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Making a difference: tourist practices of repeat visitors in the city of Paris

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Author(s): T. Freytag

Journal: Social Geography Discussions
ISSN 1816-1499

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
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ABSTRACT
In the context of sustained growth in European city tourism, competing travel destinations develop marketing strategies that include measures to attract an increasing number of repeat visitors. This paper explores the case of Paris in order to provide a better understanding of the specific motivations, interests and activities of leisure tourists who had previously stayed in the capital of France. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's concept of "distinction" it is argued that repeat visitors tend to differentiate themselves from other tourists. On the basis of substantive field work in Paris, a set of repeat visitor practices is presented that include strategies to avoid spatial concentrations of major tourist spots in order to participate in Parisian everyday life. Moreover, it is suggested to conceptualize the encounters between repeat visitors and tourism destinations as a lifelong relationship, which can be renewed and reproduced through further visits and virtual encounters. The distinct characteristics of repeat visitor practices have substantial implications for the organization of tourism in the city and the relationships between first-time tourists, repeat visitors and the local population.
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