Tourist guide reflections on the spatialities of mass tourism: a case study of Finnish package tourism in Crete
The mass tourism destination is a well-known spatial category for large-scale tourism practices. However, little critical attention has been paid to the construction of the category itself in relation to the spatialities of different social groups. This study scrutinizes the situated spatial relationships within mass tourism in a flexibly conceptualized mass tourism destination. Social constructionist methodology and different place theories are utilized in order to analyze tourist guides’ reflections of Finnish mass tourism in Crete. The positionality of the guides to mass tourism spatialities was tested with a twofold interview agenda: asking the guides to evaluate their own spatialities and those of their clients. Drawing parallels between the mass tourism destination and the seaside resort are not straightforwardly supported in these interviews. The daily movement of the guides, their destination knowledge or discussions about the destination and their leisure-time activities all shape their relationship with the destination and produce spatialities that are evaluated in relation to their clients’ spatialities. The guides construct two ideas of spatiality of mass tourism, intensive and extensive, through which spatialities are interpreted at an ideological and practical level. These spatial constructions reflect the hybrid character of the contemporary mass tourism and contextualize the mass tourism destination as different combinations of situated spatial experiences. Based on the results the academic research should utilize different user perspectives to the theorization of mass tourism destination.
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