AlmaTourism - QUT ePrints

AlmaTourism - QUT ePrints

AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast                     ...

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

 

 

 

AlmaTourism    

 Journal  of  Tourism,  Culture  and  Territorial  Development     ___________________________________________________________  

Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism     on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast       ∗

Carson,  S.     Queensland  University  of  Technology  (Australia)        

          ABSTRACT    

In   2018   the   City   of   the   Gold   Coast   in   south-­‐east   Queensland,   Australia,   will   host   the   next   Commonwealth   Games.     The   City   is   made   up   a   57   km   stretch   of   coastline   and   hinterland   divided   by   a   major   highway.   The   famous   surfing   beaches   are   framed   by   high-­‐rise   development   while   the   hinterland   is   marketed   as   a   green,   unspoilt   environment.   The   winning   bid   for   the   Games,   and   discussion   about   future   infrastructure  and  marketing  of  the  region’s  attributes,  has  focussed  attention  on  the   way   City   residents   and   policy   makers   think   about   their   region   in   broad   terms.   Whereas   in   the   past   tourism   marketing   has   been   directed   towards   the   pleasures   of   sun   and   surf   by   day   and   bright   lights   by   night,   various   regional   tourist   stakeholders   are   beginning   to   reorient   their   programs.   This   paper   considers   some   of   the   competing   aims   of   the   various   stakeholders   in   this   region   and   the   interaction   of   existing   ‘cultures’   with   new   technology  and  the  demands  of  permanent  residents,  using  data  from  a  case  study  of   e-­‐literary  trails  developed  in  Brisbane,  the  capital  city  of  Queensland.  The  importance   of  tourist  imaginaries  as  a  basis  for  using  rich  accounts  of  the  past  for  future  planning  is   emphasized.     ____________________________________________________________   Keywords: Australia,  Gold  Coast,  Culture,  Tourism,  Mobile  Narratives,  Digital.  



 E-­‐mail  address:  [email protected]

 

almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

  Introduction   The   City   of   the   Gold   Coast   is   a   57   kilometre   stretch   of   beach,   waterways   and   sub-­‐ tropical   hinterland   in   the   south-­‐east   corner   of   Queensland,   Australia.     Historically   represented   as   a   hedonistic   holiday   location,   and   Australia’s   premier   vacation   destination,   the   Gold   Coast   now   flags   its   status   as   a   vibrant   urban   city.   At   the   same   time  the  City  continues  to  promote  the  traditional  mix  of  sun,  sand  and  surf  offerings.     The   increasingly   diverse   range   of   interests   and   activities   in   this   location   means   that   there  are  new  opportunities,  and  challenges,  for  the  tourism  sector,  which  remains  a   key   driver   of   the   region’s   economy.   Cultural   tourism   represents   one   such   challenge.     While  Gold  Coast  policy  makers  and  tourism  strategists  recognize  the  global  growth  in   this   sector,   there   are   differing   responses   from   a   range   of   stakeholders   as   to   how   to   negotiate  the  desires  of  the  cultural  tourist  and  the  demands  of  local  communities.   This   paper   identifies   key   Gold   Coast   tourism   stakeholder   responses   to   ideas   about   cultural  tourism  and  considers  the  role  of  online  and  smart  phone  delivery  of  touristic   material   to   visitors   as   a   means   of   bridging   resident   and   tourist   ambitions   by   bringing   the  cultural  attraction  to  the  forefront  of  the  usual  tourist  hierarchy.  The  propositions   about   the   potential   of   ICTs   (integrated   computer   technologies)   in   relation   to   building   culture  through  place  draws  on  earlier  pilot  trials  carried  out  in  Brisbane,  Queensland,   described   below.   Cultural   tourism   is   understood   to   be   important   to   the   Gold   Coast   not   only  because  of  the  international  growth  in  this  market  but  because  in  this  region  the   pace   of   change,   combined   with   a   recent   decline   in   visitor   numbers   to   the   region   (although  the  reduction  is  small)  means  that  new  approaches  must  be  entertained.     From   the   point   of   view   of   the   tourist   operator   and   resident,   an   examination   of   stakeholder   activity   shows   that   the   discourse   around   culture   and   tourism   mediates   a   broad   array   of   concerns   about   commodification   and   development.   This   positioning   is   upheld   in   recent   scholarship.   Greg   Richards   and   Wil   Munster   (2010)   argue   that   research   interest   in   cultural   tourism   has   increased   because   of   the   recognition   of   the   social   and   cultural   value   of   cultural   tourism   rather   than   the   early   emphasis   on   economic   perspectives.   From   the   visitor’s   perspective,   the   contemporary   tourist,   sometimes   called   the   post-­‐tourist,   seems   to   be   straying   into   the   domain   of   cultural   tourism  in  search  of  access  to  a  more  sophisticated  dimension  in  tourist  locations.    This   21st   century   tourist   increasingly   looks   for   a   diversified,   flexible,   increasingly   independent   and   mobile   experience.     Melanie   Smith   (2009)   argues   that   as   ‘high’   and   ‘low’   cultures   blend   there   are   important   crossovers   between   what   was   once   called   the   ‘mass’  tourist  and  the  ‘cultural  tourist’:    tourists  wants  to  shop,  go  to  a  beach,  and  visit   bars   and   nightclubs   as   well   as   go   to   a   theatre   or   concert     (Smith,   2009,   p.195).     The   many   definitions   of   cultural   tourism   all   point   to   the   privileging   of   individuality   and   independence.   For   example   Milena   Ivanovic   considers   cultural   tourism   one   aspect   of   special   interest   tourism   (SIT)   (Ivanovic,   2008,   p.   89),   while   Melanie   Smith   (2009)   defines   the   sector   as   ‘passive,   active   and   interactive   engagement   with   culture(s)   and   communities,   whereby   the   visitor   gains   new   experiences   of   an   educational,   creative   and/or  entertaining  nature’  (Smith,  2009,  p  17).       almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

