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Binding Culture and Tourism through Literature:

The potential of Literary Tourism


This study aims at providing some hints on the potential of literary tourism for business

and regional development.

It begins with the presentation and critical analysis of definitions of culture, literature

and tourism. These concepts are then interrelated. The profile of the literary tourist is

also characterised and the overlap between literary and film-induced tourism is


Finally, the potential of literary tourism is explored through the analysis of ten

international good practices in the field. Single literary tours, companies offering

several literary routes and literary tours resulting from public-private partnerships are

under analysis.

Keywords: literary tourism; literary tours; cultural tourism

Introduction and methodology

Literary tourism exists since the classical era. Influenced by Herodotus and his work

Histories, many rich Greeks and Romans travelled up the Nile. Over the centuries,

literary works by other authors have stimulated their readers to travel and many

locations have been associated with important authors: William Shakespeares Stratford-

upon-Avon, Sir Walter Scotts Abbotsford, Robert Burnss Alloway, the Bront sisters

Haworth, to cite just a few.

The potential of this kind of tourism for business and regional development has not

yet been accounted for in the literature. The following questions are addressed in this

study: Who is the literary tourist? What is the relationship between literary and film-

induced tourism? How can literary tourism boost networking among stakeholders in a

destination? How can it contribute to regional development? Other issues on literary

tourism are also researched.

Firstly, several definitions of tourism, culture and literature by several authors

are put forward. The relationship between culture and tourism is examined in the light

of postmodernism. The role of cultural tourism in bridging the gap between tourism and

culture is accounted for. Recent definitions of literature, which emphasise the role of the

reader, are also presented, as well as the consequences for literary tourism that arise

from these definitions.

Secondly several definitions of literary tourism are presented and the profile of

the literary tourist is characterised. Literary tourists tend to have higher levels of

education than the average tourist and tend to have higher income levels as well. In

addition, the overlap between film-induced tourism and literary tourism is accounted

for. Several examples are examined.

Finally, the potential of literary tourism for destinations is analysed. Owing to

the fact that research on literary tourism is scarce, literature on cultural and film-induced

tourism is also explored, in order to account for the benefits that this kind of tourism

might entail. In order to provide a broader picture of what literary tourism is, ten

international best practices in literary tourism are analysed across several dimensions:

places included along the tour; target-markets; tour packages offered; price;

approximate number of participants; length and duration of the tour; seasonality

patterns; and services included. Bearing in mind the opportunities and prospects for

literary tourism development (3.1.) and the characteristics of the literary tours analysed

(3.2.), the potential of literary tourism for destinations is explained.

1. Tourism, culture and literature

1.1. Perspectives on tourism and culture

Tourism is a multidimensional phenomenon hence the diversity of tourism

definitions throughout the literature. For instance, Leiper (1979) emphasised the

complexity of the tourism system, Mathieson and Wall (1990) emphasised its impacts,

whereas Murphy (1985) focused on the importance of the relationships established

between tourists and residents.

Traditionally, tourism was regarded by the demand side and often mixed with the

concept of tourist; however, nowadays, definitions of tourism from the supply side are

increasingly common. This change of perspectives means that tourism is more and more

regarded as an economic activity, and not only as a social and cultural phenomenon.

Smith (1995) defines the sector as the set of business activities of those who

travel outside their place of residence for leisure or business. This new supply-side

perspective implies regarding tourism as an economic activity. It also requires the

implementation of policies and strategies to enhance the performance of the sector,

namely the performance of the tourism characteristic products1 that tourism comprises.

With the inclusion of cultural services among these products, it is likely that the

financing of culture by the state is increased (Costa, 2005), especially given that tourism

is a strategic sector for many countries.

But can culture be synthesised as a mere characteristic product within the

tourism industry? The answer is no. Even though tourism and culture may both profit,

albeit in different ways, with the creation of mutual synergies, culture has quite a

distinct and separate identity from tourisms.

