Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
visitors, and their consumption and travelling
habits. The specifi c tasks of the Observatory are
the following: (i) creation and maintenance of
databases with tourism-related information; (ii)
periodical reports offering a basic analysis of the
situation of the tourism, in general terms and in
relative terms (comparing with past years or
similar contexts); (iii) specifi c reports about the
effects on the tourism sector of special events
(i.e. exhibitions, enhancement of built heritage,
etc.); and (iv) writing of the 'Tourism Observa-
tory Bulletin'.
All these are efforts made by the adminis-
tration to promote tourism in the city, to create
and develop a diversifi ed offering, to build and
transmit an appealing image of the city. Some
of these efforts, issued from a realistic refl ection
on the main features of the city, reinforce its
most evident assets (restoration of the wall and
creation of the Museum of Mysticism) and do
not add new elements to the image of the city;
some others are focused on 'new' tourism prod-
ucts (the fair Ávila en tapas, the language
courses, the congress and municipal centre) and
try to enlarge the offerings of the city, eventually
trying to modify and renew its image. The ques-
tions that remain are: what are the results of
these efforts? Have they succeeded in shaping
the desired image in the mind of potential visi-
tors? And, on the other hand, have they paid
any attention to the tourist's gaze for the design
of the tourism attraction? Do we have any study
that provides feedback about these issues?
Unfortunately, the tourism observatory is
devoted to collect information of quantitative
kind about the visitor's profi le and habits, so its
bulletins cannot help answer these questions.
The only information available (beside the
mentioned unreferenced survey about the Saint
Therese character) comes from the studies car-
ried out by the UAM team in the context of the
PICTURE project, specifi cally oriented towards
the exploration of the tourist's gaze of the city's
offering. Visitors' profi les and meaning map
surveys were developed and tested to investi-
gate the image that potential tourists have of
Ávila. This study, conducted in Madrid between
the months of February and September of
2005, with a sample of 204 potential tourists,
provided the information necessary to elabo-
rate on some visualization tools that describe
in a very intuitive way the tourist's gaze on
the city.
Figure 10.3 represents the share of some
elements in the whole image of the city. The
identifi cation and cataloguing of all the concepts
counted 77 elements that were clustered for the
sake of this report (i.e. we have regrouped 'spe-
cifi c monument' and 'monuments in general'
into a category comprehensive of both ele-
ments: 'built heritage'). The fi nal categories are:
Generic geographic notions, Nature and land-
scape, Culture and history, Built heritage, Folk-
lore, Regional cuisine, Religion, Primary sector,
Backwardness, Good economy and Other.
The fi rst column corresponds to the fi rst cat-
egory ('Generic Geographic Notions'), and rep-
resents some generic answers of little interest,
dealing with the geographical position of the
city, and its belonging to the respective province
and region. This category has a share of 13% of
the whole representation of Ávila. The second
column/category represents all the answers
related to nature, landscape, wildlife, climate
aspects and outskirts of the city (21% share).
The third column/category refers to any element
related with culture, history, art, ancient cultures
and inhabitants, and the Middle Ages (12%
share). The next column synthesizes all answers
related to built heritage, architecture, ruins and
sites, including Ávila's wall and cathedral (22%
share). The fi fth column refers to all elements
that have to do with folklore issues, such as tra-
ditions, fairs, country life, music, theatre (5%
Fig. 10.3.
Share of different elements in the image of Ávila. Copyright UAM, PICTURE.
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