1.    Gold  Coast     Certainly,   Gold   Coast-­‐based   marketing   programs,   such   as   ‘Surfers   Paradise   Nights’   (Tusk)   are   re-­‐fashioning   their   offerings   to   focus   on   the   creative   and   the   experiential   although   at   a   state   level   the   traditional   ‘sun,   surf,   and   sand’   images   are   re-­‐worked,   albeit   with   an   increasing   emphasis   on   eco-­‐tourism.   The   current     Queensland   Tourism   slogan   (a   2010   initiative)   is   ‘Gold   Coast,   Queensland   Famous   for   Fun,’   (http://www.tq.com.au/fms/tq_corporate/)   which   aims   to   appeal   to   the   youth   and   family   visitor   experience   while   highlighting   the   ‘natural’   and   ‘outdoors’   environment   and  identifying  environmentally  aware  projects  and  landscapes  in  the  region.    

  Figure  1.    Surfers    Paradise  Beach,  Queensland  with  the  ‘Famous  for  Fun’  branding    

However  institutional  responses  to  the  delivery  of  cultural  tourism  specifics  has  been   muted  or  delivered  on  a  case-­‐by-­‐case  basis.      This  is  not  surprising  given  the  lingering   popular  perception  that  there  is  no  link  between  ‘culture’  and  ‘the  Gold  Coast,’  despite   an   active   arts   sector,   strong   community   support   for   many   local   creative   events,   and   an   awareness   of   the   importance   of   the   Coast’s   heritage.   As   well,   geographic   dislocation   hinders  integrated  planning  around  culture:  the  City  is  made  up  of  a  string  of  different   communities   along   the   coastal   strip   that   is   divided   from   the   lush   hinterland   by   a   major   highway.    There  is  a  general  community  sense  of  a  two-­‐tier  environment:  one  designed   for  tourists  and  the  other  for  long-­‐term  residents.    Gold  Coast  Social  Indicator  figures   for   2010   from   the   state   government   organization,   Tourism   and   Events   Queensland,   show  that  58%  of  Gold  Coast  residents  surveyed  said  ‘I  see  tourists  around  but  don’t   usually  talk  to  them.’  This  percentage  expresses  a  statistically  significant  difference  to   the  Queensland  average  for  this  question  (52%).   The   focus   on   the   outdoors   and   physical   landscape   (arguably,   at   the   expense   of   cultural   experiences)   is   historically   a   typical   marketing   response   from   state   governments,   especially   those   with   large   remote   regions.     In   ‘Diversifying   rural   economies   through   almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     34 This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

 

 

AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

literary   tourism:   a   review   of   literary   tourism   in   Western   Australia’   (Yiannakis   and   Davies,  2012,  p.  36)  the  authors  comment  on  the  state-­‐wide  campaigns  that  promote   an   active   outdoor   way   of   life   and   the   lack   of   exposure   in   tourism   campaigns   to   concepts  such  as  literary  tourism.      At  the  Gold  Coast,  several  factors  have  combined   recently   to   stimulate   further   discussion   about   the   nexus   of   culture   and   tourism.   The   Gold  Coast  is  keen  to  present  a  picture  of  a  thriving  and  safe  city  after  a  series  of  lurid   media   reports   in   recent   years   about   criminal   activity   in   the   region   (Smail,   2011).   As   Richards   and   Munsters   point   out,   cultural   tourism   is   often   harnessed   to   create   a   cultural  image.  They  cite  the  2009  OECD  statement  on  cultural  tourism  which  says  that   ‘attracting   cultural   tourists   has   become   a   common   strategy   for   countries   and   regions   seeking   to   conserve   traditional   cultures,   to   develop   new   cultural   resources   and   to   create   a   cultural   image’   (Richards,   G.,   &   Munsters,   W.,   2010,   p.   1).     More   important,   perhaps,   are   predictions   from   the   City   of   the   Gold   Coast   of   strong   growth   in   the   residential   population   in   the   next   decade   (from   around   500,000   today   to   730,000   by   2026)  based  on  projected  figures  from  the  (Office  of  Economic  and  Statistical  Research,   Queensland  Government),  although  most  of  this  growth  is  occurring  in  the  hinterland   and  away  from  the  beach  areas.   Furthermore,  the  City  of  the  Gold  Coast’s  hosting  of  the  2018  Commonwealth  Games     will  mean  a  major  expansion  of  both  hard  and  soft  infrastructure  projects  in  the  lead   up   to   the   event.   The   Gold   Coast   City   Council   estimates   that   the   Games   will   deliver   A$2   billion  in  economic  benefits  to  the  City  and  about  30,000  jobs  in  the  next  seven  years   (http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/commonwealth-­‐games-­‐5672.html   The   centrepiece   of   state   government   investment   is   a   Health   and   Knowledge   precinct   and   there  will  be  new  sporting  venues  as  well  as  improvements  to  existing  facilities.    At  this   stage  Games  publicity  has  highlighted  the  education,  business,  and  sporting  potential   of  the  Gold  Coast,  rather  than  the  City’s  historical  image  as  a  holiday  destination.    The   City   is   therefore   canvassing   alternative   tourist   options   that   present   the   city   as   a   cosmopolitan   space.     Severe   weather   events   in   recent   years   that   have   eroded   the   famous  sands  of  the  beaches  contribute  to  this  desire  to  deliver  alternative  sources  of   interest  for  tourists.   Such  internal  and  external  pressures  mean  that  tourist  operators  are  looking  to  provide   diverse  experiences  for  tourists,  including  a  digital  connectivity  that  will  bring  visitors   from  the  beach  into  other  tourist  offerings  (a  coffee  shop,  an  art  gallery).    In  this  way   the   Gold   Coast   hopes   to   engage   with   the   ‘cultural   tourism   moment’   as   identified   by   Laurajane   Smith,   Emma   Waterton   and   Steve   Watson   in   The   Cultural   Moment   in   Tourism   (2012).   The   authors   discuss   the   way   in   which   tourism   is   re-­‐shaped   by   negotiation  with  an  appropriation  of  the  cultures  the  tourists  are  visiting.  This  tourist   will   create   his   or   her   production   of   the   experience,   often   through   a   reliance   on   ICTs,   information  and  communication  technologies.  They  will  become  a  type  of  explorer  that   I   term   a   ‘referential   tourist’:   a   sampler   of   a   variety   of   experience   in   which   some   activities   are   designed   by   tourism   professionals   and   some   are   self-­‐directed.   The   referential   tourist   acknowledges   references   to   other   sites,   cultures   and   expectations,   while  at  the  same  time  seeking  a  degree  of  authenticity.       almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

2.    Surfers  Paradise       This   interactive   and   mobile   referential   tourist   will   want   to   take   advantage   of   the   different   communities   and   tourist   offerings   and   move   between   different   forms   of   entertainment,  history,  heritage,  and  the  arts.  They  may  move  quickly  from  the  social   networked   world   of   Surfers   Paradise   as   displayed   in   the   Surfers   Paradise   Nights   campaign   (see   below)   to   an   eco-­‐friendly   experience   in   the   hinterland.   The   Surfers   Paradise   Nights   campaign   offers   an   interesting   perspective   on   cultural   shifts   on   the   Gold   Coast.     The   Surfers   Paradise   Alliance   (SPA)   is   an   alliance   that   represents   the   business  interests  of  the  Surfers  Paradise  locale  that  fans  out  from  the  famous  beach   located  mid-­‐way  along  the  coastal  strip.    In  May  2012  the  SPA  announced  the  Surfers   Paradise  ‘Nights’  campaign  as  a  bid  for  the  custom  of  the  online  digitally  savvy  youth   market.   (http://www.surfersparadise.com/media-­‐centre/media-­‐releases/surfers-­‐ paradise-­‐nights-­‐vision-­‐boost-­‐for-­‐local-­‐economy).     Whereas   the   ‘Famous   for   Fun’   tag   targets   the   experience   and   emotion   of   holidaymakers   and   focuses   on   four   key   ‘fun’   themes   –   beaches,   theme   parks,   entertainment   and   hinterland—the   ‘Nights’   campaign   is  a  repositioning  strategy  to  recruit  a  renewed  interest  among  young  visitors  to  Surfers   Paradise  in  the  face  of  falling  visitor  numbers.   The  Surfers  Paradise  beach  region  represented  by  the  SPA  is  the  section  of  the  Coast   that  draws,  by  a  long  margin,  the  most  tourist  traffic.  The  social  media  campaign  that  is   part  of  the  Surfers  Paradise  Nights  program  (Tusk,  2011)  is  aimed  at  youths  aged  18-­‐24,   as  well  as  the  25-­‐39  age  bracket,  the  latter  being  called  ‘adulescents’  in  the  branding   documents.  The  campaign  hopes  that  the  audience  might  see  the  Gold  Coast  as  their   ‘third   place’:   that   is   a   place   where   they   can   be   seen,   in   the   world   of   social   media,   to   spend   most   of   their   spare   time.     The   program   will   use   off-­‐site   acquisition   communications   to   drive   visitors   to   the   digital   mediums,   or   to   influence   them   on   other   sites.     The  ‘Nights’  campaign  plays  on  the  idea  of  time,  representing  the  course  of  an  evening.     It   reinforces   the   message   that   Surfers   Paradise   is   not   merely   a   destination   for   ‘clubbing’,   but   has   a   wide   selection   of   offerings,   including   pubs,   restaurants,   lounge   bars  and  nightclubs.  All  forms  of  new  media  are  used  in  the  architecture,  including  QR   codes.   ‘Brand   Ambassadors,’   will   ‘contribute’   to   the   hype   of   the   moment   via   blogs,   twitter,   and   youtube.     The   campaigns   signal   the   growing   influence   of   transmedia   storytelling,   in   which   the   user/reader/viewer   carries   the   story-­‐world   with   them   from   one   life   event   to   the   next.   The   tourists   envisioned   in   the   Surfers   Paradise   Nights   campaign   may   well   fit   Melanie   Smith’s   2009   definition   of   the   ‘new   leisure   tourist,’   that   is  young,  seeking  escapism,  entertainment  and  fun  and  whose  disregard  of  authenticity   means  that  they  are  not  a  cultural  tourist  (Smith,  M.,  p.  196).  But  this  group  may  also   be  representative  of  the  crossover  of  the  leisure/cultural  tourist  identity.    One  of  the   stated   aims   of   the   campaign   is   to   build   a   community   that   recognizes   an   emotive   connection   to   place.   Surfers   Paradise   Alliance   chair   Laura   Younger   says   that   in   the   campaign   ‘we   seek   to   ignite   a   desire   and   emotive   connection   to   this   unique   entertainment   destination’   as   well   as   connecting   to   the   community   (http://www.surfersparadise.com/media-­‐centre/media-­‐releases/surfers-­‐paradise-­‐ nights-­‐vision-­‐boost-­‐for-­‐local-­‐economy  ).   almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

