Transforming visitors’ emotional engagement: a case of national trust

Su, Rui ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Transforming visitors’ emotional engagement: a case of national trust. ATLAS Annual Conference Abstract Book. In: ATLAS Annual Conference 2019: Tourism Transformations, 17-20 Sep, 2019, Girona, Spain. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Visitor Attractions attract people to country parks, historic properties, museums and art galleries, and they are mainly symbolised a place’s attractiveness. Much academic literature has demonstrated heritage visitor attractions in tourism and its economic and social benefits in city marketing, but much less attention has been given to visitors’ emotional engagement (Leask, 2010; 2016; Wang, 2016). Due to uprising visitor numbers and mixed audience expectations, the issues of measuring and managing visitors’ emotions have been a contentious and complicated task. Emotions rather are seen as a part of visitors’ sensory experience, but few have been practical implemented at visitor attractions management. This gap results transforming visitor emotions into deeper engagement is mostly seen as a conceptual ideology (Palmer, 2005; The National Trust, 2018).

This paper responds to what Dicks (2000, p.62) emphasises on a failed analysis in “the cultural-communicative aspects of heritage”, and it attempts to examine how interpretation transforms visitors’ emotions engagement at heritage visitor attractions. Several scholars have examined the role of tour operators (Tucker, 2009; Macdonald, 2009), who can play a key role in visitors’ emotions. Yet there still a call for more systematic examination on a dialogic meaning making of heritage experience, including visitors’ emotional engagement (Buzinde & Santos, 2009). This specifically contributes to reconceptualising heritage, not as “weapons for a current ideological contest” (Maier, 1988, p.32).

The study was conducted at one of National Trust attractions - Waddesdon Manor, employed by a mixed methods with 79 questionnaires, 41 semi-structured interviews and participant observations. Three initiatives are examined, including the articulation of visitors’ emotions, interpretations and heritage engagement. The advantage of examining the relationships between interpretation and visitors’ emotional engagement enables us to better know our identities, such as who we are and where we belong. In particular, visitors’ emotions are constantly being transformed and re-interpreted through every personal interaction and social structure. The value of this study is to benefit visitor attractions managers paying more attention to the heritage representations, especially how they reconstruct historical messages within the local context and to what extent these interconnections form social relations (Boiger & Mesquita, 2012; Mordue, 2005).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Marketing, Branding and Tourism
Item ID: 27727
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Depositing User: Rui Su
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2019 09:54
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2019 13:00

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