Representation of nature by tourists: a method using the social networks. Case study of Center Parcs

Abstract : Center Parcs is a tourism concept, which is oriented towards the connection, the closeness with nature. But this “nature” is a nature, which is managed, maintained, artificial. Thus this concept questions the nature perception. More generally, what is the representation of nature by the customers, which stay in this kind of tourism structure? To answer this question, we decided to focus on the comments written by these customers on sharing sites. This study was conducted in the framework of a research program, NaTour, which questions the nature tourism, thanks to the financial support of the French Region Centre-Val de Loire. We used georeferenced digital database, which compiles comments posted on TripAdvisor website (Chareyron, 2014). This main source was completed by observations in situ and by the analysis of the website and brochures of the studied spot. The study concerned the Center Parcs Hauts de Bruyères, which is located in Sologne area, in the center of France. The aim was to define a method to use this kind of sources, which are interesting to understand the tourist representation but constitute a significant mass of data. We would like to extract quickly the main information, that’s why we used a textual analysis software. We thus obtained the occurrence of each word. We kept the more meaningful ones, associate the synonyms and classified this group of words by great categories. We note that the comments are often positive. It can be considered as a bias but which is accepted. It also reveals that the families, who stay at Center Parcs, enjoy and we can thus suppose that they find the “nature”, which they seek. The most frequent adjectives, which are linked to the feelings, are “pleasant”, “quiet” and “great”. But the number of words relating to the provisions (activities) is largely higher than those, which are related to the nature. It leads to wonder, if the tourist really seek “nature”. The first adjective, which is associated to this one, is “quiet”. But the customers also have the feeling that this nature is “preserved” and “luxuriant”. They thus confirm what is written on the website: Center Parcs is described as located in “a unique preserved site in the heart of the regions, which are rich in natural and cultural heritages”. Nevertheless, two parts can be distinguished in the field: a noisy one, which is dedicated to the activities (games, shops) and a quiet one, which is dominated by forest but where are located the cottages, where the families stay. Finally, nature seems to be only a setting. It’s only a landscape to contemplate, thus a landscape, which should be green, nice and quiet.
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Contributor : Amélie Robert <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 10:26:42 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 10:54:07 AM

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Amélie Robert, Jean Louis Yengué, Estelle Issa. Representation of nature by tourists: a method using the social networks. Case study of Center Parcs. Dr. Lia Bassa, Dr. Ferenc Kiss. Proceedings of TCL2016 Conference: Tourism And Cultural Landscapes:Towards A Sustainable Approach, 12-16 June, 2016 Budapest (Hungary), Foundation for Information Society (INFOTA), p. 492-502, 2016, 978-615-80061-4-9. ⟨http://www.infota.org/⟩. ⟨hal-01345517⟩

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