These  night  tourists  may  visit  from  other  regions  in  south-­‐east  Queensland  as  well  as   from  other  Australian  states  or  international  locations  and  they  may  be  affiliated  with  a   wider  definition  of  culture.    The  authors  of  The  Cultural  Moment  in  Tourism    (Smith  et   al,  2012,  Preface)  write  that  a  cultural  tourist  now  explores  ‘the  interactions  of  people   with  places,  spaces,  intangible  heritage  and  ways  of  life,  not  as  linear  alignments  but  as   seductive   ‘moments’   of   encounter,   engagement,   performance   and   meaning-­‐making.’     The   Surfers   Paradise   Nights   campaign   speaks   to   this   type   of   interaction   by   giving   visitors   the   space   to   both   express   themselves   and   uncover   new   experiences   (and   report  on  those  activities).       The  focus  on  identity  and  place  appears  to  remain  constant  in  this  campaign,  whether   the  mode  of  delivery  is  avant-­‐garde  or  conventional.    In  the  past,  the  high  profile  of  the   Gold   Coast   as   a   beach   and   night-­‐life   tourist   location   meant   that   there   was   little   demand   for   the   development   of   heritage   and   cultural   tourism.     However,   now   there   appears  to  be  a  desire  for  a  richer  narrative  about  place  and  attention  to  Gold  Coast   coastal   heritage.     Such   diversity   would   suit   the   ‘post-­‐tourist’,   who,   as   Can-­‐Seng   Ooi   writes,  is  in  search  of  a  range  of  experiences  and  rapidly  switches  behaviour  between   an  interest  in  the  local  or  an  interest  in  leisure-­‐an  interest  which  ‘can  take  place  at  a   single   site   at   two   distinct   moments’   (Ooi,   2002,   p.76).     Ooi   concludes   that   ‘cultures   are   resources   for   tourism’   (Ooi,   2002,   p.   120)   because   ‘although   cultural   products   may   not   generate   much   tourist   revenue   directly,   they   are   packaged   into   products   that   draw   people  to  a  place’  (Ooi,  2002,  p.120).   Gold  Coast  creative  communities  expressed  a  similar  desire  for  diversity  and  inclusion   in  the  touristic  aspects  of  today’s  experience  economy.    In  2011  the  Gold  Coast  Bulletin   reported   on   a   forum   that   represented   artists,   planners,   and   cultural   workers   who   demanded   that   ‘Our   city   needs   a   living   cultural   heart.’     The   discussion   lamented   the   divides  that  exist  in  the  area,  with  one  attendee  calling  for  a  new  cultural  centre  and   stating  ‘The  Gold  Coast  is  a  water  city,  but  the  water  divides  us  and  we  need  to  use  it  to   unite  us’  (Willoughby,  S,  2011).  The  City  Council  responded  in  2012  with  a  ‘Gold  Coast   Cultural   Resources   Audit’   that   lauded   planning   for   a   cultural   and   creative   ‘heart’   that   would  meet  the  demands  of  various  sectors    (http://goldcoastculturalprecinct.info/sites/default/files/cultural-­‐resources-­‐audit-­‐ 2012.pdf).  There  seemed  to  be  a  general  acknowledgement,  among  residents  at  least,   that  the  City  has  to  do  more  to  develop  a  strong  and  united  sense  of  place,  and  that   this   development   should   encompass   a   platform   of   cultural   tourism   that   engages   visitors  with  the  local  arts.   A   key   aspect   of   this   type   of   shift   towards   cultural   tourism   must   be   an   openness   to   a   digital   platform   that   speaks   to   visitor   and   local   communities   and   generates   tourist   mobility   around   the   story   of   the   Gold   Coast.     As   Bob   McKercher   and   Hilary   du   Cros   state  ‘many  cultural  tourism  attractions  are  many  steps  removed  from  the  tourist  when   the  decision  is  made  to  visit  a  destination’  (McKercher,  B.,  &  du  Cros,  H.,  2002,  p.  126).     Online   delivery   shortens   this   distance.     In   the   case   of   the   Gold   Coast,   there   is   an   abundance  of  cultural  content.  Australian  author  Frank  Moorhouse  says  that  the  Gold   Coast  has  long  been  a  ‘story’  city  and  that  this  sense  of  narrative  is  increasing.  Citing   the  growing  pool  of  literary,  film  and  television  heritage  he  says  the  Coast  has  moved   on  from  former  associations:     almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

