Dress to Express. Gran Canaria Carnival exprerience beyond the "tourist gaze"

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Gran Canaria Carnivals are extraordinary events, held on the island of Gran Canaria, before and during the Lent period. The magnificent Carnival costumes, enormous parades, music and dancing in the streets form only a part of the celebrations. They also have some special aspects, which make them unique and highly appreciated by tourists and local people. This thesis aims to answer the question: "How does the Gran Canaria Carnival experience of contemporary foreign tourists in Gran Canaria relate to the tourist Carnival experience represented in tourism advertisements, newspaper articles and online news articles about Gran Canaria Carnivals?" The first chapter offers theoretical interpretations of Carnivals, the second examines the reasons tourists visit Gran Canaria Carnivals and the third interprets the reflection of the tourist Gran Canaria Carnival experience through media. During the Gran Carnival in 2018, tourists were asked some questions related to the reasons they visit the celebrations, such as culture, education, togetherness, creative expression and entertainment. In addition, I wanted to find out the meanings of Carnival images and costumes to tourists. I hope that the most attractive characteristics of those celebrations that can be used for future developments. Some important aspects that are analyzed in this thesis are "tourist gaze", existential authenticity and communitas. The conclusions show that the experience of togetherness, referred to as communitas is an important reason to visit the Carnival celebrations. For some tourists, participation in Carnival can evolve into an existential authenticity experience which can be provoked by the Carnival identities expressed by Carnival images and masks.
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