Extracting meanings of event tourist experiences: A phenomenological exploration of Limassol carnival

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Ziakas, V ; Boukas, N (2013)

The common examination of the event and tourism experience can reveal the attached meanings that exemplify the valued characteristics of a destination in the perceptions of tourists. From this standpoint, this study employed a phenomenological approach conducting eight unstructured interviews to explore the experience and assigned meanings of tourists who attended the carnival in Limassol, Cyprus. Results indicate that the meanings of tourist experiences in the carnival were extracted as continuously evolving products shaped by the interaction of two interrelated dramaturgical states, namely the generalized sociality and perceived community metamorphosis, and the interfering dimension of obstruction referring to organizational aspects constraining the tourist experience. The findings of this exploratory phenomenological study bring into the fore the need for more effectively incorporating events into a destination's product mix by designing experiences that leverage event meanings in synergy with unique destination features, thereby enhancing their impact on tourists. On these grounds, it is argued that the phenomenological perspective applied on the study of event tourism can enable destination marketing and management to develop a joint framework for cross-leveraging events and destination assets, hence, synergistically optimizing both social and tourism ends for host destinations. To this end, the study highlights the need for future research to start exploring systematically the relationship between the meanings of tourist experiences and the characteristics of a destination's product mix.
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