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The building of touristic itineraries

The influence of cultural and technical resources on the sequence of a visit1
Cédric Calvignac, Roland Canu et Christophe Jalaudin
Traduction de Jessica Mace
Cet article est une traduction de :
La fabrique des parcours touristiques [fr]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
La fàbrica de rutes turístiques [ca]

Texte intégral

  • 1 This work was carried out under the framework of LABEX SMS, under the reference number ANR-11-LABX- (...)
  • 2 Third-party advisors could be professionals or amateurs. In numerous cities, we see the development (...)
  • 3 For the study of touristic labels, see: Charles, Thouément, 2007; Cousin, 2008; Bourdeau, Gravari-B (...)
  • 4 The paper tourist guide is an object of research that has been widely investigated. Here is a selec (...)
  • 5 Among the studies on the touristic use of mobile applications or, more broadly, digital equipment, (...)

1Visiting a touristic site leads to the fulfilment of numerous negotiations in light of proposals formulated by an ensemble of human actors (companions, tourism professionals, merchants, third-party advisors2) and non-humans (labels,3 advertisements, city maps, paper guides,4 prospectus, signage, smartphone applications5). It is in contact with this system of abundant actors that each person “builds” herself a customised touristic itinerary. The “building” of a touristic itinerary likewise depends on the mobilisation (or on the availability) of an ensemble of material and immaterial resources; it depends on the intersection between provisions for discovery and aids for touristic guidance.

2In this article, we seek to measure the impact of two principal (res)sources of understanding (knowledge and know-how) on the making of tourist itineraries: that of the cultural capital of tourism (inbuilt resource) and that of the material and specialised equipment that it mobilises in certain situations (objectified resource), either because it is brought by and with a person, or because it is found in the ecology of one’s touristic activities. The first raises a legitimate cultural capital inbuilt in the tourist, of sustainable provisions of the organism (Bourdieu, 1979a) that assure the assimilation of cultural codes that are potentially useful to the building of a trip. The second refers, with respect to itself, to the specialised tools used in touristic activity, to the mediations that inscribe themselves in situ and that shape the experience of the tourist, to the material delegations that facilitate the concretisation of a trip (Blasius, Friedrich, 2003; Hennion, 2007). This “objectified” resource is inscribed within a situational and ecological framework (Béguin, Clot, 2004).

  • 6 Inbuilt capital, because it is reinvested in practice, is notably in the usage of material resource (...)
  • 7 We draw your attention here to the work of FrédéricDarbellay, ChristopeClivas, StéphaneNahrath and (...)

3The division here established between inbuilt (culture) and objectified (specialised) resources is an ideal-typical construction, that while useful to the intellection of the phenomenon, translates rather poorly the reality of practices that systematically raise singularised combinatory logics. In effect, the inbuilt and objectified resources are knit together, know a conjoined evolution, are conflated.6 The objective is thus not to think of the decoupling of their respective influences, but instead to document their association and their degree of joint development. Our contribution therefore works to explore the modalities of the association of these two resources. These seem to be multiple: one of the resources could dominate the other just as they can both be equitably distributed. Through this questioning of the encounter and amalgam of these two forms of resources, we wish here to better comprehend the “structure” of the cultural capital of visitors. Reiterating our Bourdieu an vocabulary, we can say that we are examining “transversal displacements” between two “sub-species” of cultural capital, one approaching what we could qualify as cultural dispositions or knowledge and pre-existing know-how, the other approaching the adoption of specialised mechanisms that dispense knowledge and know-how to be gained, and to available resources that resonate with the immediate environment of the visitor (Bourdieu ,1979a, p.146).7

4Thanks to the attentive examination of this dialectic between aptitudes and aids, between cultural and specialised resources, between “inbuilt cultural capital” and “objectified cultural capital”, we replace at the heart of scientific debate the analysis of the effects of reinforcement or of compensation of specialised resources in the exertion of a given cultural practice (here the touristic visit). In doing this, we report on the power to act of specialised mechanisms per se (agency) and their activation upon contact with inherited and acquired cultural dispositions (Bijker, Hughes, Pinch, 1987; Latour, 2000; Akrich, Callon, Latour, 2006). In other words, we describe the inherent force of the objectification of cultural capitals, the capacity that users have of these devices to compensate for their deficiencies by and through them as if to reinforce their attributes.

5Returning to the touristic context that here concerns us, we are more specifically interested in the promises associated with the use of specialised resources in certain cases, for the possibility that they offer to direct, through the consultation of third-party advisors (Hatchuel, 1995; Mallard, 2000), the outlines and contents of the touristic visit and to increase, at the same time, the cultural capital of their users. The observation of highly equipped individuals who have the benefit of few experiences in the matter of cultural exploration will permit us to measure in an independent fashion the efficiency of the one method on the progression of visitors. In comparing the activity of these individuals with those of sub-populations that are equally equipped yet more cultured, we will be able to realise the inherent strength in the objectification of cultural capitals. We will thus prove the hypothesis according to which the specialised mechanisms of touristic guidance grant to their users, even the least culturally armed, the freedom to face the demands and touristic opportunities of a city, to profit from a cultural richness (museums, for example) to which they would not necessarily have accessed without these tools (from a practical and symbolic point of view). The possibility of seeing technology liberate the tourist from the cultural gravity issued by a pre-existing and naturalised habitus will be then interrogated and subjected to a more critical framework, while being mindful of not underestimating other gravities endemic of such a technical delegation.