The question of the objectification of culture and its transformation into a cultural

product by the cultural industry has been discussed by several theorists. In the 1920s,

the Frankfurt school coined the terms cultural industry and mass culture to refer to

culture as a tool for the consolidation of the capitalist system, leading ultimately to the

destruction of culture itself (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1972; Marcuse, 1964). However,

not all authors have such a negative view about the relationship between culture and

capitalism. Benjamin emphasised that the contact of the masses with the art may lead to

a renewal of the social structures (Benjamin, 1971; Benjamin, 1973; Benjamin, 1975;

Accommodation services; food and beverage serving services (F&B); travel agency, tour operator and
tourist guide services; passenger transportation services; cultural services; recreation and other
entertainment services; and miscellaneous tourism services (OECD et al., 2001)

Benjamin, 1985). The emptying of the term culture, used both to refer to a

Weltanschauung and a consumer good, requires its deconstruction whenever it is

approached in studies in the cultural field (Baptista, 2009).

Lotmans definition of culture (1996; cited in Silva, 2005) stresses the

importance of intercultural communication, since culture is an exchange system. This

way, cultural tourism may promote intercultural communication, since the tourist guide/

cultural broker assumes the role of a buffer and bridges the gap between the visitor and

the resident (Mendes, 2007).

Given the increasing McDonaldisation of tourism destinations (Ritzer and

Liska, 1997), cultural tourism2 might play an important role in the dehomogenisation of

tourism destinations, since it values intercultural differences and enriches the experience

of both guest and host, through the immersion in the culture of the Other (Mendes,

2007). Hence intercultural understanding can be enhanced by tourism.

The relationship between tourism and culture might also be beneficial for

tourism. Several authors estimate that this association is strategic for tourism

development (Costa, 2003; Medeiros, 2005), since it can provide the basis for a tourism

strategy based on sustainability, authenticity, on the mix of traditional and modern

products, instead of a strategy relying on low-price policy (Medeiros, 2005).

It is essential to account for the value generated by culture and compare it with

the budget that governments allocate to it. The integration of culture in the core business

of tourism might change the way government and decision-makers think and decide

about culture, which may change the budgeting and planning for the sector, as well as

allow for the assignment of a more central role to culture in decision-making processes

(Costa, 1996; Costa, 2005).

ATLASs (Association for Tourism and Leisure Education) definition of cultural tourism: All
movements of persons to specific cultural attractions, such as heritage sites, artistic and cultural
manifestations, arts and drama outside their normal place of residence (Richards, 2000: 24)

1.2. Perspectives on Literature

Nowadays the term Literature is used to define a particular art and the set of

texts that result from it. However, the concept of literature is dynamic and has thus been

used in quite distinct ways by several authors throughout time.

In the positivist era, all the written works that represented a civilisation were

considered literary. However, in the beginning of the 20 th century, this view was

disputed by two schools of literary criticism: Russian Formalism and New Criticism.

According to these movements, it was literariness (literaturnost), a set of particular

aesthetical features, which distinguished literary from non-literary texts. Nevertheless

this definition was also subject to criticism on the basis that there is no set of features

that all literary works have in common and that could suffice to define a text as literary

(Silva, 2005).

Lotman introduced the concept of literature as a secondary modelling system.

He defined modelling system as a semiotic system that enabled humans to structurally

organise the surrounding world with gnoseological, communicative and pragmatic

functions (Silva, 2005). For Lotman, literature is a process of semiosis and

communication. This perspective values the authors role (sender), the role of the

literary work (message) and the readers role (receiver) (Silva, 2005). For Umberto Eco

(1985), the meaning of a literary work only exists if there is a process of

communication. For this author, the reader has an important role, since it cooperates

with existing structures within the literary work: a text requires someone that helps it

working (Eco, 1983).

This way, in contemporary literary research the role of the reader/ receiver has

been increasingly recognised. In the reception theory, developed in the late 1960s,

literature is considered a communication process. According to Jauss (1969), texts are

not passively accepted by the reader, but the readers have a key role in interpreting them

according to their horizon of expectations, which is related to their cultural

background. Hence, it is the readers horizon of expectations that transforms the artifact

(the text) into an aesthetical object. Therefore, literary history will never be complete,

since texts will always be read differently from time to time, due to the change in the

readers horizon of expectations (Jauss, 1969).

According to Iser (1976), the reader transforms a text into a literary one by

filling in its empty spaces (Leerstellen) while searching for its semantic consistency.

The text itself requires an implied reader, who is required by the structure of the text.

