'second' families). The chapter highlights the need to diversify the traditional tourism product by embracing specialty markets.

The second chapter outlines the theoretical framework, rationale, and conceptual structure for the materials to follow. The third chapter introduces Study 1. The first study uses survey data to uncovers behaviour patterns and preferences of local popular culture tourists. It compares the events and locations in the context of PCT, and works with important cues (e.g., associations and preferences) and key features (e.g., consumption rates and travel intentions) by matching them with several hypotheses related to the consumption of popular culture.

In Chapter 4, the scope of the investigation widens to include the international perspective. Study 2 is concerned with qualitative aspects of the cultural economy, namely the subjective experiences and expectation of past, existing and potential visitors. This study employs social listening and content analysis to observe and analyse online discussions related to popular culture events and locations in Australia. The captured experiences (impressions, feelings, thoughts, and observations) helped: (1) identify how Australia is being represented in popular culture discourse; (2) identify how the particular imagery of local popular culture commodities can influence the Australian tourism development strategy.

The last study, Chapter 5, is concerned with practical applications. It offers a rigorous analysis of the marketing strategies that utilise popular culture in destination promotion. It discusses how these integrations are carried out by the DMOs in real-world practices. The chapter identifies seven advanced destination marketing tactics as efficient methods that can be used for tourism promotion in Australia. It offers recommendations and comments on the use of PCT in national tourism campaigns.

Chapter 6 is devoted to the discussion of findings, implications, and limitations. The key findings contribute to the academic literature on cultural tourism. This thesis investigates the possibilities of using location-specific popular culture tools in 'narrative' marketing campaigns. The work identifies different PCT activities and their impacts on destination's image and tourists' experiences. The results and work also emerge as practical solutions for implementation of PCT tools in destination promotion for Australia.

Item ID: 58966
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: popular culture, tourism, marketing, Australia, tourism development, cultural tourism, destination promotion
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 Valeriya Radomskaya.
Additional Information:

Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Radomskaya, Valeriya (2019) Growing competition for screen tourists activates new destination marketing tactics. In: Lundberg, Christine, and Ziakas, Vassilios, (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Popular Culture and Tourism. Taylor & Francis, London, UK, pp. 414-426.

Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2019 00:00
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150604 Tourism Marketing @ 35%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150602 Tourism Forecasting @ 30%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1505 Marketing > 150503 Marketing Management (incl Strategy and Customer Relations) @ 35%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 50%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900303 Tourism Infrastructure Development @ 50%
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