The Symbolic Representation of Tourism Destinations: A Semiotic Analysis


E-CONSUMERS IN THE ERA OF NEW TOURISM, pp.73-86, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/978-981-10-0087-4_5
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)
  • Page Numbers: pp.73-86
  • Keywords: Tourism destinations, Symbolic representation, Semiotic analysis, SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, AUTHENTICITY, GENTRIFICATION
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


This chapter addresses the symbolic representation of touristic destinations. The main contribution of the chapter is to highlight the rivalry in symbolic context via tourism promotional materials. This chapter is an attempt to decipher the Turkish way of challenging symbolic competition. We discover tourism strategy is based on reconciling Western values such as technology and comfort with the values of the East: hospitality, timelessness, and exoticness. The current tourism promotional videos highlight a local color, which align with self-orientalism in Turkish tourism promotion. This type of promotion, when considering the non-monolithic and differentiated structure of tourism, has some drawbacks in the era of symbolic competition. The chief interest of this chapter was to answer a single question: The relationship between the destination and the tourism promotion: "how is the destination represented?" To answer the question, the relevant literature is scrutinized and a semiotic analysis is conducted. The analysis shows that Turkish tourism promotional videos focus on a kind of self-orientalism. This focus slightly indicates the institutional gaze permeated in Turkish tourism promotional materials. This gaze, along with the discourse, posits Turkey as a Third World country to compete with its, primarily, symbolic synopses: unchanged and unrestrained. This gaze concurrently reproduces an image of Turkey as an Oriental country, which does not match with the tourism strategies for the next decades. This sort of promotion pose a problem when making efforts for the country's promotion in several areas and besides encompasses all touristic activities. The first section of the chapter presents the current literature and the theoretical framework on tourism representation. The second section includes semiotic analysis in tourism studies and a case from Turkey. The last section comprises the conclusions and suggestions for the future trends.