Rural tourism

Sharpley, Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2135-3206 and Jepson, Deborah (2011) Rural tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 38 (1). pp. 52-71. ISSN 01607383

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It has long been suggested that (post)modern societies are characterised by a decline in the perceived significance of traditional religious institutions and practices and, as a consequence, people now seek less formal, structured and ritualised means of achieving spiritual fulfillment. Tourism, in particular, has been identified as one such means. This paper considers the extent to which a relationship exists between rural tourism and spiritual experiences. Drawing on research into tourists’ experience of the English Lake District, it identifies the extent to which a spiritual dimension to tourism is verified in practice, revealing that although tourists do not purposefully visit the Lake District in search of spiritual fulfillment, their visits frequently embrace a subconscious emotional dimension. The extent to which this is spiritual or more generally a sense of place is, however, questionable.

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