6Finally, we will take note of the diametrically opposed situation that sees the tourist long acquainted, and in depth, with other cultural offerings who rids herself of all devices to assist with touristic guidance. What do we observe in seasoned tourists in the absence of the desire for specified resources? Do cultural resources suffice for a deepened discovery of sites? Specialised assistance, reinforcement or compensation, these are the three axes of reflection that we will find throughout our developments.

Survey protocol

  • 8 We completed our survey over the large part of a year as a way to register responses of different t (...)
  • 9 We would like to thank our Albigensian colleagues who contributed to the beginnings of this survey (...)
  • 10 The surveyed population was composed of 17.2% of individuals between 15 to 29 years old, 32.8% of i (...)
  • 11 32.2% of visitors were there only briefly (a few hours), 38.6% for a short period (a day), 23.2% fo (...)

7To take into account the impact of cultural and specialised resources on the building of touristic itineraries, we will draw on the results of a survey by questionnaire, conducted between February to August 2014,8 in which 2877 visitors to the town of Albi participated.9 The selected sample is characterised by four principal traits: an overrepresentation of university graduates (52.7%), an overrepresentation of managerial and professional sectors (22.7%), an overrepresentation of individuals aged 50 years or more (50%10), as well as a strong presence of visitors who live in the region of Occitania (52.7%). Our survey thus draws on a sample that is primarily composed of older individuals, the educated, and natives of the region. Add to this that the respondents were often accompanied by one or several family members (in 88.2% of cases) and were staying in Albi for short periods of time (37.9% stayed for 0 to 4 hours, 29.4% between 4 to 6 hours, and only 32.7% for more than 6 hours11).

  • 12 A touristic offering with heritage, historic and artistic overtones. Note that the expression of “s (...)
  • 13 A malfunction of the electric counter placed at the entrance to the Cathedral means that, unfortuna (...)
  • 14 The UNESCO perimeter extends across a large part of the historic centre. It runs from the Old Bridg (...)

8With the surveyed population described, it is necessary to highlight certain features of our field of enquiry: the town of Albi. Of medium size (49,475 inhabitants in 2015), this town is situated in the Department of Tarn and its touristic offering12 centres on two principal attractions: the Cathedral of Saint Cecilia (802,681 visitors in 201613) and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (168,017 visitors in 2014). Aside from these two emblematic sites, we find secondary tourist sites in the downtown core such as the collegiate church of Saint Salvy and its cloisters, the Berbie Palace Garden, the covered market, or even the Lapérousse Museum (11,862 visitors in 2014). Other lesser known sites figure equally among the tourist attractions like the Centre for Contemporary Art (the LAIT), the Place Savène, or the Old Alby House (1,627 visitors in 2014). In short, there are two highly visited sites surrounded by a dozen secondary sites where visits remain modest. This town saw a notable growth in tourism following July 31, 2010, the date that the Episcopal City14 was inscribed to the UNESCO world heritage list. It is also beginning in the summer of 2010 that the offering of aids for touristic guidance grew considerably thanks to the release of a number of publications dedicated to the town; guides but also simple booklets or municipal brochures.

9The objective of the survey given to visitors to the town was to question the correspondences and interdependences between three subsets of data representing first the modes of the discovery of the territory (zones explored, sites visited, time allotted for the visit), secondly the use of an (or several) aid(s) for touristic guidance (use of a guide, a map, a brochure, a smartphone, an information panel), and third the capitalisation of previous cultural practices mobilised on site (past touristic experiences, residential cultural practices). Then, we were able to analyse the measured data of the trips (nature and number of visits) in light of two synthetic variables representing on the one hand the scope of the cultural resources that can be mobilised by the visitor (“inbuilt cultural capital”) and on the other hand the scope of specialised resources mobilised by the visitor (“objectified cultural capital”).

  • 15 It is still worth noting that the pairings and peer groups regulate the composition of groups of vi (...)
  • 16 We would also like to specify that we asked individuals not if they possessed this or that equipmen (...)

10These variables were constructed based on the formulated responses, individually, by the tourists of our sample. Of course, such a process poses a difficulty: because it individualises responses, it is possible to neutralise the various influences at play within tourist groups and leaves aside the distribution of knowledge and know-how that is potentially distributed unevenly across the members that make up the groups.15 However, it appeared to us to be far more haphazard to proceed with a collective determination, with groups of tourists, of mutualised cultural and specialised resources in presuming the authority of different individuals and the logics of contamination of the sharing of knowledge engaged with the making of itineraries.16

  • 17 This variable recovers and neutralises a large heterogeneity of specialised materials, the use of w (...)

11The synthetic variable “specialised resources” is intended to distinguish the population according to its use of available aids for touristic guidance. This variable takes into account the use of or the absence of use of different materials and touristic services such as the paper guide, the promotional brochure, the map of the town, the smartphone, the audio guide, the information panels, the visit to the Tourism Office, the consultation of information on the Internet.17A score was calculated according to the enlistment or not of the aforementioned materials and services in the building of the trip.

Table 1. The construction of the synthetic variable “Specialised Resources”

Questions

Answers

Score

Before arriving in Albi, did you consult any information concerning sites to visit in town?

Yes (1)

No (1)

/1 pt

Over the course of your visit, did you consult any information panels in town?

Yes (1)

No (1)

/1 pt

Over the course of your visit, did you take any advice from a tourism professional (Tourism Office, tour officer)?

