The Discourse of Tourism from a Systemic Functional Perspective: The Case of Tourism Websites

The Discourse of Tourism from a Systemic Functional Perspective: The Case of Tourism Websites

Claudia Elena Stoian (Politehnica University of Timișoara, Romania)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2930-9.ch011
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Tourism has undergone a shift from physical to online. This is obvious even in its promotional materials, as websites are the most usual type of online tourism promotion. The present chapter proposes Systemic Functional Theory for the analysis of websites. It first presents a brief description of the theory of the metafunctions, applied to both language (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004) and images (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996). Then, it analyzes two websites in order to show the application of the theory, focusing on language, image and their composition as multimodal acts. The chapter concludes by highlighting practical benefits for web designers, copywriters and/or tourism promoters.
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Tourism is frequently considered one of the largest industry in the world (Smith, 2004; UNWTO, 2016). It has been studied from various perspectives, such as types (Conrady & Buck, 2010; Light et al., 2009); market tendencies (OMT, 2008, 2011); products (McKercher & du Cros, 2002); branding destinations (UNWTO & ETC, 2009) and tourists’ behaviour (Plog, 2005), to mention just a few. Recently, special attention has been paid to the impact of information and communication technologies on tourism (Fernández Cavia & Huertas, 2009; Montiel Torres, 2002) and modern tourists’ habits (Pyka & Freitag, 2010; Rodríguez Antón & Alonso Almeida, 2009). The discourse by means of which information related to tourism is communicated has also been looked at from different points of view, such as promotion and advertising (Crişan, 2013); generic structure (Calvi, 2011; Toledo Pereira, 2006); types of tourist materials (Hiippala, 2013; Mapelli & Santos López, 2010) or translation (Mocini, 2011).

Online tourism has become a frequent alternative to paper or other types of promotional media (Antelmi & Santulli, 2012). The use of online promotion in tourism has shifted the research focus to topics such as types of tourism websites (Calvi et al., 2008; Rodríguez Abella, 2011), their structure as digital genres (Bateman, 2014; Mariottini, 2011), their discursive features (Pierini, 2008), and multimodality (Hiippala, 2013; Stoian, 2015). This relative new field of research has still plenty of issues to be studied and discussed. The novelty and frequency of using the Internet for tourism promotion is what determined the choice of the topic for the present chapter, which aims to contribute with new insights to the field.

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