Mapping the Cultural Tourism Experience: Role of Senses, Emotions, and Memories in Cultural and Heritage Experiences and Gastronomic Experiences

Mapping the Cultural Tourism Experience: Role of Senses, Emotions, and Memories in Cultural and Heritage Experiences and Gastronomic Experiences

Rui Mendonça-Pedro, Cristina Valente-Pedro
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9217-5.ch008
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The chapter focuses on the role of senses, emotions, and memories model (SEMs) to mapping a cultural tourism experience. Specifically, the results of the survey aimed to identify and assess the role of senses, the emotional states, and the memorable elements within the cultural and heritage tourism experience construction; to identify and assess the role of senses, the emotional states, and the memorable elements within the gastronomic tourism experience creation; and to map and model the relation between the SEMs in cultural and heritage tourism experiences and gastronomic tourism experiences. Results show that SEMs positively impact cultural and heritage tourism experience construction, SEMs positively impact gastronomic tourism experience creation, there are two clear paths to cultural and heritage tourism experience construction (between sight + joy + vividness = MTE and between sight + positive surprise + recollection = MTE), and there is one pattern to gastronomic tourism experience creation (between smell + taste + touch + positive surprise + vividness = MTE).
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Cultural tourism is a growing area in the tourism industry and has become a crucial tourism industry sector providing economic balance and mitigating seasonality (Sánchez-Sánchez et al., 2020; Vergori & Arima, 2020). According to Yamashita, “Cultural tourism is a program in which tourists appreciate tangible and intangible aspects of culture at the destination, from architecture, visual arts, dance performance, festival, cuisines, to history” (2016, p. 212). Understanding how tourists perceive (senses), create (emotions) and encode (memory) the cultural tourism experience is a critical issue for understanding the stages of experience construction and memorabilia.

According to several authors, the senses play an important role in the perception of stimuli, and the emotions are central to understanding and assessing the meaning of a stimulus, while memory is vital in the process of codifying and storing information (Agapito, 2020; Pedro et al., 2020; Seyfi et al., 2020). Despite the crucial relationships among the senses, emotions and memories (SEMs), to our knowledge, few studies have addressed the role of SEMs in the creation of the cultural tourism experience (Agapito et al., 2017; Dias et al., 2017; Pedro et al., 2020). Given the importance of cultural tourism sector, this is a key gap in the literature, which the present study addresses: mapping the cultural tourism experience through SEMs will clarify how cultural experiences are created and enhance the understanding of how psychological and personal experiences are processed.

This study seeks to explain the role of SEMs on the construction of the cultural tourism experience. First, the role of the senses, emotional states and memorable elements are identified and assessed during the creation of the cultural tourism experience. Second, this research maps and models the relationship between SEMs in the cultural tourism experience; specifically, we consider how the senses activate an emotional state and seek to determine which emotional states trigger the memorable element.

This study adds to our understanding of the construction process for the cultural tourism experience and enriches knowledge to support the design and implementation of this process based on SEMs. The current research will also fill a gap in the literature by investigating the influence of the senses on the emotions and the impact of the emotions on memories to create tourist engagement in the cultural & heritage and gastronomy experiences. The findings of this study can provide insight to destination management organizations (DMOs), destination managers, destination marketers, stakeholders, and others interested to increase destination memories, satisfaction, loyalty, engagement, and cultural contact. All of these results could contribute to the competitive advantage of the destinations and, specifically, to cultural destinations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Long-Term Memory: This encompasses information held in mind for a long period of time, ranging from days or months to the entire lifespan. The long-term memory is an outcome of the information from the short-term memory with the addition of a strong emotional connection and a repetition or recall process.

Cultural Tourism: This is a type of tourism activity in which the visitor’s essential motivation is to learn, discover, experience, and consume the tangible and intangible cultural attractions/products of a tourism destination.

Gastronomic Tourism: This type of tourism activity is characterized by a visitor experience linked with food and related products and activities while travelling. Along with authentic, traditional and/or innovative culinary experiences, gastronomic tourism may also involve other related activities, such as visiting local producers, participating in food festivals, and attending cooking classes.

Sensorial Memory: Know as bodily memory, sensorial memory is memory information input from the sensorial stimulus that is held in the mind for 0.2 to 2 seconds.

Memorable Tourism Experience: A tourism experience remembered and recalled after the event has occurred.

Senses, Emotions, and Memories (SEMs) Model: This model makes it possible to examine the relation of senses, emotions, and memories in the construction of the tourist experience.

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