Listening to the local voices of a destination: "Live like a local" experiences in Helsinki

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Abstract

There is a trend in Western society for travelers to seek for authentic experiences in the places they visit. Although travelers in the past would have satisfied their thirst for authenticity with a dinner in a local restaurant or just a chat with a local person, nowadays they want to experience the whole destination like those who live there do. As Richards and Russo (2014) argue, travelers no longer want to follow the guide book; they try to avoid crowded tourist sites that characterize contemporary destinations. Travelers are looking for information about sites and events that offer access to the local culture and ways of life.

Several destinations in Europe have responded to this emerging trend through different initiatives. For example, the West Sweden Tourist Board has launched a community initiative called “Meet the Locals” which includes everything from an “MTB tour”, to “yoga lessons” and “party with local people”. Visit Copenhagen has started a publication series named “Do Like The Locals” where Copenhageners share their personal views about what they like about their city. In a time where destination experiences are becoming more dependent on the local socio-cultural fabrics, there is also a need to better understand what locals find extraordinary and unique about the places they live in. In this address, we first draw attention to the aspects stressed by locals when talking about their experiences within their own city. To that end, we look at blog posts written by Helsinki locals. Second, we discuss some recommendations for promoting more authentic “live like a local” destination experiences. The address is based on
the Master’s thesis Memorable Experiences of “Living Like a Local”: Content Analysis of Blogs about Helsinki written by the first author.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-61
Number of pages3
JournalMatkailututkimus
Volume14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Tourism
  • responsible tourism
  • tourism experiences
  • memorable experiences
  • responsible business
  • locality
  • Travel
  • Destination management
  • Destination marketing
  • DMO
  • Helsinki
  • Customer experience
  • consumer research

Field of science

  • Tourism research
  • Business and management

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