[.   .   .]   the   Gold   Coast   was   seen   by   Australians   as   the   most   hedonistic   of   Australian   cities,   devoted   to   the   basic   pleasures,   sun,   sand,   shopping,   steak,   seafood,   drugs,   nightclubs   and   alcohol.   And,   of   course,   sex—promiscuous,   gay,   straight,   honeymoon,   as   well   as   commercial   and   let’s   not   forget   that   Surfers   was   for   a   time   the   home   of   the   nation’s   most   famous   drag   show.  (Moorhouse,  2011,  p.  28-­‐29.)  

    Beaches  have  long  been  associated  with  sites  of  social  pleasure  and  sexual  excess,  as   John   Urry   points   out   in   The   Tourist   Gaze   (Urry,   2002,   p.   29).   Moorhouse’s   specific   interest   in   the   narratives   that   circulate   from   these   sites   of   pleasure   intersects   with   research   undertaken   by   the   Queensland   University   of   Technology’s   Cultural   Tourism   Research   team   that   shows   that   urban   narratives   can   be   captured   and   extended   through   interactive   delivery.   As   Laurajane   Smith   et   al   identify   in   The   Cultural   Moment   in  Tourism  (2012),  the  experience  of  culture  is  being  understood  now  in  broad  ways   never  before  imagined  –  culture  is  clearly  now  much  more  than  performing  arts  and   art  museums,  it  involves  the  very  fabric  of  community  life  and  the  many  dimensions  of   the   experience   of   visiting   certain   cities   and   regions   for   both   locals   and   visitors.   Robert   Maitland  in  ‘Everyday  Life  as  a  Creative  Experience  in  Cities’  (2010),  states  that:    

Tourism   and   touristic   practices   are   changing   and   evolving.   Tourism,   itself,   we   argue   cannot   any   longer   be   bounded   off   as   a   separate   activity,   distinguished   from   other   mobilities,   and   tourist  demands  cannot  be  clearly  separated  from  those  of  residents  and  other  users  of  cities.     (Maitland,  2010,  p.  177.)  

  Maitland’s   emphasis   on   tourism   as   one   of   many   mobilities   builds   on   Urry’s   earlier   proposition  that  there  are  now  countless  mobilities  in  the  ‘physical,  imaginative  and   virtual,  voluntary  and  coerced’  aspects  of  tourism  activity  (Urry,  2002,  p.  161).    In  the   Gold  Coast  region  there  is  a  need  for  an  aggregation  of  those  mobilities  that  include   residents   of   the   various   communities   and   the   domestic   and   international   tourist   populations.     This   aggregation,   formed   from   narrative   and   place,   can   successfully   transform  an  experience  of  place,  as  the  following  research  indicates.     3.    Brisbane       Cultural   tourism   can   become   a   platform   for   residential   discussions   around   place   and   identity:  this  context  opens  up  the  way  for  tourists  to  feel  included  while  at  the  same   time   locals   can   begin   to   see   their   city   in   new   and   regenerating   ways.       Although   the   Brisbane  study  did  not  test  for  the  motivation  for  engaging  in  a  literary  walk  (given  that   the   respondents   were   part   of   a   specific   research   project)   the   findings   support   David   Herbert’s  argument  that  ‘places  acquire  meanings  from  imaginative  worlds,  but  these   meanings   and   the   emotions   they   engender   are   real   to   the   beholder’   (Herbert,   2001,   p.   318).  The  responses  by  participants  to  two  pilot  trials  in  Brisbane  in  2009  demonstrates   the  importance  of  building  narrative  for  both  visitors  and  residents.    As  Herbert  found   in   his   research   in   literary   tourism   in   the   United   Kingdom,   ‘stories   excite   interest,   feelings,  and  involvement,  and  landscapes  can  be  related  to  their  narratives’  (Herbert,   2001,  p.  318).     almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