Yes (1)

No (1)

/1 pt

Over the course of your visit, did you use any of the following materials:

paper guide

city map

smartphone

tablet

audio guide

Yes (1)

No (1)

/6 pts

/9 pts

12The score calculated in this way then allowed for a division of the population of the Albigensian visitors into two sub-categories: individuals with limited use of specialised resources [score between 0 and 2; N=1462 or 53.1%], and those with heightened use of specialised resources [score above or equal to 3; N=1293 or 46.9%]. Here, it is the number of equipment and services mobilised throughout the exploration that interests us. The survey of the frequency of the usage of different devices proved to be too tenuous to be seriously pursued. In fact, asking visitors about the frequency of the consultation of this or that material or even the time spent to manipulate this or that tool seemed to be a poor methodological option given that these practices are often given over to reflexivity and escape all recall. Let us then keep in mind that it is the number of informational (re)sources that is here considered and not the intensity with which we can mobilise them. In other words, we put into evidence the value of the visitor’s dashboard without being capable of evaluating the manipulations that it operates under or the place taken by the aid(s) in the economy of a touristic visit.

13The building of a touristic trip is likewise dependent on another family of criteria that we group under the synthetic variable “cultural resources.” This variable takes into account the domestic cultural practices performed over the course of the last twelve months (going to the movies, to the museum, to the theatre, to a concert), participation in different cultural events (Heritage Days, Music Festivals) and past experience as a tourist (trips abroad over the course of a life, trips in the last twelve months).

Table 2. Construction of the synthetic variable “Cultural Resources”

Questions

Answers

Score

Over the last twelve months, how many touristic trips have you taken?

0 to 2 trips

3 to 5 trips

More than 6 trips

1 pt

2pts

3 pts

Over the course of your life, how many foreign trips have you taken?

0 to 4 trips

5 to 10 trips

More than 10 trips

1 pt

2pts

3 pts

Over the last twelve months, have you gone to:

The movies

The theatre

A library

See a concert

No affirmative response

1 affirmative response

2 affirmative responses

3 to 4 affirmative responses

1 pt

2pts

3 pts

Over the last twelve months, have you attended:

Heritage Days (LesJournées du Patrimoine)

The Music Festival (La Fête de la Musique)

No affirmative response

1 affirmative response

2 affirmative responses

1 pt

2pts

3 pts

Over the last twelve months, have you practiced:

Writing (poem, novella, novel)

Writing (personal journal, personal reflection)

Painting, sculpture or engraving

Pottery, ceramic or bookbinding

Amateur theatre, comedy

Drawing

Photography

Dance

A musical instrument

No affirmative response

1 to 2 affirmative response

3 or more affirmative responses

1 pt

2pts

3 pts

5-15 pts

14Here again, we have divided the respondents into two sub-groups according to the number of declared cultural activities. In our sample, individuals benefitting from the most substantial amount of cultural resources [score greater than or equal to 10 pts]—or we should say the most varied—represented 47.2% of the sample. Visitors with fewer cultural resources [score between 5 and 9 pts] represented for their part 52.8% of the total population.

  • 18 When we establish scores, when we create synthetic variables, an arbitrary portion is always presen (...)

15Once again, we begin with the principle that it is less the repetition of the same event of the same practice that denotes the cultural excellence of an individual than it is the learning and appreciation of it in different forms of cultural expression, as well as her engagement in an “eclectic” understanding of objects that refer to culture. It is, incidentally, this that the recent enquiries into the cultural practices of the French tend to show (Coulangeon, 2003; Donnat, 2004, 2009), which conclude a division of cultural forms invested in by the working classes and, inversely, a widening of the centres of interest of the upper classes. Let us therefore recall that the measure of cultural resources relies on the diversity and the value of practices and not on the intensity and the frequency of only one practice. We are in a (reductive) logic of the larger repertoire of action that could, evidently, be completed by other justified motives by a shift in research perspectives.18

I. On the importance of cultural and specialised resources

  • 19 We count six principal sites [Cathedral of Saint Cecilia (93%), Place du Vigan (56%), the Toulouse- (...)

16What relative place do the variables “cultural resources” and “specialised resources” occupy in the building of touristic trips? To understand this, it is necessary to implement different statistical tests taking into account a larger ensemble of explanatory variables among which are figured temporal investment, “academic capital” (level of education of the visitor), the “economic capital” (socio-professional category to which she belongs), the fact of being alone or with company, and even the age of the visitor. This extensive definition of criteria with the potential to intervene in the definition of the trip raises a necessity: repositioning the cultural and specialised resources among these criteria, attributing and comparing capacities (those that influence itineraries). To what extent are they significant? It is thus appropriate to measure the statistical correlations between these seven explanatory variables and two variables yet to be defined: one touches upon the number of visits undertaken (on the 10 sites accounted for by the questionnaire) and the other on the number of secondary sites visited (sites frequented by less than half of the visitor population).19 While certainly insufficient in understanding the touristic activities, these two variables to be defined, however, permit us to sketch the outlines of touristic trips, to give a simplified primary representation favouring the stylised analysis of the impact of the resources that interest us here.

Number of visits undertaken

17One of the first discriminatory elements in the matter of touristic practice touches on the rhythm of the visit, on the nature of the adopted “exploratory regime” (Auray, Vétel, 2013). In fact, it concerns visitors who prefer to concentrate their visit on a number of limited attractions and others who will, on the contrary, prefer to broaden their horizons of discovery by multiplying the visits. We will see that this choice is in large part dependent on the temporal investment of the visitor (duration of the visit) but also on the cultural and specialised resources of which she makes use.

