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The purpose of the project is to find out interviewees’ perceptions of .. and compare them to corresponding media representations.

If you choose to participate in this project you will be asked to:

  • participate in an interview

This interview may involve an audio recording, which will be erased at the completion of the subject. The interview will take approximately 15 minutes and will involve little to no risks or discomforts to you.

The information will be used to complete the requirements for the subject noted above, and only the student(s) and the subject coordinator/teacher will have access to the information. Any information or details will be kept confidential and will only be used for the purposes of this project. You will not be identified in any written assignment or presentation of the results of this project.  

Participation in this project is voluntary. If you choose to participate, you are free to withdraw from further participation at any time without giving a reason and with no negative consequences. You are also free to ask for any information which identifies you to be withdrawn from the study.

Purpose of the Project

The destination of Gold Coast has been taken up for research in Assessment 2. Therefore, in the present assessment the media representation of the destination shall be taken up and compared with the perceptions of individuals about the same. It shall be found out how the media affects the images of the destination that individuals have in their mind. There exist very detailed descriptions and innumerable images, which let people cognitively, map the nuances of the destination. Gold Coast being a very popular tourist spot in Queensland, individuals shall have a more or less definite conception of the region. For conducting, the project interviews shall be taken of three individuals and their opinions regarding Gold Coast shall be elicited so that they can be analyzed in relation to the media images that have been studied in the previous assessment.

Gold Coast is a quite well known tourist spot, which is located in the south of Brisbane in the state of Queensland in Australia. Apart from being a very popular destination, that attracts about 13 million tourists every year (GCCEC, 2018). It is also one of the most preferred residential areas having about 12,500 new residents coming in every year (Council of the City of Gold Coast, 2018). This is because Gold Coast has a sturdy infrastructural framework with a fully developed transport and communication network through both road and air. This makes living quite convenient in the city. However, apart from the infrastructural amenities Gold Coast also abounds in recreational opportunities that can be afforded by both residents and tourists (Destination Gold Coast, 2018). It is famous for its natural beauty with lush green forests and sandy beaches, which have a number of theme parks where people can engage in various activities like surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving et cetera.   

Interviewee 1: The first interviewee has pointed out the fact that she will love the experience that she will have while travelling Gold Coast. From her words, it could be understood that she was wanderlust and has been to many places in the past. However, due to her busy work schedules in the present, she cannot afford so much time for it. She has learned many things about Gold Coast from the guide published by the Sunlover Holidays Group. When asked about her usage of social media to check out the details of the place, she did not show much interest in it. She has said that she has limited idea of the things that are available to see and experience in Gold Coast. She has only known that it has a beautiful beach and the best amusement parks in the whole of Australia. She is not much aware of the diverse landscapes that are possessed by Gold Coast; however, she has shown great interest to know more about the place when she will plan to take a trip to Gold Coast. Until now, she told that she only gets information about the details of tourist destination from various tourist guides that she gets to read from her neighbor. She has neither seen any such social media videos about the Gold Coast nor nearby tourist destinations situated in Australia.

Details of the Project

Interviewee 2: This interviewee had been aware of a substantial portion of the media representations of Gold Coast and mentioned that he wanted to visit the place in the near future. Therefore, his conception of the destination borrowed many ideas from that of the media. For example, he explicitly referred to the Expedia video and added that Gold Coast was a place where he always dreamed of being. However, he seemed to be only aware of the natural aspects of the place like the forests and beaches. He was almost unaware of the thriving city life that too is a part of the destination. On being asked about his perception of the urban aspects of Gold Coast, he did not seem to be much interested in those aspects of the city. His primary assertion was that having lived in a city all his life he did want to visit a city for recreational purposes. He seemed to be tired of the hectic life of cities and wanted to stay in a quiet and peaceful environment for a few days. In his imagination, Gold Coast was the idyllic heaven when his dreams of being in an earthly Eden would be realized.

Interviewee 3: The third interviewee did not seem to have many ideas regarding the media representation of Gold Coast. Rather he derived his ideas about the place from a few relatives and friends who had visited the place and narrated their experiences to him. He had also viewed a number of photographs that his friends had taken of that place. Therefore, rather than being able to form a concrete idea of the place, his conception is colored by a lot of personal experiences and emotions. It is needless to mention that he projects his imagination on Gold Coast irrespective of whether they might be accurate or not. He had previously heard about the beauty of the beaches and became poetic when he was asked to describe them. When asked whether he wants to visit the place, he agreed. However, he will only visit it with a friend who is supposed to know about all the major attractions of the city. Since the friend is busy with some work now, he will plan the trip sometime in the future when he shall be free to undertake it.