This   engagement   with   narrative   is   a   feature   of   the   Brisbane   study.   The   first   Brisbane   trial  took  place  in  May  2009  in  the  suburb  of  Kelvin  Grove.    Participants,  some  of  whom   were   new   to   Brisbane,   were   asked   to   follow   the   events   of   a   short   story,   written   specifically   for   the   project,   using   a   mobile   phone,   along   a   designated   route.     An   integrated   iPhone   application   was   developed   to   enable   the   concept.   This   application   consisted   of   a   server   to   store   data   for   different   locations   on   the   walk.   For   each   location,  a  chapter  and  a  GPS  position  were  specified.  The  integrated  GPS  ensured  that   when  the  reader  reached  a  key  geographical  marker,  the  relevant  section  of  the  story   was  released  to  them.  The  narrative  was  set  in  Brisbane  during  World  War  II,  when  the   site   was   a   busy   military   base   for   Australian   and   American   forces.   The   story   explores   tensions   between   Australian   civilians   and   troops   and   American   forces   based   in   Brisbane  during  this  period.    Divided  into  four  chapters,  the  narrative  centres  on  four   different     locations   in   Kelvin   Grove.     The   story   follows   a   young   Brisbane   woman   who   becomes   pregnant   to   an   American   serviceman.     Realising   her   predicament,   an   Australian   soldier   asks   her   to   marry   him   so   that   she   might   avoid   social   disgrace.   The   narrative   provides   a   descriptive   account   of   the   realities   of   wartime   life   for   young   women  in  Brisbane’s  suburb  of  Kelvin  Grove.   After   the   trial,   participants   were   asked   to   respond   to   a   survey   that   focussed   on   the   relationship  of  the  narrative  to  place.    Participants  reported  that  they  enjoyed  feeling   part  of  the  story.  One  states,  ‘being  at  the  place  where  the  action  takes  place  was  an   enhancing  and  exciting  feature  of  reading  the  story’  (Carson,  S.,  et  al,  2009).    Another   felt  the  aspects  of  ‘place’  could  have  been  strengthened.    Participants  enjoyed  reading   the  story  on  the  iPhone  because  they  could  easily  scroll  down,  although  they  said  this   was   only   enjoyable   in   reasonably   short   periods   of   time.     In   general,   they   very   much   wanted  to  feel  that  they  were  part  of  the  story,  for  example  a  participant  said,  ‘I  was  in   the  story  world.’  One  interesting  aspect  of  the  reported  experience  was  the  cross-­‐over   between   fictional   and   material   worlds.   Participants   noted   a   tendency   to   move   in   and   out   of   ‘current’   time.     One   respondent   said   it   was   remarkable   that   just   as   she   was   reading  the  chapter  in  which  the  protagonist  tells  the  soldier  that  she  is  pregnant  she   overhead   a   similar   conversation   between   two   young   women   seated   nearby.   This   movement   in-­‐and-­‐out   of   fiction   appears   to   fascinate   some   readers   who   enjoy   the   ‘secret’  aspect  of  the  knowledge  conveyed  in  the  reading  and  walking  experience.  Some   respondents   would   have   liked   more   references   to   local   sites,   but   all   reported   a   sensation   of   being   ‘immersed’   in   the   story.   One   suggested,   ‘I   don’t   think   the   outside   world,  the  traffic,  came  in  on  you  or  anything.    No,  I  got  immersed,  because  I  do  in  a   book  or  story.’   In   June   2009  a   second  pilot   was  conducted  in   the  inner  Brisbane  suburb  of  West   End   (Carson,  S.,  et  al,  2013).  Whereas  the  Kelvin  Grove  trail  had  asked  participants  to  follow,   and   respond   to,   a   purposely-­‐written   narrative,   the   West   End   trial   was   designed   for   those  interested  in  published  literature  or  contemporary  events.  It  also  tested  interest   in  a  trail  that  included  local  business  and  entertainment  landmarks,  such  as  bookshops   and  well-­‐known  clubs.  In  this  way,  the  second  trial  expanded  on  the  first.    As  with  the   Kelvin  Grove  trial,  the  project  was  enabled  by  the  development  of  an  iPhone  application   and   server   to   store   GPS   co-­‐ordinates   and   a   range   of   texts.     In   this   pilot,   if   the   reader   wanted   to   read   a   text   associated   with   a   location,   s/he   sent   a   request,   including   current   almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

