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Title: The role of film in mediating destination image and tourist practices : 'The Beach' and Thailand
Author: Siripis, Maltika
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 1073
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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Film, as a popular medium, has become increasingly influential within tourism marketing and tourist consumption. With its vivid visual representations of destinations and dramatic plotlines, popular film can play a potent role in mediating tourist destination image and influencing tourists’ practices at destinations. This thesis seeks to investigate the role of a particular film in mediating tourist destination image and influencing tourist practices at destinations by adopting The Beach and its representation of Thailand as a case study. The thesis integrates theories from the image formation process, a structural approach to culture and film language and semiotics to suggest that the influence of popular film on tourists’ ways of seeing the world plays a vital role in their image formation process. In order to understand this influence more clearly, this thesis includes three studies: Study 1 is a semiotic analysis of The Beach; Study 2 investigates how Thailand is mediated and marketed by film production companies and tourist authorities; Study 3 considers the results of interviews conducted with a sample of British tourists to explore their interpretation of the film, the impact of the film on their images of Thailand as a tourist destination and its influence on their practices at the destination. The main findings of the thesis suggest that tourists had already formed images of Thailand as a destination before viewing The Beach from both marketing and nonmarketing sources, including two other popular films, James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun and The King and I. These initial images of Thailand were firmly embedded in the tourists’ memories for a long time before viewing The Beach and they were able to use these existing images as a reference point from which to interpret the representation of Thailand in The Beach. Their interpretations of the film suggest that they were aware that representations of Thailand and tourist practices in The Beach are mostly selective and even exaggerated or distorted. They suggested that The Beach had a minimal impact on their practices when they were in Thailand. The thesis concludes that tourists are not merely passive receivers of media but demonstrate a degree of sophistication in their ability to challenge the reliability of mediated representations of destinations in a film like The Beach and to differentiate between the film’s representations of the destination and tourist practices and reality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available