  • 20 Remember that the number of sites to visit (after the review of the different guides and brochures (...)

18In order to measure the decisive factors in the definition of the selected exploratory regime, we will first concentrate our efforts on the comprehension of elements contributing to the visit of a larger or smaller number of tourist attractions. The variable to be defined “number of sites visited” is a synthetic variable aggregating the number of sites visited among the ten preselected major sites.20 53% of questioned visitors undertook 0 to 4 visits, 47% between 5 and 10 visits. To establish the importance of the selected explanatory factors (6 explanatory variables) on the number of visits undertaken (variable to be determined), we will put in place a logistical multinomial regression that will inform us of the relative influence of each one of these variables in the framework of an analysis undertaken where all things are otherwise equal. In the first completed statistical tests (likelihood ratio), the variables of “academic capital” and “economic capital” were not significantly correlated to the variable of “number of visits undertaken.” We will thus exclude them from our explanatory model. This first indication demonstrates that the level of education attained and the socio-professional category occupied did not weigh in any significant fashion on the number of visits undertaken. This likewise shows that cultural capital (inbuilt and objectified) forms an explanatory input that is more pertinent than the academic or economic capitals that are traditionally used in research in tourism.

  • 21 Information on the adjustment of the model: χ= 353,043 ;ddl = 6 ; Sig. = 0,000.

Table 3. Number of visitis—Contribution of different factors and marginal effects21

Number of visitisa

Coefficient [B]

Chances [Exp(B)]

Percentage [%]

5 visits and up

Constant [Reference situation]

1,186

3.274

76,6 %

Coefficient [B]

Odds ratio [Exp(B)]

Marginal effect [%]

Signifigance

Limited specialised resources

-1,036

0,355

-22,9 %

0,000

Extensive specialised resources

0b

Low temporal investment

-0.713

0,490

-15,0 %

0,000

High temporal investment

0b

Limited cultural resources

-0,430

0,651

-8,6 %

0,000

Extensive cultural resources

0b

Alone

-0,322

0,725

-6,3 %

0,021

Accompanied

0b

15-39 years

-0,327

0,721

-6,4 %

0,002

40-59 years

-0,206

0,814

-3,9 %

0,050

60 years and up

0b

a. The category of reference is: 0 to 4 visits
b. This parameter is fixed on 0, because it is redundant.
As seen in the table: The reference situation (or constant) pertains to visitors of 60 years or more, accompanied, who benefit from a substantial time of visit and from extensive cultural and specialised resources. In comparison, those who—all things otherwise equal—have fewer specialised resources see their chances of visiting 5 sites and more diminish by 22.9% (marginal effect).

19The reading and interpretation of table 3 are founded on the consideration of the relative margin to a constant (or reference situation). In our case, the constant translates the practices of a sub-population of visitors aged 60 years or more, visiting Albi in a group, conducting a visit of 5 hours or more and equipped with extensive specialised or cultural resources. This sub-population is the same that is, in proportion, the most numerous to undertake 5 visits or more out of the 10 preselected touristic attractions (76.6% of the sub-population). In other words, the profile described above is that which makes use the most frequently of an intensive exploratory plan.

20We then note that, all things equally considered, the fact of an individual possessing a limited “specialised capital” causes a decrease in chances of completing 5 visits or more. The marginal effect associated with the possession of “limited specialised resources” amounts to a decrease of 22.9% chances of adopting this intensive exploratory regime. The factor “objectified cultural capital” (or specialised capital) seems thus to predominate the ensemble of the others. In this way, the advice contained in the different aids for touristic guidance listed seemed to operate in a decisive fashion on the number of programmed visits.

21It should be equally noted that the temporal investment modifies in an important way the probabilities of occurrence of multiple visits (5 visits and more). The decrease of time allotted to the visit is negatively correlated to the number of completed visits (marginal effect= -15%). This result was expected while the more surprising result was that the variable “temporal investment” elicited fewer consequences than the use of specialised resources. Let us pause for a moment on these first observations: the data shows here that the technical and material dimensions of the progress of a visit constitute major exploratory factors on the number of visits completed and consequently of the exploratory plan adopted. The equipment mobilised creates a densification of the programme of visits. The enjoyment of the length of a visit elicits the same effect (even if of minor importance). Here, it is the support (or the media) that conditions the practice and the time allotted to the visit that contained the ambitions of visitors.

22Finally, we observe that the “cultural resources” provoked marginal effects of minor amplitude: the fact of possessing limited cultural resources diminishes the chances of seeing the programme of visits densify (-8.6%) The age of the visitor, the fact of being alone or accompanied weighed equally on the number of visits in a less decisive fashion. What we can learn here is that the programme of visits is more or less dense depending on the mobilised specialised resources (and the suggestions received in more or less large numbers), the length of visit (on the capacity to embrace an extended visit), cultural resources (which permit the mobilisation of knowledge acquired beforehand in situ).

Visit to secondary sites

23Let us now leave the criteria of the number of visits to turn our attention toward the nature of these last criteria. Let us consider the probability of seeing individuals direct themselves toward sites of secondary importance (visited by less than half of our respondents). Here, we no longer evaluate the rhythm of the exploratory plan but instead its originality. Likewise, in this section, we observe a strong influence of “specialised resources”, “cultural resources” and length of visit (the other factors are not significantly important).

