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The Perception of Nature in Travel Promotion Texts

A Corpus-based Discourse Analysis

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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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5 Conclusion

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5 Conclusion

5.1 Main findings

This volume is a modest attempt to shed light on the complex relationship between tourism, discourse and the environment. The linguistic approach integrated with cultural and sociological insights has aimed at exploring the meaning of the two terms nature and natural in order to understand whether their usage in tourism advertising is deceptive.

Various considerations derive from the main findings of this book. First of all, the effort made by commercial firms to target environmentally-conscious consumers in their advertising activity, which stems from consumers’ growing concern for the protection of the environment. Contemporary society is overwhelmed by the promotion and selling of so-called eco-friendly products and services; however, studies have shown that this has led, in some cases, to a misleading use of the lexicon linked to the natural world.

Among all sectors, the tourism industry has been very sensitive to this greening process; in fact, it has amply taken advantage of the concept of nature travel exploiting the term linguistically. Indeed, statistics show that there has been a growing market impulse for all those forms of tourism related to the environment, such as ecotourism, responsible tourism, etc., and tourists are continuously looking for destinations where they can experience nature in its authentic state.

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