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The Perception of Nature in Travel Promotion Texts

A Corpus-based Discourse Analysis


Ida Ruffolo

Given the consolidated effects of the greening process on the tourism industry, this volume investigates the relationship between three areas of research – the natural environment, tourism and discourse –, and how this relationship is affected by and affects society as a whole. In particular, the book highlights the central role of language in constructing eco-friendly tourist sites. Since the images associated to nature are various, this study examines the uses of nature and explores how the terms nature and natural are constructed within the texts. The research identifies how nature is linguistically defined and constructed by advertisers in travel promotion texts in order to attract potential ‘green’ tourists. The study also analyses the promotion of protected areas to verify the extent to which these areas meet the criteria on sustainable tourism set by the World Tourism Organization.
By adopting a corpus-based discourse analysis perspective which combines both qualitative and quantitative approaches, the book unravels the complex interrelationship between the environment, tourism and advertising.
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2 Theoretical Background


2 Theoretical Background

2.1 Introduction

The realization of cultural and environmental discourse through tourism is a key characteristic of modern era. Indeed, “as one of the largest industrial complexes and consumption markets in modern Western economies, tourism is an important component of mass consumer culture with tremendous discursive power” (Norton, 1996: 355).

The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the theories and studies that focus on the construction of environmental discourse in general, and of nature, in particular, in the media, specifically in advertising. As a consequence, it will consider the role and meaning of nature in advertising tourism sites. Particular emphasis will be devoted to the description of the phenomenon of tourism, its origins and some specific forms. The first section is dedicated to the studies that have attempted to unravel the complex interrelationship between the environment, tourism and advertising.

In the second section, the theoretical and practical tools that can be employed in analysing promotional texts in order to understand the use of nature will be illustrated. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses will be used in the attempt to provide a complete and thorough discussion of the findings of this research.

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