Experiential places or places of experience? Place identity and place attachment as mechanisms for creating festival environment

Davis, Andrew (2016) Experiential places or places of experience? Place identity and place attachment as mechanisms for creating festival environment. Tourism Management, 55. pp. 49-61. ISSN 0261-5177

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    Abstract

    Tourism theory suggests mechanisms of place are critical in the construction of tourism environments. However, contradictory place theory has created confusion as to exactly what these mechanisms are and how they affect perceived environment. Literature identifies place attachment and place identity as primary mechanisms in the construction of tourist relationships with tourist environments. An interpretive methodology is used to explore these mechanisms during a festival experience, and thematically analyzed unstructured interviews show identity and attachment do influence attendees' place-based perceptions. Within the festival context, environments become either creations of the festival or exist independently of them. The latter allows realistic place identity to form, resulting in consonance between environmental expectations and reality. The former creates abstract identities resulting in unrealistic expectations and weak/no immediate attachment to the festival environment. A Model of Festival Place provides continuity-based festival recommendations allowing for clearer theoretical and practical understanding across tourism events.