Exploring the importance of setting to the rural tourism experience for rural commercial home entrepreneurs and their guests
This chapter explores the importance of the physical and human dimensions of the rural setting for the quality of tourism experiences for both hosts and guests. It is suggested that ‘place’ in which tourism experience occurs may be conceptualised on a number of scales and involves diﬀerent geographical elements (Carmichael 2005). A conceptual framework is presented that shows that the physical and human environments can be experienced at both the regional level and at the accommodation site level (i.e. at diﬀerent spatial scales). Perceptions of the rural landscape and the physical and built environment in the region inﬂuence the rural tourism experience for both hosts and guests. Similarly, at the accommodation site, the physical environment is important and includes heritage, quaintness, architecture, gardens, interiors and aesthetics. Furthermore human elements are deemed important within the setting and environment. With reference to setting, Lynch (2005b: 535) acknowledges that ‘impressions of the homestay building, its nomenclature and the locality’ are all important, as well as the fact that the setting seems to have a behavioural eﬀect sometimes leading to social conformity, use of social rules and role play and perhaps dissonance. Furthermore, social interactions with other visitors and with local residents aﬀect visitor and host perceptions of the quality of the tourism product, both within the region and at the accommodation itself. In this chapter, a conceptual scheme is presented and placed within the
context of a literature review of the concepts of rural landscapes, rural lifestyles and home settings. Second, the conceptual framework is tested out using a case study in South-western Ontario of bed and breakfast operators and their guests.