  • 22 Logistical multinomial regression (representation of probability in the cells). Information on the (...)

Table 4. Visits to secondary sites according to length of visit and cultural and specialised resources available22

Temporal investment

Cultural resources

Specialised resources

Number of secondary sites

Visits observed

Percentage observed

[0-5 hours]

Limited cultural resources

Limited specialised resources

No secondary site

331

66,0 %

1 secondary site

131

28,3 %

2 secondary sites and above

23

5,7 %

Extensive specialised resources

No secondary site

113

52,9 %

1 secondary site

77

34,4 %

2 secondary sites and above

27

12,8 %

Extensive cultural resources

Limited specialised resources

No secondary site

213

56,5 %

1 secondary site

128

32,6 %

2 secondary sites and above

52

10,8 %

Extensive specialised resources

No secondary site

97

41,5 %

1 secondary site

89

36,2 %

2 secondary sites and above

48

22,3 %

]5 hours and more

Limited cultural resources

Limited specialised resources

No secondary site

161

58,3 %

1 secondary site

95

32,9 %

2 secondary sites and above

27

8,8 %

Extensive specialised resources

No secondary site

138

43,8 %

1 secondary site

125

37,5 %

2 secondary sites and above

64

18,6 %

Extensive cultural resources

Limited specialised resources

No secondary site

88

47,7 %

1 secondary site

70

36,2 %

2 secondary sites and above

22

16,1 %

Extensive specialised resources

No secondary site

135

32,3 %

1 secondary site

138

37,1 %

2 secondary sites and above

123

30,6 %

24Let us begin by stating that the time factor acts in a homogeneous fashion on the behaviour of the sub-populations in question. The benefit of a more substantial length of visit is valued by each of the groups in an equivalent manner: more time permits going beyond a sole visit to touristic sites of primary importance and to thereby shift focus toward less visited (and/or less well known) sites. The factor “cultural resources” plays an important role in the probabilty of seeing visitors integrate secondary sites into their programme (generally on the fringes of principal circuits—Delaplace, Gravari-Barbas, 2016). In this way, visitors with extensive cultural resources were systematically more engaged than their counterparts with limited cultural resources in the visit to one or more “secret” sites. The same applies to “specialised resources” that, as they are grow in importance, guide the visitors who makes use of them toward the fulfilment of a more diversified touristic itinerary.

25Without going into detail of the results presented in table 4, let us pause for a moment on the two antagonistic situations of the generalised deficit of resources ([0-5 hours], limited cultural and specialised resources) and the generalised accumulation of resources (]5 hours and more, extensive cultural and specialised resources). Looking at the table, we cannot help but be struck by the deviation separating these two sub-populations. In fact, the “deficit” visitors are 66% likely not to undertake any visit to a secondary site while the “loaded” visitors were 67.7% likely to undertake a visit to one or more secondary sites. The situation is thus diametrically opposed.

26There is therefore, and it is an important result, a strong principle of the cumulativity of resources and, following from this, of possible compensation between different forms of capitals. Thus, the situation of individuals profiting from little time and little cultural resources is considerably improved by the usage of dedicated equipment and services (we jump from only 34% of the sub-population to have visited one or several secondary sites to 47.2%).

  • 23 The same logic applies to long-term visits. We move from 41.7% of visits to secondary sites on the (...)

27Aids for touristic guidance then come to play a decisive role in the selection of things to see and permit the introduction of a form of diversification in practice. The phenomenon of specialised compensation with limited cultural resources is therefore quite remarkable. Inversely, the cultural compensation with missing specialised resources is likewise fully functional (we jump from 34% of visits to secondary sites on the part of short-term visitors, of limited cultural and specialised resources, to 43.4% on the part of short-term visitors of extensive cultural resources and of limited specialised resources23).

28Now that the validity and the pertinence of the effects of the specialised dispensation (cultural compensation), of specialised reinforcement (specialised compensation) and the cumulativity of techno-cultural resources (mutual reinforcement) have been confirmed, we can attempt to introduce one last factor for which the highly unusual and multiple declinations render all comparisons difficult: the touristic site itself. It consists of going beyond the definitional breakdown adopted thus far between principal and secondary sites to consider the identity and the nature of places, their entrance fees, their possible appropriation.

II. On the relation between the identity of places and the capital of visitors

  • 24 Novices are those for whom cultural resources are highly limited [score of between 5 and 8 points, (...)

29Considering the enlistment of singular places in touristic itineraries, we impose a new commodification, this time from the public’s side. Starting with our two synthetic variables and their intersection (cf. survey protocol), we have in effect isolated four sub-populations that will henceforth guide our developments: the over-equipped veterans, the under-equipped novices, the under-equipped veterans and the over-equipped novices.24 The group of over-equipped veterans is composed of individuals who benefit from substantial cultural and specialised resources. The group of under-equipped novices consists of individuals with the most limited cultural and specialised resources. Then, we have selected more atypical profiles bringing together qualities that we could, at first glance, judge as antagonistic: the under-equipped veterans and the over-equipped novices.

30We will closely observe the way in which these four sub-populations of visitors involved themselves with the different sites that make up the touristic offering at Albi. A new indicator will be mobilised: the rate of visits to seven of the most representative Albigensian sites of the touristic offering according to the length of trips undertaken. The visitation (or not) of different attractions will allow us to better understand the fact that the site itself is a key actor in the differentiation of practices, it is an influential device that gives support to certain populations and precipitates the abandonment of other populations (Bessy, Chateauraynaud, 1992; 1993). The three star diagrams shown below were made in a way that follows a simple logic: we began with the most frequented place by the whole of the population (Cathedral of Saint Cecilia) then moved to the different sites through to the least known of them all (Place Savène).

Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [2 – 4 hours[

Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [2 – 4 hours[

Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [4 — 6 hours[

Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [4 — 6 hours[

Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [6 – 8 hours[

Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [6 – 8 hours[

31Over the course of the shortest visits [2-4 hours[, we observe firstly that the under-equipped novices are still behind in relation to the other sub-populations. They do not manage to catch the under-equipped veterans (their closest counterparts) except at the three most visited sites, surpassing even them in the visiting of the Cathedral of Saint Cecilia (84.8% versus 77.7%). For this first subpopulation, the building of a touristic itinerary limited to the most essential sites in town conveys a desire for cultural conformity that legitimises the choices made.

32The under-equipped veterans are, after the under-equipped novices, those for whom the visits to the selected sites were the lowest with the notable exception of one of them: the collegiate church of Saint Salvy. Two factors justify a priori this excessive number of visitors to the collegiate church of Saint Salvy. Firstly, the short length of the visit forces tourists to privilege sites that are open access and free of charge. Museums are logically cast aside by those who, under-equipped, cannot go to the essential museum attractions. Secondly, the collegiate church of Saint Salvy is located in proximity to the Cathedral of Saint Cecilia (around fifty metres) and is perfectly visible from its courtyard (which is not the case for the covered market, nor for Pont Vieux). Wasting little time, the under-equipped veterans will thereby attempt to profit from their visit by limiting their exploration to a restricted perimeter and in programming the largest possible number of open-access and non-paying visits. The making of their itinerary thus responds to any other economy of touristic activity that presents a more focused opportunism.

33Since they waste little time, the over-equipped novices, rather than preferring paying open-access and free visits… prefer paid visits! More than the others, this population makes the choice between visiting the Toulouse-Lautrec and the Lapérousse museums. In fact, 61.1% of them visit the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (versus 53.1% of over-equipped veterans and only 17.9% of under-equipped novices) and 11.1% visit the Lapérousse Museum (versus 9.4% of over-equipped veterans). These notable differences lead to thinking that there exists a training effect, a practical and financial relationship between the acquisition of tools to help with touristic guidance (paper guides, city maps, audio guide) and the purchase of admissions to paid sites (entrance to museums). The first material investment calls, to be well spent, to a secondary service-based investment. We also find there the manifestation of what Pierre Bourdieu qualified as the “cultural good will” of novices who are ready to pay entry fees to consecrated sites of legitimate culture even if they spend little time to experience them fully (Bourdieu, 1979b).

  • 25 We observe that numerous over-equipped veterans shorten the visit to this site of primary importanc (...)

34Finally, the over-equipped veterans have, during visits [2-4 hours[, the largest chances of visiting a substantial part of the identified sites especially because they are open-access and free (the Pont Vieux and the covered market, first and foremost). This sub-population prefers to link the discovery of the Cathedral of Saint Cecilia, which remains a quasi-obligatory checkpoint (for 93.8% of them), to the logic of the sightseeing outing, maybe even of curious and enlightened flânerie.25 In this framework, they foster the possibility of discovering certain principal treasures of the Albigensian site, through open and free attractions from which they can, in the time allotted, fully profit and that they can explore in the ensemble of their trips. They are in a slightly more hedonistic position with respect to touristic discovery, renouncing the more marked willingness of the over-equipped novices who desire to capitialise a maxima their presence on site and their primary material investments. It is therefore the desire to go to seek out a liberated experience—rather than to subscribe to the essentials of touristic and cultural standards—that guide their choice.

35The analyses until now undertaken starting from figure 1 did not take into account the trips of [2-4 hours[. What happens when the visit is extended? Do we see significant variations? At least two of them can be discussed. The first serves to highlight once again to which point the increase in time is especially profitable - according to a countable and cumulative logic - to an equipped public. In other words, the two touristic spectrums of under-equipped novices and veterans unfold and do not cease to extend wherever under-equipped novices and veterans appear to be the most limited and indifferent to passing time. The second variation serves to illustrate a comparison between the two under-equipped subpopulations: during the visits of [6 to 8 hours[ the veterans continued to tackle the most visits across the identified sites. However, the difference —regardless of the attraction—is little, often less than in the context of shorter visits. The specialised compensation seems here to manifest its effects, even if the over-equipped veterans, over this longer time, reinvested in museums and are now proportionally more numerous to visit them.

CONCLUSION

36The results presented here confirm the large influence of specialised resources on the building of touristic itineraries. We were able in effect to determine that the progress of the trip was more influenced by the use of specialised resources than by the possession of internalised cultural resources. The use of various specialised aids is accompanied by a more complete picture of the itinerary, a larger range of visits, a higher visitation rate to secondary sites. Here, it is important to recall that this finding does not seek to bring a unilateral and exclusive explanation to the link that is tied between intention and equipment; the link results from the inter-determination of the level of motivation of the visitor and her degree of preparedness. The individual intentions call upon the enlistment of specialised mediators. However, these specialised aids seem equally to affect the itinerary of the most conscious of visitors according to the classic pattern of “faire-faire” (Latour, 2000) that we have helped, we hope, to make clearer.

