Here Comes the Sun : -A case study of seasonality inducing discourses

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Poul Aksel Andersen
  • Jeppe Thue Skjødt Axelgaard
4. term, Tourism, Master (Master Programme)
Seasonality has become one of the defining characteristics of the tourism industry, but the rea-son for its existence, perceived effects and the measures with which tourism stakeholders can seek influences is still being debated. Whether it is argued to be occurring because of natural or institutional factors such as the geographical location and institutionalized holiday patterns re-spectively; causing overcrowding in the peak season or if it is a necessity due to it allowing for locals and tourism business owners to recover from the peak season; and whether it can actually be influenced by way of differential pricing or focused market segmentation, seasonality is at its very core a much contested phenomenon.
Seeing that the general focal points mentioned above appears to be the foremost researched topics within the field, it was intended for this thesis to utilize a somewhat different approach in order to illuminate the subject matter from another angle for the reason that the current body of literature appears to have reached somewhat of stalemate in terms of furthering the under-standing the intricacies of seasonality.
For the purpose of broadening the scope, we chose to utilize the theoretical framework provided by the concept of destination image. Consequently, it was decided that through the application of discourse analysis within a case study framework with North Jutland, Denmark at its center, this thesis should analyze and discuss how potential seasonality inducing destination images might arise from marketing related discourses and how overarching, strategic tourism related material might be considered the instigator thereof.
Utilizing this research framework it was found that tourism marketers in North Jutland exten-sively projects a destination image defined by exoticized images and phrasings revolving around the natural environment of the region. Meanwhile, it was not simply the environment but also the depicted functional traits such as activities (physical activities, shopping and arts and crafts) was framed within primarily summer settings, thus imbuing them with notion of being more “appropriate” to conduct within specific types of weather conditions (i.e. sun and blue skies). Furthermore, the arts and crafts were found to be a factor in relation to the perpetuation of the overall, romanticized discourse of the region and its natural surroundings. In terms of strategic material, it was observed that the general strategic papers related to the destination in question displayed a profound sense of ambiguity in relation to key, supposedly important, elements of the destination such as authenticity, weather as well as the so-called “lighthouse strategy” – con-cepts which were found to be lacking in terms of clear definition and consequently being open to interpretation, a central issue which is argued to be one of the main “culprits” of the extensively portrayed summer discourse.
In conclusion, it is suggested that strategy disseminators should adopt and implement more clear-cut, well defined conceptualizations of central strategy components. Furthermore, we ad-vocate that a more nuanced view on the natural and institutional factors of seasonality as well as the notion of embracing the temporal fluctuations in terms of weather for the purpose of ena-bling the development of alternative tourism products that might attract more people in the shoulder and low season.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date29 May 2015
Number of pages80
Publishing institutionAAU
ID: 213195465