The semiotics of tourism marketing

Authored by: Richard Tresidder

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415597036
eBook ISBN: 9781315858265
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936206


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This chapter explores the relationship between the study of semiotics and the marketing of tourism experiences and products. Communication remains one of the most significant areas of marketing theory and practice, however the major emphasis of this theme within marketing studies focuses upon the mechanism of communication, and the means by which marketing communications are transmitted; resultantly, little reference is made to how the signs and images of tourism marketing are identified, constructed and utilized. It can be argued that there is a semiotic language of tourism that consists of a set of conventions, words, images and experiences that signpost the experience of tourism to the consumer, and that subsequently can be seen to underpin all tourism marketing. This chapter explores how signs and images used in tourism marketing bestow meaning and value to tourism products, activities and experiences. The production of meaning has its foundations in the structural linguistic science and philosophy of semiotics, and has been identified as a fundamental aspect of marketing practice (for a good discussion of semiotics within mainstream marketing see McCracken 1986; Mick, Burroughs, Hetzel and Brannen 2004; Mick and Oswald 2006; Oswald, 2012).

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