The real reader activates the implied reader and may or may not fill in the Leerstellen

(Iser, 1976).

Stanley Fish, a radical pragmatist, advocates that the decision of including or

excluding a text from the category literature relies entirely on the interpretive

community and not on the supposed formal characteristics of the texts. Hence, the

literary work has no intrinsic value of its own, being the value attached to it by the

interpretive community (Fish, 1980; Silva, 2005).

To sum up, in contemporary literary research, the reader does not have a passive

role: he/she becomes co-author of the literary work. This opens news perspectives

regarding the interrelation between reader, literary work and literary geography: on the

one hand, the experience of the real setting of the literary text by the reader leads

him/her to find new meanings for the text, increasing its polysemy. On the other hand,

the text leads him/her to find new meanings for the landscape and to co-write it.

Hence, the place and the book invite the tourist and the reader to re-read the text and the

landscape, thus enriching the place, the literary work and the reader himself/herself.

2. Conceptualising Literary Tourism

2.1. Definitions of Literary Tourism

According to Herbert (1996), there are different kinds of literary sites. To

illustrate this, Herbert collected several definitions of literary site by several authors:

- Places related with the authors life (Marsh, cited in Herbert, 1996);

- Places related with the fictional world created by the author in his/her

literary work (Pockock; Daniels, cited in Herbert, 1996);

- Places related with the writers life or works, but valued by the visitor

because they remind him/her about his/her past and evoke, e.g. childhood

memories, causing him/her nostalgia

Urry (1990) distinguishes places attractive on their own (e.g. due to their

landscape), not depending on their connection with a writer to attract tourists, from

those places that rely on their connection with a writer in order to attract tourists.

For Herbert (1996), a literary site may be a tourist attraction on its own, or a

component of some wider setting, as well as specific or general visitor attractions.

According to Mller (2006), literary sites can be managed as heritage sites, i.e.

protected, or as tourism destinations, i.e. mercantilised and commodified through the

proliferation of attractions, facilities and tourism services. Several authors suggest that

tourists are more interested in being stimulated and living an experience than in the

distinction between reality and fiction (Schouten, cited in Herbert, 2001; Foucault cited

in Shields, 1992). For Samuel, the authentic past does not even exist, since memory

changes and is historically conditioned. Historians constantly reinvent the past,

reconciling past and present, myth and memory (Samuel, cited in Herbert, 2001). Even

though the authentic past may be hard to trace, there is a difference between the

McDonalization of experiences, leading to the dissolution of local culture, and the

sustainable exploration of heritage sites for tourism purposes, leading to the broadening

of the horizons of the visiting and the visited, as well as to an improved mutual


It is important to distinguish literary sites from literary tours, which may be

regional, supra-regional or even international, and involve places, landscapes or

attractions connected with a writer or poet. They can be either followed independently

by tourists or they may be packaged into tourism products by enterprises or local

tourism organisations, in order to increase the economic impacts as well as enhance the

experience of the visitor. This study focuses on the latter kind of literary routes.

2.2. The literary tourist

Visitors of literary sites tend to belong to the service and business sectors and to have

higher qualifications (Herbert, 2001; Thrift and Prentice cited in Herbert, 2001; Urry,

1990). However, they are not exclusively literary pilgrims, i.e. well educated tourists

versed in the classics and with the cultural capital to appreciate and

understand this form

of heritage (Herbert, 2001:313). Athough some background is necessary to

enjoy this kind of experience, visitors of literary sites are increasingly diverse, as well as

visitors of heritage sites in general. Urry (1990) highlighted that tourists visiting sites

out of mere curiosity have outnumbered literary pilgrims. Herbert (2001) concluded

that only 15% of the visitors to two literary sites in Laugharne and Chawton (UK) were

literary pilgrims. However, 51% and 39% of the interviewed in Chawton and

Laugharne, respectively, mentioned being fans of the writer. He found out that tourists

tended to visit these sites specifically because of the writer, and that they tended to lack

detailed knowledge on his/her work. Herbert concluded that, nonetheless, these tourists

derived pleasure from visiting literary sites (Herbert, 2001).