The Gold Coast has many things to offer to the tourists arriving there from different parts of the world. It has been the top tourist destination of Australia. The video created by Expedia explains the fact that within a few ranges of distances, different landscape forms such as beach, waterfalls and rainforests can be seen and visited by the tourist. The tourist can also get to visit a couple of amusement parks and theme parks present there, the most notable being the Sea world and then the Dream World. The overall environment in the Gold Coast area is very diverse that is one part of it is covered by natural landscapes like beach, waterfalls and rainforests and on the other hand, it has big cities with huge building etc. The place also offers good and lavish accommodations for the tourist, ha schools and educational institutions, has its own airport etc. The Video produced by Gold Coast tourism also stresses on the fact of diversity present in the place and the different things it has to offer to its tourists. While the visitor guide made by the Sun lover Holiday group reveals the different things in the guide that, the tourists can do there in order to get the best experience while touring around the area.

Gold Coast as a Tourist Destination

The perceptions of the three interviewees can be compared on several of the grounds with the overall media representation of the place. The points of interest regarding details of the landscape of Gold Coast, the level of knowledge they have regarding the diversity of the place and the media that they make use of in order to know about the details of the tourist locations have been the valid points on basis of which, the perceptions regarding that place has been accumulated. From the perceptions of the first interviewee, it has been clear that the person does not make use of social media in order to know about the Gold coast details and has not yet checked the Expedia video. Thus, here perceptions are mainly based on the photos of the place that she has seen on the travel guide published by the Sun lover Holidays Group. From the guide, she could only make out details related to the beautiful beach and amusements parks present there. Thus, the portrayal of details of the place made by the social media videos has not yet been able to reach her and she has not showed much interest towards it. However, it can be said that she has viewed the place to be a great place with such great diversity in her mind (presence of city, waterfalls, rainforests and beaches) and this goes well with the portrayal of unique kind of diversity present in the place as portrayed by the Travel guide (one of the media forms).

The second interviewee has stressed on the fact that he knows about the diverse landscapes of the place but was not aware that a thriving city was also situated in the heart of Gold Coast. When informed about it, he showed less interest in knowing about the thriving city present there and diverted the discussion towards the natural beauty present there. The media representation of the place has also chosen the city to be a wonder and main attraction of the place stressing on the diversity factors of the place (Gold Coast). However, this representation of diversity has not affected him and he is interested only in visiting the waterfalls, rainforests and the beaches present there. The presence of a thriving city in the midst of the place has been portrayed to be wonderful and beautiful thing by the Expedia Video. However, people such as the person living in the city all through their life may not find the presence of city in the Gold Coast to be much appealing. They would rather find a place entirely filled with natural landscapes. Thus, in this context, the main differences in the perceptions and representation of the place can be found.

Perceptions of Three Interviewees

The third interviewee fully contradicts with the representation of the details of the place in different forms of media. He has perceived the place based upon the photos shown to him by his friends who have went there before. The idea that he has in his mind does not conform to every detail that is present in there in reality. The things portrayed by the different media forms are real and though they may be attractively presented to the viewers, the viewers can see the same things in the same form when they visit the place. However, the idea that he is having in his mind is somewhat poetic and maybe much more exotic and beautiful as compared to the details present there in reality and which have been portrayed by the various forms of media. Further, he has not been much aware of the exact and diverse details of the place and the several forms of amenities that are accommodated at various corners of the Gold Coast. Thus, in his case, the difference between the perceptions and the overall media representation can be seen to be the widest.

Conclusion

Therefore, it can be observed that while the media projects a more or less consistent image of a certain destination, which shall let viewers form a more or less conclusive idea about it, individuals on the other hand, hold widely divergent views of the same destination. Although, it is true that media affects the perception of the place largely, but there are other sources with the aid of which, individuals can derive their ideas. It can be said that media information helps in forming an objective conception of the destination and ideas heard from friends and acquaintances help in richly coloring the ideas of the place through emotions and imaginations. The above sections help in substantiating the differences and similarities that personal perspectives have from media representations. This helps in locating the gaps that exist between the media understanding of a destination that what their target audience have in mind regarding the same. This shall help the media in making more appealing representations of tourist locations so that they not only let views cognitively map them but also appeal to their emotions. As a result, the prospective tourists shall form an emotional bond with the place even before visiting it. The tourism industry shall flourish on account of such strategies of representation.

References

Council of the City of Gold Coast. (2018, November 10). City of Gold Coast.  Goldcoastqld Asutralia. Retrieved from https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/default.html

Destination Gold Coast. (2018, November 10). WeAreGoldCoast. Destination Gold Coast Blog. Retrieved from https://www.destinationgoldcoast.com/blog/

GCCEC. (2018, November 10). Quick Facts on Gold Coast. Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.  Retrieved from https://www.gccec.com.au/quick-facts.html

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