War Horse or not? A study of the Dartmoor visitor
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Rural tourism still defies definition. Due to the nature of rurality, and the process of tourist imagination, rural locations are viewed and consumed through multiple social representations. When a rural location has been well represented through fiction for many years, it is then questioned if the type of visitor to the site alters when a Hollywood movie is filmed on location, as the celluloid portrayal is believed to reach a wider audience (Busby & Klug 2001). Consequently, when the representations of a location diversify, it is questioned if these representations influence the tourist imagination and decision-making process. Through a case study of Dartmoor National Park, an onsite quantitative survey was undertaken to explore the type of visitor found on Dartmoor after the release of the 2012 blockbuster film, War Horse. The findings revealed that visitor motivations to Dartmoor have changed over the past 20 years, the socio-demographic characteristics of the visitor has shifted, and that the film representation of the moor had been consumed by the majority of respondents, more so than the fictional novel. However, due to the low response rates associated with this investigation, it is questioned if these shifts are a consequence of film representations of the moor, or fashion.
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