The effect of using stereotypical and non-stereotypical landscapes in tourism advertising.

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The issue of mass tourism and the negative consequences it has on touristic hotspots have been important issues receiving increasing attention. Initiatives have been trying to reduce the stream of tourists to hotspots like Amsterdam and Barcelona. Focusing on less familiar landscapes might reduce this stream of mass tourism. This study examines the use of stereotypical and non-stereotypical landscapes in tourism advertisements, its recognition and the effect it has on the evaluation of these advertisements. In an online experiment, 109 Dutch participants evaluated six advertisements. For three types of holiday, a beach holiday, an active holiday and a city trip, the participants were shown one stereotypical and one non-stereotypical landscape. The results showed that non-stereotypical landscapes were less recognized than stereotypical landscapes and that recognition had a significant effect on the evaluation of the advertisements. In general, participants preferred the stereotypical landscapes over the non-stereotypical landscapes, especially when the advertisement matched the holiday motivation of the participant. For advertisements that did not match the preferred type of holiday, the non-stereotypical landscape often received a more positive evaluation than the stereotypical landscape. For offices of tourism who wish to portray and promote holiday destinations that are less familiar to potential tourists, the key is to create knowledge and familiarize the tourist with the non-stereotypical landscape. More knowledge might lead to better recognition and a potential visit as end-goal. According to the findings of this study, one single advertisement with a non-stereotypical landscape is unlikely to achieve a better distribution of tourists and a reduction of mass tourism. However, a large promotion campaign based on these non-stereotypical landscapes could work to reduce mass tourism and create more familiarity with alternative touristic sites.
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