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Magical Spaces: Heritage, Tourism and Events

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group
Organizers: Jane Lovell


Magical Spaces

This session explores how visitors experience "magical spaces" (Lovell, 2019). It could be argued that tourist experiences are becoming increasingly imaginative. The pursuit of fantasies attracts many tourists to heightened sensations of wonder, eerieness, or uncanniness. In order to meet this demand, some destinations and sites are staging magical festivals or interventions, such as spectacular lighting installations.

Magical spaces range from the hyperreal to the everyday. Some historic environments may seem innately magical to tourists as the embodied memories of past events, or due to their associations with customs and legends. Gothic buildings have traditionally been perceived as romantic and fairytalesque, while ruins can convey the affective, haunted, geographies of absence (Edensor, 2001, 2008) and nature has long been associated with folkloric traditions. The development of "invented traditions" (Hobsbawn and Ranger, 1983) and new myths have also enhanced the magic of some destinations; connections with literature and cinema, including Harry Potter, or Game of Thrones, have proved to be powerful visitor draws (Beeton, 2016; Buchmann, 2010; Waysdorf and Reijinders, 2018). In addition, the transformational power of fantasy cos-play is an increasingly meaningful performative aspect of tourism (Everett and Parakoottathil, 2018).

Session participants are invited to contribute to this intriguing session and are encouraged to explore the essence of magic, asking questions about the nature of experience, authenticity and ownership.

Subjects include:

Historic sites
Urban heritage
Geographies of absence
Literary geographies
Film geographies
Cultural Geography
Harry Potter Studies
Cos Play


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Miranda Meyer*, , Spectral Museums and Ephemeral Exhibitions in Postwar Beirut 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Linsi He*, Arizona State University, Dallen J. Timothy, Arizona State University , Souvenirs: Reminders of special moments or mass-produced kitsch? 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Rudi Hartmann University of Colorado 10 12:00 AM
Presenter Svetlana Stepchenkova*, , Veronika Belyaeva, University of Nizhni Novgorod, The role of personal authenticity orientation in achieving existential authenticity of tourism experience 15 12:00 AM

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