2.3. The overlap between film-induced tourism and literary


Literary tourism and film-induced tourism are frequently associated. However,

film-induced tourism has some specific characteristics, such as the motivation for the

visit, which is usually not connected to the film directors personal life, but rather to the

setting of the movie or the lives of movie stars. (Beeton, 2005). Moreover, it more

frequently leads to mass tourism than literary tourism: Film is to literary tourism what

the Boeing 747 was to mainstream tourism a major booster for mass tourism

(Beeton, 2005: 53).

Several widely known film-induced tourism routes are in fact a result of a fusion

between literary and film-induced tourism, namely: The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown),

Harry Potter (J. K. Rowling) and Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). Nonetheless, in

the case of Harry Potter, it was the films, not the books, that boosted tourism activity.

Since the setting of the story is an imaginary place (Hogwarts), it was with the

recording of Harry Potter films in places like Alnwick Castle or Gloucester Cathedral

that the attraction of tourists to theses places was increased. However, the success of the

films was only possible given the previous success of the books (Olsberg|SPI, 2007).

As to The DaVinci Code, it is difficult to evaluate whether tourism demand

derives from the book or the film, since the action takes places in real places, e.g. St

Sulpice Cathedral, Rosslyn Chapel or Louvre Museum and, besides, soon after the

release of the book, thus long before the release of the film, there was already a

significant tourist inflow to these places (Olsberg|SPI, 2007).

It can be concluded that the fusion between literary and film-induced tourism

can contribute to increase the visibility of a destination and to boost tourism activity.

3. The potential of Literary Tourism

3.1. Potentialities, success factors and opportunities for

Literary Tourism

The 1980s saw a reduction in the budget for culture, due to pressures to cut back

public expenses. However, since the 1990s, the importance of culture and art was again

recognised, due to their potential to attract tourists, generate employment and increase

revenue (Gratton, 1996).

Costa (2003) also highlights that, for the Portuguese tourism to grow, it is

important to launch new products and qualify the markets, which are dominated by the

sun-sea-and-sand tourist. Thus cultural tourism is mentioned as one of the key areas for

the future of the sector, due to the increase in specialised tourists.

Moreover, the director of the European Institute for Cultural Routes from the

Council of Europe, Michael Thomas-Penette, underlined the importance of fostering

top-level tourism products in order to establish a strong brand image for Europe, by

associating Europe and culture, so that Europe remains the first tourism destination

worldwide (Turismo de Portugal, 2008).

According to Getz (n.d.), destinations need a complete portfolio of artistic,

cultural attractions and events, so that the main segments of the target-market are

covered the whole year and in the whole area. Literary routes can contribute to enrich

this portfolio.

Tourism and literature can cooperate in order to advertise cultural products as

tourist attractions, as well as to create destination branding strategies that associate

culture and literature. However, tourism tends to be dominant in this kind of

partnerships, and exploits culture and art, regardless of whether they are included in

partnerships with the tourism sector or not. Furthermore, arts are often weakly organised

and art tourism frequently lacks strategies coordinated at the local, regional and national

level (Getz, n.d.).

In order to make culture and art benefit from tourism, strategies and clearly

defined goals should be put forward. Artistic and literary tourism should be granted the

necessary funding, so that these agents can play an active role in destination branding

and marketing. On the other hand, art and literature should provide more creative and

participative experiences, instead of being merely a static product, that provides passive


This way, fully developed literary routes can be developed. Some of the

potentialities of literary routes are the following:

Disseminate the cultural heritage of the region, boosting the interest for

culture and literature;

Attract tourists with a higher level of education and hence with more

purchasing power, which is advantageous to increase revenue (Herbert

2001; Eusbio, Castro and Costa, 2008);

Attract new market segments, in order to decrease dependence on a small

number of markets and products;

Increase the attractiveness of places with a low tourist demand and during

the low season, given that, according to Curado (1996), there is a higher

proportion of cultural tourists that travel in winter;

Enable the destination to differentiate itself from other cultural tourism

destinations, since a tour involving the places mentioned in a particular

book cannot be replicated anywhere else;

Couple the accommodation and food & beverage economy with the

experience economy (Breda et al, 2005): when travelling, tourists are

motivated for the visit of specific attractions or for the engagement in a

tour; however, they need secondary resources (accommodation, food and

beverage services), that cater for their basic needs hence, they incur in

expenses in these sectors and stimulate them. On the other hand, literary

routes and the whole experience industry contribute to extend the tourist

stay and thus increase revenue. Therefore, coupling both economies has

positive results, since they mutually reinforce each other;

The experience economy prevails nowadays in leisure and tourism, and

the tourists increasingly search for unique experiences (Getz, s.d.);

Literary sites tend to attract tourists with more general interests, not

merely literary pilgrims (Herbert, 2001; Urry, 1990), which hints that the

interest for this product is not simply confined to a very small number of

individuals, but rather that this product is economically feasible.