position,   to   the   server.     The   server   compared   the   reader’s   position   with   the   specified   location,  and  returned  the  text  if  the  reader  was  within  range  of  the  site.   The   survey   data   show   that   the   majority   of   participants   enjoyed   reading   the   story   on   mobile  phones  as  a  new,  easy  and  comfortable  way  of  reading.    However,  again,  the   enjoyment  is  for  short  segments  of  texts  only.  The  following  comment  is  an  interesting   response:   ‘not   only   did   I   get   literature   from   it,   but   also   I   got   an   idea   of   West   End   better.   I   haven’t   been   here   for   years.’   Participants   seemed   to   find   a   site   interesting   even  if  it  no  longer  resembled  its  fictional  representation.    One  walker  said  ‘I  especially   like   any   part   that   does   have   a   bit   of   story,   like   the   story   in   Musgrave   Park.’   The   text   written   for   Musgrave   Park   included   elements   of   contemporary   Indigenous   history.     An   important  comment  for  the  research  was  the  response:  ‘it  really  does  make  you  stop   and  think  like  a  tourist  in  your  home  town.’    The  survey  reflected  a  sense  of  excitement   and  enquiry  about  West  End  and  the  associated  literary  sites,  as  well  as  a  desire  to  find   out  more  about  an  area  that  had  not  been  visited  for  a  long  time,  or  visited  frequently   without  thinking  about  issues  of  place  and  literature.       In   general,   the   participant   responses   showed   a   strong   interest   in   creative   uses   of   locative   technology.   This   context   differed   from   the   vast   majority   of   tourism   applications   which   have   the   primary   goal   of   facilitating   navigation   between   points   of   interest.   Tourism   apps   usually   contain   maps   with   points   of   interest   highlighted   and   information   describing   each   point.   This   is   effective   and   valuable   for   users,   but   the   creative   use   of   the   technology   offered   a   way   to   develop   a   relationship   with   the   past   through   the   present.   The   participants   reported   a   greater   sense   of   engagement   with   the  space  through  reading  about  the  authors  or  their  works  and  appreciated  seeing  a   literary  location  even  if  the  original  house  had  long  gone.  The  enjoyment  was  in  their   appreciation   of   the   landscape   and   general   locale   regardless   of   changes   in   the   built   environment  and  their  responses  point  to  the  power  of  story  to  embellish  place  when   delivered  in  a  digital  format.  Another  advantage  of  the  digital  format  is  the  potential   for   content   to   respond   directly   to   the   user’s   interests   and   to   move   in   and   out   of   another   world   at   will.   Melanie   Smith   comments   that   ‘originality   is   becoming   increasingly  important  in  tourism  as  competition  increases’  and  that  ‘offerings  should   be  shaped  around  the  unique  tastes  or  unusual  preferences  of  customers’  (Smith,  M.   K.,  2009:  202).    She  quotes  Marianna  Sigala  on  the  way  ‘in  which  cultural  tourism  has   been  enhanced  by  new  media  and  technologies,  such  as  the  ‘webification’  of  cultural   heritage   attractions   and   the   creation   of   virtual   communities   of   cultural   practitioners,   visitors  and  educators’  (in  Smith,  M.K,  2009:  226).     One  of  these  new  technologies  is  DIMMS  (Destination  Information  Management  and   Marketing   Systems).   Dorothea   Papathanassiou-­‐Zuhrt   and   Odyssseas   Sakellaridis   describe  this  technology  thus:     Still  evolving,  DIMMS  constantly  take  into  account  the  latest  developments  in  technology  and   market   demands,   acting   as   tourism   counsellors,   who   reduce   the   time   and   money   budget   needed  to  acquire  information,  enabling  a  vast  customer  pool  to  detect  the  desirable  choices.   Smart   DIMMS   offer   a   complex   source   of   information   concerning   a   holistic   tourism   product   and   the  expected  real  benefits  (Rachman  and  Buchanan,  199,  pp.  14-­‐21),  while  serving  visitors  and   producers  through  the  exchange  and  processing  of  information  about  tailor-­‐made  and  ready-­‐ made   products   at   local,   regional   and   national   levels.   They   guide   existing   and   potential   markets   almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

to   discover   the   unique   features   and   attractions   of   a   destination,   rather   than   presenting   exchangeable   commodities,   as   they   usually   appear   in   the   catalogues   of   tour   operators.   (Papathanassiu-­‐Zurt  and  Sakellaris,  2012,  p.  226).        

