Conceptualizing the creative tourist class: technology, mobility and tourism experiences
Increasing mobilities and an ever greater amount of technologies that support creativity have led to the emergence of a so-called Creative Class in our postmodern society. Creative Class members have distinctive experiences that blur the boundaries between everyday and touristic life. These experiences challenge conventional typologies of the tourist experience and have tremendous implications for tourism research and practice. In this article we discuss first what the Creative Class is, what experiences it has, and how it uses emerging technologies to create, mediate, and reconstruct these experiences. A special emphasis is placed on the relationship the Creative Class has with technology, in particular consumer-generated media. The discussion draws on literature from different fields, stressing the need for an interdisciplinary perspective to analyze and understand the phenomenon. Next, the article proposes that there is indeed an emergence of a creative tourist class with distinct tourism experiences. We then argue that these insights call for a new conceptualization of tourism experiences in general. A tourism experience sphere is presented and described that seeks to overcome some of the limitations of our current conceptualization and understanding of tourists' experiences. The sphere represents a multidimensional space enabling combinations of experience aspects and dimensions (these are illustrative items and not meant to be an exhaustive categorization). The article closes with an agenda for future research regarding tourism experiences, creative tourists, tourism product development, and tourism marketing.
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