The company Olsberg|SPI (2007) suggested a list of success factor for film-induced

tourism, which can be extended to literary tourism. The factors mentioned are the

following: strong narratives (as opposed to pure entertainment, such as action and

adventure; the link to an established literary or historical brand; the use of historical

buildings or rural landscapes as locations; and place (whether real or fictional) playing

a key role in the story.

3.2. An analysis of best practices in Literary Tourism

Since research on literary tourism is scarce, particularly concerning the

economic benefits of this activity, ten international literary routes were analysed. These

tourism products were analysed with basis on the information provided in their website,

and the product organisers were contacted by email whenever further information was

necessary. The aim of this analysis is to study the heterogeneity of literary tourism, and

particularly explore its economic potential. The analysis of these routes was performed

in 2009 and one of these tours does not exist any longer.

Given the diversity of literary tours analysed, they were grouped into three

categories (Table 1). Some tours are organised by companies that are either exclusively

dedicated to a specific literary tour, or that do not offer any other literary tour (a). Hence

only a single literary tour is analysed, not the whole range of products offered by the

company. In contrast, there are companies that offer a number of literary tours (b),

hence the whole literary tourism offers of these companies was analysed. Finally, there

are tours that result from public-private partnerships and that involve a number of

organisations (c) thus these products are the most complex and the ones where the

economic impact is most difficult to be predicted.

Table 1: Literary tourism offers analysed

a) Single literary Tours

1. Chateau de Villette DaVinci Code Lodging in the Chateau the

( Villette, the palace where part of
the movie based on Dan Browns
book The DaVinci Code was
filmed. Visits to Paris are
2. Cracking the DaVinci Code Visit to the Louvre Museum in
( order to analyse paintings and (does not their symbolism with basis on
exist any longer) questions arisen by the book The
DaVinci Code.

3. Minibus DaVinci Tour Code Guided tour to Paris centred in

( the places mentioned in the book
code.php#DetailedInfo) The DaVinci Code.

4. HP Fantrips ( Harry-Potter themed tours in the

sites used for the filming of
Harry Potter movies.
5. Dublin Literary Pub Crawl Tour of Dublin's historic pubs in
( the company of two actors who
introduce the writers and
perform scenes from their works.
b) Companies offering several literary tours

1. Novel Explorations Literary and cultural tours in

( Great Britain and Ireland
organised by a US company.
2. Casterbridge Tours Educational tours in Europe
( (including literary tours), mostly
for groups of students.
3. British Tours Ltd ( Literary and cultural tours with
great flexibility in Great Britain
and other European countries.
c) Literary tours resulting from public-private partnerships

1. Project Rheinischer Sagenweg Promotion of tours around tales,

(The Legendary Rhine-Romantic Route) legends and myths related with
( the German regions of Rhineland
Palatinate and North-Rhine
2. Project Deutsche Mrchenstrae Tours in the areas where the
(The German Fairy Tale Route) Grimm brothers lived and around
( the tales created by them.

These tours were analysed across several domains, namely the following: the

type of places included along the tour; target-markets; tour packages offered; price;

approximate number of participants; length and duration of the tour; seasonality

patterns; services included (e.g. accommodation; food & beverage; passenger

transportation; rent-a-car; travel agencies, tour operators and tour guides; culture

and leisure services). With basis on the analysis of these dimensions in each of the

aforementioned literary tours, the potential of literary tourism for destinations is


3.2.1. Places included along the tours (countries, regions, cities or sites within a city

or a village)

The places visited along a literary tour may range from a single site within a city

(e.g. the Louvre Museum in the tour Cracking the DaVinci Code) or part of a city and

its specific attractions (e.g. its pubs or the monuments associated with a writer, as in

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl), to much larger areas, such as several regions within a

country (as in The Legendary Rhine-Romantic Route and The German Fairy Tale


3.2.2. Target market

The target market is mostly cultural tourists engaging in leisure activities. However,

there are some exceptions: the DaVinci Code Tour Packages targets a luxury segment

more specifically; Casterbridge Tours focuses on school trips; whereas HP Fantrips is

more family and leisure-oriented.

