Sensory experiences in heritage contexts: A qualitative approach

Authors

  • Ana Bender Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability, Well-being, Faculty of Economics, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Email: acbender@ualg.pt
  • Manuela Guerreiro Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability, Well-being, Faculty of Economics, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Email: mmguerre@ualg.pt https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6398-9712
  • Dora Agapito Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability, Well-being, Faculty of Economics, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Email: dlagapito@ualg.pt https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2568-3720
  • Bernardete Dias Sequeira Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences (CICS.NOVA) and Faculty of Economics, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Email: bsequei@ualg.pt
  • Júlio Mendes Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability, Well-being, Faculty of Economics, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Email: juliomendes2050@gmail.com

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.54055/ejtr.v36i.3060

Keywords:

heritage attractions, the sensory dimension of tourist experiences, consumer experience, visitor perspective

Abstract

This study explores the sensory experience at heritage sites from the visitors' perspective. A qualitative and exploratory approach was used, considering two data collection methods: semi-structured interviews and in situ focus groups. This empirical study was conducted in the Algarve region, a southern Portugal's sea and sun destination. The data was compiled and analyzed through a thematic content with QSR NVivo 12. The findings suggest that managers should explore and understand tangible, intangible (or immaterial) elements that influence visitors' experiences, attitudes, and behaviours toward the physical environment. In this sense, managers must converge efforts to highlight the sensory cues intrinsic to each site. Furthermore, considering the scarce research addressing sensory experiences in heritage contexts, this study contributes to the literature by exploring the role of the sensory dimension of experiencing a monument that is one of the main attractions in a seasonal mass tourism destination. A framework is presented, which can help managers to design sensory experiences in a built heritage context and assist researchers in future studies. In addition to that, this research also provides some practical implications for management and depicts several leads to future research.

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Published

2023-11-02

How to Cite

Bender, A., Guerreiro, M., Agapito, D., Dias Sequeira, B., & Mendes, J. (2023). Sensory experiences in heritage contexts: A qualitative approach. European Journal of Tourism Research, 36, 3604. https://doi.org/10.54055/ejtr.v36i.3060