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Sun, sand and sweaters: a visual analysis of the touristic representations of Shetland

Hynes, Deirdre and Koivunen, Emma-Reetta (2009) Sun, sand and sweaters: a visual analysis of the touristic representations of Shetland. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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This paper concerns visual representations of Shetland that are produced in touristic publications. Due to the intangible nature of tourism, it is a business of selling ‗dreams‘ of future travel and holidays through visual and verbal representations. Through a detailed coding and content analysis of the images, the paper shows how a physical place is transformed into a tourist destination. The paper will explore in detail how the images of Shetland are constructed to attract different groups of visitors, what the recurring themes in the images are, and what messages about Shetland these images portray. The paper will also explore the cultural significance of these images and how they link to Shetland‘s cultural context. The symbolic construction of a tourist destination involves questions of culture, history, power, and wealth. The paper seeks to understand what sort of Shetland is being constructed and how that image is being sold; in addition to this, we also want to know the nature of the relationship between this constructed image and the local cultural identity. The paper is based on ongoing PhD research analysing the different constructions of Shetland in the tourism context.

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