Specific tourism products are offered to companies, such as the product Literary

Treasure Hunt, which is offered by the organisers of the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.

Optional tours are also available for visitors with specific interests. For example,

Chateau de Villette visitors can engage in an optional tour dedicated to Mary


Concerning marketing segmentation according to the tourists origin, some of these

tours specifically target North American tourists, namely Casterbridge Tours and Novel


3.2.3. Tour packages offered (by companies listed as (b) in Table 1) and flexibility

Some tours are offered in different packages, in order to attract different segments.

The DaVinci Code Tours in Chateau de Villette has different packages according to the

length of stay and HP Fantrips has a package directed at adults and another directed at

families. Casterbridge Tours offers thirty distinct literary tours, whereas British Tours

offers twelve.

The product Dublin Literary Pub Crawl can be offered indoors, including the

performance but not the tour of Dublins historic pubs. In the case of HP Fantrips

flexibility is practically inexistent, since the product is more massified.

3.2.4. Prices

Prices per person for a two to six-hour visit vary between 85 and 985; for longer

stays, the daily price is about 300-400, but can reach up to 1225 daily euros, in the

case of Chateu de Villette DaVinci Code. Meals and visits to the museums may or

may not be included in the final price.

3.2.5. Approximate number of visitors

Group composition may vary from individual visits to groups with 52 people.

Concerning the annual number of tourists who purchase the literary routes under

analysis, it was not possible to obtain information from most of these organisations,

either because of the inexistence of data (as in the case of The Legendary Rhine-

Romantic Route and The German Fairy Tale Route), or because these organisations

chose not to disclose this information. However, it was possible to conclude that the

number of visitors of the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl ranged from 17,000 to 20,000 in

2009. It was by far the most sought after route. Casterbridge Tours mentioned having

about 300-600 literary tourists annually.

However, the DaVinci Code Minibus Tour only has about 100 annual visitors. This

reduced number of visitors is probably due to the fact that The DaVinci Code is not a

literary classic, but a best-seller that enjoyed huge short-time success, which is

gradually fading out (Olsberg|SPI, 2007). The fact that in 2011 the product Cracking the

DaVinci Code no longer exists, also confirms the loss of popularity of The DaVinci

Code both the film and the book. Also with the end of the Harry Potter series, the

interest of tourists for HP Fantrips is likely to gradually fade out.

3.2.6. Length and duration of the routes

The length of the routes may range from 600 km (in the case of the German Fairy

Tale Route) to 800 metres (Dublin Literary Pub Crawl) or the visiting of a single

attraction (Cracking the DaVinci Code, which is centred in the Louvre Museum).

Concerning the duration of stay, it is also very heterogeneous, since it may range

from two hours (Dublin Literary Pub Crawl) to twelve nights (Novel Explorations and

Casterbridge Tours).

3.2.7. Seasonality patterns

The demand for these routes is seasonal and it is concentrated between April and

October, which correspond to the spring and summer months in the countries analysed.

Nevertheless, seasonality is more reduced than in other tourism typologies, such as sun,

sea and sand tourism, on which several countries rely, namely Southern European

countries, among others.

Since Casterbridge Tours is dependent on the United States school market, it

presents a different seasonality pattern. Hence, the high season is from March until July

and the low season is August, due to school holidays.

3.2.8. Services included in the tour:

Several tourism characteristic activities are included in the tour packages. This inclusion

contributes to the stimulation of economy and employment associated with these

services. Accommodation

Accommodation tends to be in high level accommodation, namely four or five-star

rated hotels, manor houses or even palaces (Chateau de Villette). The exceptions are

Casterbridge Tours and HP Fantrips. The former offer two or three-star accommodation,

since the target markets are groups of school students, and the latter offers three or four-

star accommodation, since it is less directed at a niche market, targeting a broader

market instead.

