Challenging cultural identities : Between new forms of tourism and old European cities
New forms of tourism are on the rise where the incentive to travel is not primarily induced by a country’s heritage, but by mediatized narratives, characters and locations starring in products such as movies, comics and literature. This so-called contents tourism is considered promising by some, but the question is: who benefits? Europe is often understood as the old continent, a place with a rich history. Modern products capitalize on this sense of oldness and tell new narratives, providing Europe with new identities. These differing identities create challenges for cities and therefore demand to be mitigated.
Utilizing the Japanese concept of contents tourism, this thesis aims to shed a light on the impact of these forms of tourism on city identities. This provides a better understanding on how interests, and entwined identities, challenge one another in European cities. Three case studies are employed: Harry Potter tourism in Oxford, tourism induced by the Millennium series in Stockholm and Twilight tourism in the Italian city of Volterra. It argues that there are three ways in which a city can perceive identities brought about by contents tourism: acceptance, indifference or reluctance. Not all alternative identities are considered challenging, but contents tourism influences city identities regardless.
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