The article examines the concept of "tourist image", shows its specificity in comparison with other types of images, substantiates the basic role of assessing the natural, historical and cultural potential of territories for its formation. Using the example of the Vologda and Kaluga regions, different approaches to assessing the potential, as well as the possibilities of using the results obtained, are highlighted.
Key words: tourist image of the territory, geographical images, tourism, recreation, historical and cultural potential of the region.
At present, the issues of creating a tourist image of the territory, ways of transforming the formed images into tourist brands, as well as determining the mechanisms for their subsequent promotion on the international and domestic tourist markets can be classified as relatively poorly developed areas of research.
However, it is obvious that further development of regional tourism development strategies and the positioning of regions in the international and domestic tourism market in the absence of formed tourist images of the territory are becoming quite problematic.
The difficulties that one has to face when performing such work are largely objective and largely related to the very nature of the tourist image. By it we mean a system of rationally and emotionally formed ideas, which is based on the specific features of the territory, emphasizing its individuality from the point of view of a mass tourist. Special emphasis should be placed on the dual nature of the tourist image, which directly follows from such a definition. On the one hand, the image is a completely objective thing, since it is based on specific individual traits and characteristics of the territory. On the other hand, subjective factors play an important role in creating the image, and, first of all, those associated with the psychological characteristics of the personality and the target audience for which it is designed.
Basically, the concept of a tourist image is akin to a geographical image, which is understood as a system of the most powerful, bright and large-scale geospatial signs, symbols, characteristics, describing the features of the development and functioning of certain cultures and/or civilizations in a global context . However, unlike the geographical image, which, as a rule, reflects the characteristic, sometimes even typological features of the country, the tourist image focuses on its unique features or objects. As a result, ideas arise not about the entire territory (region, country) as a whole, but about its fragment, sometimes in maximalist terms . This maximalism manifests itself, first of all, in the reducibility of a complex system "region", "country" to one and/or several territorial elements (most often cities or historical centers are involved in such a simplification, less often the most significant sights).
The quality of images emerging in a mass tourist is directly related to the very process of knowing the territory. In this regard, it is especially important to develop a travel route as a way to get to know the territory. The point approach, in fact, limits the familiarity with the territory mainly to the areas adjacent to the tourist's place of residence (it is widespread for beach and bathing recreation). The linear approach involves participating in at least one long-distance sightseeing tour. The disadvantages of a linear route are compensated for by a circular route, which provides a view of objects from several points at once.
The objective components of the image, first of all, include tourist and recreational resources, that is, that part of the complex of natural resources of the region that is important from the point of view of the development of recreation and tourism: climatic, balneological, biological, etc. components of the potential, as well as its historical and cultural resources. A contribution to the objective basis of the tourist image is also made by the long-existing, stable ideas about the territory, which have developed among the mass tourist as a result of acquaintance with literary, musical, and artistic works directly related to the territory under consideration. Often, such ideas are decisive in the formation of an image. In this regard, it can be assumed that one of the important components of the work on the formation of the tourist image of the territory is an objective assessment of its natural, historical and cultural potential.
The methodology and techniques of such assessments have long been developed by domestic and foreign researchers; there is quite a lot of material on the results of such assessments. However, their consideration raises quite natural questions. So, most of the Russian, in particular, the territories for which such work has been carried out, have unique resources from the point of view of resources, but the level of tourism development here and its involvement in the domestic and, even more so, the international tourism market remains extremely low. In our opinion, one of the reasons for this is the insufficient use of the potential of such assessments, including from the point of view of the formation of tourist images. The assessment of the potential makes it possible not only to state its importance, but also, as a result of the analysis of its internal structure, outline the ways of development of various types of tourism and, consequently, expand the range of formed tourist images.
Natural, historical and cultural potential of the territory and approaches to its assessment
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