In some cases, accommodation can be chosen according to the clients taste, but in

other cases accommodation is already set in the tour package. A longer tour may include

overnight in a single hotel or several different hotels may be included. Food and beverage

Concerning food and beverage, in some cases lunching and dining are included in

the package. Frequently, meals are served in local charm restaurants. In the case of

Casterbridge Tours, which targets mainly student groups, dinners are organised in

traditional restaurants and the menus are rigid. Transportation and rent-a-car

All sorts of transportation are used: mini-bus, airplane, train, public

transportation (bus and underground), double-decker bus, van, ferry-boat, steamboat,

typical trains and a cars driven by a tour guide.

Thus these tours contribute to the stimulation of the transportation sector. Travel agencies, tour operators and tour guides

There are guided tours (either by tour guides or actors) in almost all the routes

offered. The exceptions are the Legendary Rhine-Romantic Route and The German

Fairy Tale Route, since they can be taken individually.

Thus, it can be concluded that the cultural broker plays a fundamental role in these

tours. For this reason, their academic background and professional experience is given

relevance to, particularly in British Tours website.

21 Cultural, recreation and other entertainment services

In each tour paid attractions are visited (e.g. museums, monuments, castles)

and the entry price is included in the final price of the tour in most cases, but not all

(e.g. British Tours).

Many countries lack the resources to adequately fund and fully guarantee the

preservation of their monuments and other cultural sites (Lanzafame, 2010). The

inclusion of these attractions in literary tours contributes to increase the funds available

for maintaining these sites.

3.2.10. Remarks on the Legendary Rhine-Romantic Route and on the German

Fairy Tale Route

With the abovementioned projects, two networks involving several organisations at

a regional level were created. These networks involve the German tourist board,

regional tourism boards, tourism associations and tourist offices, as well as private

companies, from all the places involved. In the case of the German Fairy Tale Route, a

partnership was established with a travel agency, so that it would sell and promote tour

packages associated with the thematic of fairy tales.

The websites of both of these German projects present information concerning

accommodation and food & beverage services in the regions involved, as well as links

to the websites of the regional tourism boards and tourist offices.

The creation of networks at the local level, involving stakeholders from several

different natures, can have an important role in the improvement of the ability of the

destination to compete at the global level, in the increase of business turnover and in

community development (Costa, Breda, Costa, & Miguns, 2008; Kotler, Haider &

Rein, 1993). These projects can thus have an important role in regional development,

since they stimulate the creation and development of networks.

The website of the project German Fairy Tale Route includes a search engine that

allows to look for World heritage sites or events in a very innovative way. Within the

Legendary Rhine-Romantic Route, books about legends and myths are produced and

sold, due to the partnership with the publisher involved in the project.

The German Fairy Tale Route promises continuous efforts of innovation, namely

through the creation of a system that will allow for the online booking of

accommodation and tickets for events through the website of the project. This will allow

for a better connection between all the stakeholders, as well as for the reinforcement of

an image of unity.

3.2.11. The potential of the literary tours

The variety of literary tours presented, particularly the existence of companies

specifically devoted to this kind of product, suggests that there is a market interested in

literary tourism. Given the prices of the products offered, it can be said that the target-

market is mostly, albeit not exclusively, the highbrow segment, with high economic and

social capital, which allow them to engage in this kind of experience and enjoy it.

It can be concluded that the average daily tourist expenditure in this tourism

typology is very high. For instance, if the Portuguese context is taken into account,

more specifically, the Centre region, daily tourist spending varies between 43.03 for

health tourists and 67.96 for cultural tourists (Eusbio et al., 2008). Cultural tourism

requires higher levels of expenditure, given that, in order to have access to art and

cultural products, it is necessary to pay for attraction tickets or pay for a tour guide. In

the same way, in order to taste local cuisine and visit local restaurants, it is necessary to

incur in further expenses. Other strengths of this tourism typology are that the high

season lasts longer than in many other kinds of tourism, being this seasonality pattern

more favourable for regional development than, for example, that of the sun, sea and

sand tourism.

As pointed out by Olsberg|SPI (2007), tourism around literary classics tends to have

a longer lasting effect, since these works are affected by changes in fashion and tastes.