37The predominance of the specialised factor in the making of a touristic itinerary leads to a consideration that inbuilt cultural determinations can be subverted/nuanced via the appeal to different aids for touristic guidance. In other words, the volume of internalised cultural capitals is not the only —nor the primary — structural element in the definition of touristic practices. The intention of the tourist, her will to deepen the discovery of a territory can, on the condition of being properly relayed by a variety of supporting specialised aids, draw on the best of the inheritances and socio-cultural experiences of which she is a repository. The visitor, through important compensation effects, can thus strive to liberate herself from her condition and to no longer solely act as a tuning fork of class (or of habitus) expectations (or of habitus) but to act beyond or below these expectations. The engagement of visitors, as they physically materialise, contributes simultaneously to displace cultural borders and to reinforce them. Reaffirming them because these borders serve after all as referents to the construction of specialised injunctions that novices will follow to the letter and the most scrupulously possible, while the veterans will, themselves, often attempt to redesign/revise them, thus granting themselves the culturally approved merits of some freedom in their itineraries.

  • 26 The integration of these urban developments into the analysis constitutes, in our eyes, an ambitiou (...)

38Our survey has likewise permitted an observation of the consequences of specialised exemptions on the building of touristic itineraries. Dispensing of specialised resources signifies a lack of attachment to injunctions, of which they are mediations, in order to privilege others, whether they draw upon inbuilt culture or not. Refusing this attachment provides a person with the possibility of building her own route through the town. Or more precisely, it amounts to the submission of the building of the touristic visit to other forms of requirements: urban property, architecture, topology, signage, which merit further examination.26 We nevertheless understand that much better why the specialised exemption does not seem to have liberating and emancipatory virtues except, essentially, in populations with heightened cultural resources. In fact, only the under-equipped veterans were led to discover new spaces as a result of their own study of the town. The specialised dispensation in novice populations results in an inverse effect since it leads them to reduce their programme of action, to orient themselves toward reliable crowd-pleasers with respect to incontestable cultural and symbolic capital.

39Finally, we wish to return to what constitutes simultaneously a strength and a limitation of our work. We conceived our survey protocol in a way to make clearer the variety of individual resources—whether specialised or cultural—and not the mastery of each of them. We have thus emphasised the individual capacity to appeal to heterogeneous frames of reference, to cross them in certain cases, to adapt to the range of resources to encountered situations all while leaving aside the more specialised practices resting from the mastery of a single specialised aid or the repetition of the same cultural practice. As a result, the frequency and the intensity of the embrace of specific resources in the activities of the tourist escapes our observation. Once again, a complementary study will be necessary to deepen the situated usage of each of the resources taken in isolation to then reposition them in the chain of requirements that underlie the touristic experience.

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Notes

1 This work was carried out under the framework of LABEX SMS, under the reference number ANR-11-LABX-0066.

2 Third-party advisors could be professionals or amateurs. In numerous cities, we see the development—alongside professional teams in tourism offices—of networks of volunteer “ambassadors” who purport to welcome tourists “differently” (Calvignac, Fijalkow, Martin, 2014).

3 For the study of touristic labels, see: Charles, Thouément, 2007; Cousin, 2008; Bourdeau, Gravari-Barbas, Robinson, 2011.

4 The paper tourist guide is an object of research that has been widely investigated. Here is a selection of different contributions that examine this primary tourist aid: Rauch, 1997; Karpik, 2000; Simon, 2008; Vergopoulos, 2011; Vergopoulos, Flon, 2012; Calvignac, Jalaudin, 2014; Argod, 2016.

5 Among the studies on the touristic use of mobile applications or, more broadly, digital equipment, we cite here a few recent publications: Urry, Larsen, 2011; Desvignes, Jacquot, 2014; Calvignac, Smolinski, 2017.

6 Inbuilt capital, because it is reinvested in practice, is notably in the usage of material resources, of cognitive and prescriptive resources—that we can think of here as being an “objectified” cultural capital—is necessarily linked with the familiarity and technical ability of the tourist. From this point of view, the cultural foundations of the tourist, even buried or “removed” from the situation, are reactivated via the introduction of these specialised mediations. Inversely, the confrontation of different technical mediators can contribute to the exploration of new fields of knowledge and competences thus leading to the incorporation of new cultural resources.

7 We draw your attention here to the work of FrédéricDarbellay, ChristopeClivas, StéphaneNahrath and Mathias Stock on the definition of “touristic capital” of a given tourist resort. The authors rely on the concept of “touristic capital” to better “combine and integrate in a coherent explanatory system the principal urban, political, resource, economic, cognitive and reputational elements that are put into play in the diverse trajectories of development in tourist resorts” (Darbellay et al., 2011). Our approach is quite different: where Darbellay and his colleagues take a resort as a whole as their unit of analysis (a very aggregate level), we are studying the behaviour of visitors (individual level); where they elaborate a new concept, we will limit ourselves to study the internal structure of cultural capital; where they make of touristic capital a boundary-concept favouring interdisciplinarity, we remain firmly anchored in sociology.

8 We completed our survey over the large part of a year as a way to register responses of different types of visitors (visitors of short, medium, or long stays) who traveled the town in contrasted contexts (holidays, weekends, off season, school breaks).

9 We would like to thank our Albigensian colleagues who contributed to the beginnings of this survey and to its smooth execution. We are thinking specifically of YgalFijalkow, MichèleLalanne and Elsa Martin. We would also like to thank the students and interns who participated in the collection of data.

