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NEGOTIATING IDENTITY IN DIFFERENT REPRESENTATIONS OF CUBAN TOURISM
Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Industri och samhälle, Turismvetenskap.
2018 (Engelska)Självständigt arbete på avancerad nivå (masterexamen), 10 poäng / 15 hpStudentuppsats (Examensarbete)
Abstract [en]

The visual dimension plays a significant role in tourism, especially in its promotional materials. In promoting and representing their places and people, destinations participate in negotiations over meaning and identity, whether they do so consciously or not. These negotiations have real consequences, especially for third world destinations and minority stakeholders still grappling with the legacies of colonialism.

This study uses Cuba as a case study to closely analyze the particular role images and representations of tourism play in destinations’ efforts to combat colonialist identities and power relations. Cuba bears many of the features common to other third world (in particular Caribbean) island destinations. There is a rich theoretical background of existing research into the common tropes and consequences of these destinations’ efforts to promote and represent their tourism industries. However, the Cuban tourism context is also very unique, making it a potentially rich area of study in furtherance of this existing research. Cuba is unique in terms of the history of its people and its politics, as well as its tourism industry. After several decades of remaining closed to international tourism, the Cuban government only reopened its borders to tourists in 1989, and tourist relations with the United States were only normalized in 2016. The situation is currently in flux and the future is uncertain. But researchers agree that the reopening of Cuba’s international tourism industry may have profound consequences for the country and its citizens. Many researchers have focused on the potential downsides of tourism for Cuba’s people, places, and identities. Others have expressed optimism that Cuba is uniquely well situated to control its tourism industry and to ensure positive outcomes.

This study aims to learn more about the strategies and consequences of Cuba’s tourism industry, as seen through the lens of its marketing materials and the visual representations of Cuba, Cubans, and Cuban tourism they contain. First, this study conducts an extensive review of the literature on the unique Cuban context. Content analysis is then used to examine the images produced by Cuba’s official destination marketing organization (DMO), as featured on Cuba’s electronic tourism portal (Cubatravel.cu) and the website of the official tourism agency (Infotur.cu).

The results affirm the difficulty postcolonial tourism destinations have in representing their people and places without engaging in stereotypes and essentializing discourses that perpetuate the social, economic, and power imbalances associated with colonialism. However, the results also provide some reason for hope. In comparison with other third world tourism destinations and marketing campaigns subjected to similar analysis, Cuba manages to achieve some progressive outcomes in its promotional materials. The visual representations of Cuba and Cubans assert Cuba’s diverse and unique culture and heritage. They also go much further than other third world destinations in depicting the subjectivity of the destination’s own people. It is recommended that further research look more closely at the racial and gender politics at play in Cuban society and Cuban tourism promotion. In addition, further research might examine the feelings of actual Cubans about the ways Cuban tourism promotions represent them and negotiate identity on their behalf.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2018.
Nationell ämneskategori
Kulturgeografi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-29523OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-29523DiVA, id: diva2:1289602
Tillgänglig från: 2019-02-18 Skapad: 2019-02-18

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