Acceptance for Creative Tourism by citizens and tourists in Tourism- Supporting Cities; the case of Yasouj

Document Type : Research Paper


Tehran University of art


Yasouj, located in a district with vast wilderness areas, has been named as the Iran Nature Capital and has become one of the major tourism attractions in south of Iran. Despite having unique social- cultural intangible attributes, Since the city itself doesn’t have cultural- historical tangible elements to attract tourism, can be considered a tourism- supporting city that supplies services for eco- tourism of surrounding natural areas. Such a condition has abandoned the city from tourism flow. The creative tourism paradigm, in contrast with other types of tourism that rely on tangible cultural and ecological elements, emphasizes on everyday life of the city and active participative experiences for both tourist and locals. In 2006, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Creative Cities Network defined creative tourism as ‘travel directed toward an engaged and authentic experience, with participative learning in the arts, heritage, or special character of a place, and it provides a connection with those who reside in this place and create this living culture (UNESCO, 2006, 3). The common components of creative tourism are ‘participative, authentic experiences that allow tourists to develop their creative potential and skills through contact with local people and their culture’ (Richards, 2011, 1237), and thus it is essentially a learning process which blurs the tourist- locals distinction.
This research aimed to explore the role of Yasouj in lived experience of tourism and locals, to understand if they have acceptance for creative tourism patterns and attributes due to the current situation of the city.
In literature review this research analyzed the creative tourism paradigm and relevant concepts to shape a conceptual framework. Relying on Inductive Qualitative Content Analysis methodology, this research explored the experience of 32 interviewees (20 tourism and 12 locals) using coding as the main analysis method. An inductive approach, also called data-driven or text-driven, is characterized by a search for patterns and themes to describe the studied phenomenon. During the analysis the researcher looks for similarities and differences in the data, which are described in categories and/or themes on various levels of abstraction and interpretation. The researcher moves from the data to a theoretical understanding – from the concrete and specific to the abstract and general (Graneheim et al., 2017, 30).
The eight discovered categories indicate to three different themes, as the research findings, including “city- tourism supporting”, “city- presenting cultural products” and “city- event” explains the interviewee’s experience of Yasouj’s current situation and their image for preferred future situation of tourism. The three themes indicate to necessity of interrelationship between three different levels of roles, not only the creative tourism one, that Yasuj should play for tourism; in district (macro) level, connection to the eco- tourism; in city level (meso), supporting an interconnected network of cultural- tourism areas and places; in public space level (micro) supporting livable eventful public spaces. This research findings describes tourism, including the current situation and the capacities for future, for those cities that, similar to Yasouj, are presenting as a tourism-support for surrounding ecological areas.


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