Familiar tourists, associated with repeat tourism, demonstrate both behavioural and affective commitment to their special, or familiar, places. Yet they remain overlooked in favour of volume measurements of generic repeat tourists. This interpretive study provides a more holistic understanding of the relationship between tourists demonstrating loyalty and attachment to place (familiar tourists) and the place commanding such behaviour (familiar place). It also evaluates ways in which familiar places enter and evolve in the lives of individuals (familiar place formation). The preparatory phase of the research used focus groups with informants who self-identified as familiar tourists. The main fieldwork was conducted concurrently in two tourist destinations in Wales, UK, namely Gower and Mawddach. It comprised field interviews with familiar tourists, interviews with tourism providers, and a self-completion written instrument for other (non-interviewed) familiar tourists. Overall, the two research phases captured the familiar tourism experiences of 289 informants. The findings showed familiar place relationships as spanning decades and even generations. An original, evidence-based typology of familiar place formation: namely conversion, inheritance (heirloom or genealogy) and discovery (other-led or self-led) is offered. Subsequently, these five types of familiar place formation are interpreted as five corresponding strategic and creative themes for practical marketing campaigns.
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Clarke, JackieBowen, David
Oxford Brookes Business School
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