Visitors' preferences for interpretation at heritage sites

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Authors: Poria, Y., Biran, A. and Reichel, A.

Journal: Journal of Travel Research

Volume: 48

Issue: 1

Pages: 92-105

eISSN: 1552-6763

ISSN: 0047-2875

DOI: 10.1177/0047287508328657

Research on interpretation at heritage settings commonly centers on the display. The current study highlights visitor preferences for on-site interpretation, an essential element in the management of heritage tourist attractions. This research focuses on the Wailing Wall, a religious "must-see" attraction in Jerusalem. The role of interpretation as a facilitator of emotional experience rather than a means to gain knowledge is explored. Results indicate the need to customize the interpretation to meet visitor preferences and motives. Furthermore, the study reveals the need to capture heritage tourism not only as a search for naïve nostalgia or a simplified romantic version of the past but also as a more complex phenomenon. Implications for marketers and heritage site operators are suggested, highlighting the need to adopt innovative approaches to the management of heritage tourist attractions and provide different interpretations for different visitors. © 2009 SAGE Publications.

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