Despite   the   advantages,   there   are   certain   pitfalls.     Marianna   Sigala   and   David   Leslie   (2012)   warn   against   an   unfettered   institutional   delivery   of   integrated   computing   systems,   stating   that   there   is   a   need   to   provide   training,   research   and   discussion   in   the   shift   to   resource-­‐based   development:   ‘[f]urthermore,   there   is   a   need   to   foster   in   the   community  better  awareness  and  understanding  of  the  actual  and  potential  benefits,   particularly   the   indirect,   of   tourism   and   to   encourage   participation   and   ownership’   (Sigala,  M.,  &  Leslie,  D.,  2012,  p.  237).     Indeed,   one   of   the   greatest   challenges   that   the   Gold   Coast   faces   is   the   sense   of   separation   along   the   length   and   breadth   of   the   area.   There   are   constant   discussions   about   the   need   for   maximising   the   City’s   creative   potential,   including   a   mix   of   soft   and   hard  infrastructure,  and  the  need  for  engagement  with  the  arts,  culture,  and  creative   practice  and  each  other.  From  the  point  of  view  of  the  need  for  hard  infrastructure,  the   oft  postponed  re-­‐development  of  the  Evandale  site  (a  site  that  is  across  the  river  from   the   Surfers   Paradise   beach   and   shopping   strip)   is   now   edging   towards   a   reality.     An   international   competition   for   a   cultural   centre   that   includes   the   creative   arts   and   sustainable   design   and   architecture   for   this   location   is   underway.     As   well,   the   light   rail   system  that  is  currently  being  constructed  along  the  coastal  strip  aims  at  providing  fast   transport  in  advance  of  the  Commonwealth  Games.    Residents  hope  that  the  link  will   also  provide  a  way  of  connecting  the  various  ‘communities’.       Conclusion     The  two  sites  of  discussion  in  this  study  (the  Gold  Coast  and  Brisbane)  represent  very   different   engagements   with   the   concepts   of   tourist   imaginaries   in   the   context   of   cultural   tourism.   The   Gold   Coast   continues   to   focus   on   the   attributes   of   the   physical   landscape   although   more   recent   online   marketing   includes   images   of   local   coffee   houses  and  food  stores  as  well  as  beach  scenes  and  eco-­‐tourism.    There  does  not  seem   to   have   been   further   action   (to   date)   to   extend   ideas   that   imagine   the   resident   and   tourist  as  co-­‐producers  of  a  sustainable  tourist  experience  and  to  leverage  the  diverse   desires   of   domestic   and   tourist   populations   through   local   culture.   The   Evandale   Gold   Coast  Cultural  Centre,  when  built,  may  well  change  this  tourist  environment  and  it  will   be   interesting   to   monitor   the   degree   of   engagement   between   the   centralized   cosmopolitan   site   and   the   diverse   beach   communities   and   growing   suburban   developments   in   the   region.   As   Greg   Richards   and   Wil   Munsters   state   ‘cultural   tourism   is  one  of  the  oldest  forms  of  travel  and  still  continues  to  be  a  mainstay  of  the  tourism   industry   in   most   parts   of   the   world’   (Richards,   G.,   &   Munsters,   W.,   2010,   p.1).   It   seems   then   imperative   for   future   planning   to   include   the   type   of   imaginative   cultural   processes   seen   at   play   in   the   Brisbane   study.   The   Brisbane   study   points   to   the   value   of   developing   a   domestic,   ‘suburban’   and   personalized   digital   response   to,   and   engagement   with,   local   culture.   And   planning   for   convergence   and   coherence,   as   almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

opposed   to   vertical   sector   development,   is   a   challenge.   However,   the   latest   range   of   ICTs,  including  developments  in  animation  and  augmented  reality,  can  assist  with  the   sophisticated  demands  of  the  post-­‐tourist  (and  residents).  Sustainable  digital  delivery   and   community   engagement   will   be   necessary   for   the   type   of   immersive   experience   that   tourists   are   seeking.   As   the   Gold   Coast   City’s   various   audits,   the   diverse   promotional   campaigns,   and   the   community   meetings   show,   there   will   be   a   need   for   new   approaches   to   develop   appropriate   methodologies   of   engagement   and   co-­‐ production   as   well   as   the   delivery   of   descriptive   or   technological   solutions.     In   this   context,   it   remains   to   be   seen   whether   the   City   can   move   from   pleasure   dome   to   a   body  with  a  cultural  heart.                                                                         almatourism.unibo.it  ISSN  2036-­‐5195     This  article  is  released  under  a  Creative  Commons  -­‐  Attribution  3.0  license.    

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

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AlmaTourism  N.  8,  2013:  Carson  S.,  Inside  the  Pleasure  Dome:  Cultural  Tourism  on  Australia’s  Gold  Coast          

 

 

Tusk.   (2011).   Surfers   Paradise   Nights   Campaign   Strategy.     Gold   Coast,   Queensland:   Tusk  Agency.     Urry,  J.,  (2002).  The  Tourist  Gaze.    London:  Sage.     Willoughby,   S.     (2011).   Our   City   Needs   a   Cultural   Living   Heart,     Gold   Coast   Bulletin,   27th   September  2011,  26-­‐27.     Yiannakis,   J.   N.,   &   Davies,   A.,   (2012).     Diversifying   rural   economies   through   literary   tourism:   a   review   of   literary   tourism   in   Western   Australia,   Journal   of   Heritage   Tourism,   7.1,  33-­‐44.    

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