Een retourtje Middle-Earth. Een onderzoek naar imaginaire landen en plaatsen in toerisme.
This thesis emphasises on imaginary places in the contemporary tourism discourse. Stories about imaginary worlds seem to have an increasingly direct connection with reality and it could be stated that most tourists do not even experience these places as imaginary. Multiple fields (media and tourism) can be connected in this research by analysing a contemporary representation of an imaginary place. Therefore, it is fundamental to understand how this is not only portrayed by the tourism sector, but also how the tourists themselves contribute through their experience. To make this concrete, a case-study will be the focus point, namely Middle-Earth from The Lord of the Rings and it’s relation to tourism in New Zealand. The main research question is this: In what way is the imaginary place Middle-Earth, as presented in the films of Peter Jackson, used and maintained in tourism in New Zealand? In the movie, Middle-Earth is ! presented as a magical and grandiose country, furthermore a lot of the characteristics of Middle-Earth can also be recognised in the touristic campaign 100% Pure New Zealand. By taking a look at the tourists themselves, it becomes clear that by reacting on New Zealand in a certain way, they keep this image alive. The increasingly active public is not only reacting to what has already been presented to them, but instead this public is creating imaginary worlds themselves. This illustrates how an old phenomenon has found new meaning in our contemporary society.
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