As already analysed, the popularity of tours around The DaVinci Code or Harry Potter

series are likely to decline in the near future.

Some of the literary tours analysed offer significant competitive advantages,

since the product they offer cannot be mimicked by the competition: for example, only

with HP Fantrips is it possible to travel on Hogwarts Express, the magical train that

appears in Harry Potter movies; only the company French Vacation offers the possibility

of overnighting at Chateau de Villette, the palace where Sir Leigh Teabing lived in the

film The DaVinci Code.

On the other hand, literary tours associated with a specific destination cannot be

easily mimicked and reproduced in different destinations. While an Isla Mgica or an

EuroDisney can be mimicked and recreated anywhere on the planet, the places

associated with Grimm brothers tales only exist in Germany and the landscapes of Lake

District that inspired William Wordsworth only exist in England.

Conclusions and recommendations

This study intended to provide some hints to the understanding of the potential

of literary tourism for destinations.

Firstly, the nature of the relationship between tourism, culture and literature was

discussed. It is important to define tourism as an industry which should be analysed so

that its performance can be improved. In addition, regarding culture as a semiotic

system allows us to understand how cultures relate with each other, as well as to value

the role of the buffer the cultural tourism mediator who semiotises the otherness,

thus favouring intercultural communication. Moreover, the concept of literature adopted

emphasises the role of the reader in transforming the artifact into an aesthetical object.

The literary tour itself favours the interpenetration between geography, the reader and

the literary work, thus increasing the polysemy of both place and text. Despite the

growing McDisneysation of destinations, the cultural tourist has a higher level of

education, which should nurture his/her genuine desire to know the culture of the Other.

This should contribute to the search for a real cultural tourism, which bridges the gap

between host and guest, broadening the horizons of both of them. Since culture is part

of the uniqueness of each destination and is included within the core business of

tourism, cultural tourism should be carefully planned, in order to avoid forms of tourism

that can be entirely reproduced elsewhere and that are empty of meaning.

According to the literature, the literary tourists do not have a in-depth

knowledge of the literary work or the writer; hence, literary tours do not appeal

exclusively to literary pilgrims. The tendency verified is that literary tourists have the

cultural aptitude that allows them to enjoy and enrich themselves with this kind of


Nowadays literary tourism and film-induced tourism are frequently intertwined,

particularly when a literary work is adapted to the screen. In these cases it is difficult to

circumscribe the tourism activity generated either to the literary or to the film-induced

tourism exclusively.

Literary tourism fosters tourism development through the creation of synergies

between the experience economy and the accommodation and food and beverage

economy. This is important to attract tourists and extend their stay in the destination.

Literary tourism also favours the creation of a brand image that associates a destination

with culture and literature.

Several heterogeneous international best practices in literary tourism were analysed.

It was concluded that there is a considerable number of companies that target this

segment, which means that there is a demand for this kind of product. The daily tourist

expenditure is high (300-400), due to the spending in heritage sites, food and

beverage and accommodation, which tends to be of high category. Literary tourism

offers products that cannot be replicated by competing destinations, which offers a

possibility of differentiation. The aim of the Legendary Rhine-Romantic Route and the

German Fairy Tale Route is the creation of a network involving both public and private

organisations, as well as accommodation, food and beverage services and publishers,

comprehending one or more German regions. The existence of a brand and a common

dissemination system foster an image of unity in the eyes of the visitor and contribute to

increase the national and international projection of the organisations involved, which

would not be able to compete at the global level if they acted in an atomised way.

Literary tourism can thus be considered an under-researched area, which

nonetheless has a significant potential. The studies carried out in this field are scarce,

namely concerning the economic impacts of this tourism typology. Moreover, many of

the studies undertaken stem from the culture and literature fields, not from the tourism

field. Hence, future studies should analyse in more depth the economic impacts of

literary tourism and approach this field more from the tourism business perspective, and

not solely from the literary perspective.

It can be concluded that regions that have links with renowned writers or that are

depicted in literary works should consider the inclusion of literary tourism as one of the

key elements in their strategy for tourism development. In order to fully benefit from

the connection to literature, consistent planning of literary tourism products should be

put forward, so that non-massified quality products emerge and tourism can be a vehicle

that facilitates the communication between the guest and the host.


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