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Promoting authenticity in theme parks: Content analysis of selected theme park home pages
Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Tourism Studies.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The thesis aims to identify the role of authenticity in the promotion of theme parks. The apparent contradiction of theme parks and authenticity makes this research field so essential to investigate. Theme parks are usually criticised for being fake and banal places where nothing is real or authentic. In fact, the trend goes forward to tourists that search for authentic experiences due to the always desire of singularity, originality, combined with self-realisation in a safe environment. That most of touristic places and destination are constructed and that the assessment of authenticity depends more on the observer than on the observation itself often remains disregarded. That is why, much literature is already dealing with assessment of authenticity as a construct of subjective hopes, views and expectations. The theoretical part treats this assessment and brings it in the context of theme parks. To provide a knowledge base for the analysis, the literature review reveals, that theme parks serve the trend of authenticity due to the chance to escape the daily routine and a predictability of services.

Expanding the current literature, a qualitative approach is used to analyse how authenticity is advertised by theme park suppliers on their home pages. A content analysis using the three different types of authenticity according to Wang (1999) as main categories is conducted.

The study concludes, that mainly objectivist and constructivist authenticity is promoted by the operators, triggering visitors with essential and intersectoral tourism focuses like escape from every day’s life and making unusual experiences. Suppliers play with the hyper-realistic contradiction of a theme park, imitating the outside world same as creating a border to it. On the home pages, common marketing methods like

storytelling and electronic word-of-mouth are combined with authenticity. Synonyms for authenticity, like "real" or "genuine" can be identified. Even cultural differences between the different continents are noticeable.

However, as a qualitative approach is conducted, the study does not aim for high representativeness but for a deep understanding of a limited number of theme parks. It contributes to the after date very limited amount of academic literature about authenticity promotion. Furthermore, the study can be seen as in inspiration for other theme park and touristic entertainment suppliers. However, it is recommended that future researches use quantitative methods to build numerical relations and the ability for generalisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
authenticity, theme parks, promotion, home page marketing, qualitative content analysis
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-28882OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-28882DiVA, id: diva2:1262103
Available from: 2018-11-09 Created: 2018-11-09

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf