Interpretive Mismatch in Cultural Tourism
In recent years, tourism has come full circle: away from sites and sights to cultures, experiences, and education. Parallel to the growth of the industry has been the development of tourism training and educational programs. Central to both have been three interlinked assumptions: that tourism brings benefits; that tourism has the potential for unlimited development; and that tourism furthers intercultural understanding. This author challenges those claims, though the focus of this article is on the latter assumption. Drawing on studies of cultural tourism and the case of Sovereign Hill Pioneer Settlement in particular, the article argues that tourism is underpinned by a fundamental "interpretive mismatch" between the key agents and agencies involved in tourist transactions. The result is that tourism is based on a simmering set of conflicts and contradictions that threaten to undermine the basis of the tourist experience and potentially the sustainability of the industry.
Tourism, Culture & Communication