Turismo rural

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Journal of Vacation Marketing

Consuming the countryside: Marketing for 'rural tourism'
Lesley Roberts and Derek Hall Journal of Vacation Marketing 2004 10: 253 DOI: 10.1177/135676670401000305 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jvm.sagepub.com/content/10/3/253

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Journal of Vacation Marketing

Volume 10 Number 3

Consuming the countryside: Marketing for ‘rural tourism’
Lesley Roberts* and Derek Hall Received (in revised form): 2nd December, 2003 Anonymously refereed paper
*Centre for Travel and Tourism, Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Tel: +44 (0)191 222 2232; E-mail: lesley.roberts@unn.ac.ukLesley Roberts is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Travel and Tourism within the Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University. She lectures and researches in, and publishes on, tourism contexts, rural and urban tourism and tourism in the environment. Derek Hall is Professor of Regional Development at the Scottish Agricultural College and head of the Tourism Research Group. He researchesand publishes on tourism development, particularly in the rural context, and on tourism in Central and Eastern Europe.

influence perceptions that shape the nature of policy issues and management practices. The paper concludes that both the rural environment and the small tourism businesses that depend on it will benefit from a better understanding of contemporary rural tourism consumption andmarketing.
AIMS This paper argues that tourism in general, and ‘rural tourism’ in particular, represent contexts that challenge the ‘traditional’ approach to marketing. It focuses on the increasingly cited practice of niche marketing, the popular profile of which is not reflected in the academic marketing literature, and it argues that a better understanding of niche marketing is required if it is to beuseful in the ‘rural tourism’ context. The paper has four main aims:

ABSTRACT KEYWORDS: rural tourism, niche markets, contemporary consumption

Common perceptions of ‘rural tourism’ industries are influenced by a range of terms (such as ‘green’, ‘nature’, ‘eco-’) that position them as small-scale, low-impact activities offering an alternative to mass tourism. Their perception as ‘niche’markets further reinforces such views. This paper explores the nature of niche markets and argues that the application of niche marketing may have a place for some traditional activities that are ‘pure’ forms of rural tourism but not for the greater part of rural visiting, better described as ‘tourism in rural areas’, and characterised by large numbers of visitors and contemporary consumption patternsthat render the rural location far less important than the activity and sometimes almost irrelevant to it. This is more than a question of semantics because the labels used

— establish the essential characteristics of niche tourism markets — analyse the complex nature of tourism in rural areas with particular reference to changes in demand — identify any homogenisation of demand in ‘postmodernmarkets’ for tourism in rural areas that lessens the likelihood of establishing niche markets — highlight the potential dangers, for businesses and for the environment, of continuing to label tourism in rural areas as a niche market.

Journal of Vacation Marketing Vol. 10 No. 3, 2004, pp. 253–263, & Henry Stewart Publications, 1356-7667

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