Tourism is a place-based phenomenon. Touristic places are often referred to as tourist destinations. This research looks at the strategies used to make a place a tourist destination, using a social constructivist approach. With this approach, social processes are of importance in the place-making process. Furthermore, places are seen as more than a location. A specific place was chosen as a case study. This case study is Giethoorn as this is a place often visited by tourists. By interviewing tourism stakeholders, doing observations in Giethoorn and by analyzing promotional materials in a content analysis, data was gathered to see what strategies were used to portray Giethoorn as a tourist destination. The data shows that the place-makers in Giethoorn are the tourism stakeholders but also the tourists and inhabitants. They shape Giethoorn into a tourist destination through image creation, promotion, conservation of the landscape and by making adaptions to the landscape. Examples of these place-making strategies are promoting a specific image of Giethoorn and conserving the image through a protected townscape policy. According to the results, goals and strategies differ between stakeholders. However, in the end, their strategies all contribute to making and keeping the place Giethoorn a tourist destination.
Author: N. Verhage (2019)