10 The surveyed population was composed of 17.2% of individuals between 15 to 29 years old, 32.8% of individuals between 30 to 49 years old, 43% of individuals between 50 to 69 years old, and finally 7% of individuals who were 70 years or more. 30.1% were retirees.

11 32.2% of visitors were there only briefly (a few hours), 38.6% for a short period (a day), 23.2% for a short stay (weekend or half a week), 6.1% for a prolonged stay (1 week or more).

12 A touristic offering with heritage, historic and artistic overtones. Note that the expression of “specialised and cultural capitals” vary in importance based on the site(s) visited. Other tourist sites could well generate an actuation differentiated from these two types of capital.

13 A malfunction of the electric counter placed at the entrance to the Cathedral means that, unfortunately, we do not have reliable data for the period of study (2014).

14 The UNESCO perimeter extends across a large part of the historic centre. It runs from the Old Bridge (Pont Vieux) to the New Bridge (Pont Neuf) in town.

15 It is still worth noting that the pairings and peer groups regulate the composition of groups of visitors, that homosociality is often inscribed in the recruitment process for accompaniment. Likewise, note that a controlling variable “alone or accompanied” allows us to see if important differences exist between visitors who are alone or in a group.

16 We would also like to specify that we asked individuals not if they possessed this or that equipment but instead if they had access to these tools. In this way, we opened our survey to the possibilities of borrowing or sharing materials.

17 This variable recovers and neutralises a large heterogeneity of specialised materials, the use of which demands very varying and unevenly distributed competences (note, for example, the familiarity of certain generations with respect to digital tools). However, behind the usage of these materials rests a common need: the need for a “cognitive artefact” (Norman, 1993) that is capable of guiding the tourist in her exploration of the town.

18 When we establish scores, when we create synthetic variables, an arbitrary portion is always present in the work and we do not presume to have arrived here at an optimum in terms of the representation of these two types of resources.

19 We count six principal sites [Cathedral of Saint Cecilia (93%), Place du Vigan (56%), the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (55.6%), the covered market (55.5%), the collegiate church of Saint Salvy (54.7%), Pont Vieux (50.3%)] and four secondary sites [Place Savène (29,5 %), Théâtre des Cordeliers (23,3 %), the Lapérouse Museum (11,7 %), LAIT Centre for Contemporary Art (5,2 %)].

20 Remember that the number of sites to visit (after the review of the different guides and brochures of the town) is relatively limited to Albi. The ten sites selected for the questionnaire form the essence of the local attractions disregarding a few rare exceptions.

21 Information on the adjustment of the model: χ= 353,043 ;ddl = 6 ; Sig. = 0,000.

22 Logistical multinomial regression (representation of probability in the cells). Information on the adjustment of the model: χ= 182,708; ddl = 6 ;Sig. = 0,000.

23 The same logic applies to long-term visits. We move from 41.7% of visits to secondary sites on the part of long-term visitors with limited cultural and specialised resources, to 52.3% on the part of long-term visitors with extensive cultural resources and limited specialised resources.

24 Novices are those for whom cultural resources are highly limited [score of between 5 and 8 points, consisting of 38.2% of the sample]. Veterans are those for whom cultural resources are very extensive [score higher or equal to 11 points, consisting of 33.8% of the sample]. Those who registered a score of 9 to 10 points and who occupy an intermediary position are excluded [28% of the sample]. Those considered under-equipped are those for whom specialised resources are strongly limited [score of between 0 and 1, consisting of 32.1% of the sample]. Those considered over-equipped are those whose specialised resources are very extensive [score higher or equal to 4, consisting of 33% of the sample]. Those who registered a score of 2 or 3 and who occupied an intermediary position are excluded. In separating ourselves from visitors disposing of intermediary resources, we reduce our sample from 2877 to 1230 individuals.

25 We observe that numerous over-equipped veterans shorten the visit to this site of primary importance, to cut short an experience that all visitors, whatever their cultural resources, share. As if the ordinary nature of this visit came to alter the interest in its discovery or did not enter conveniently into the distinct account of a trip that would run the risk of memorial or narrative banality (Vergopoulos, 2011).

26 The integration of these urban developments into the analysis constitutes, in our eyes, an ambitious research prospect that would usefully complete and prolong our work.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [2 – 4 hours[
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/3321/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [4 — 6 hours[
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/3321/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 164k
Titre Figure 1. Visits to different sites in the town by the four visitor profiles: [6 – 8 hours[
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/3321/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 165k
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Référence électronique

Cédric Calvignac, Roland Canu et Christophe Jalaudin, « The building of touristic itineraries », Via [En ligne], 14 | 2018, mis en ligne le 20 décembre 2018, consulté le 22 juillet 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/3321 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/viatourism.3321

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Auteurs

Cédric Calvignac

Maître de conférences en Sociologie. INU Champollion d'Albi. Chercheur au CERTOP (UMR 5044). e-mail : cedric.calvignac@univ-tlse2.fr.

Roland Canu

Maître de conférences en Sociologie. Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès. Chercheur au CERTOP (UMR 5044). e-mail : roland.canu@univ-tlse2.fr.

Christophe Jalaudin

Maître de Conférences en Sociologie. INU Champollion . Chercheur au LISST-Cers (UMR CNRS 5193). e-mail : christophe.jalaudin@univ-jfc.fr

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Traducteur

Jessica Mace

Ph.D, Adjunct Professor UQAM (Montréal).

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