Title of Paper

The tourists' smoky gaze: The power of news and social media on destination image during a natural disaster

Author Bios (50 Words)

Lorraine Taylor, PhD., teaches in the Tourism and Hospitality Management concentration in the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College. Her research interests include tourist decision-making and motivations in niche markets. She previously worked in the hotel industry for Walt Disney World, Marriott International, and Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Elizabeth Cartier, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Her research concentrates on power and control, gender and social inequality, and the relationship between discourse and power. Her teaching focuses on organizational behavior, human resources, and leadership.

Abstract (150 Words)

The 416 Fire burned over 54,000 acres in southwest Colorado during the summer of 2018. Known as a popular summer destination, the nearby city of Durango and the surrounding area felt an immediate impact as their busy season went up in smoke. Tourism managers monitored the media coverage of the fire and made proactive strides to leverage the media as an ally during their crisis recovery efforts. News articles and social media both contributed to the gaze upon the community at that time and had the potential to significantly impact tourists’ perception of the destination image due to the exposure of potential visitors to the coverage. This study will use content analysis to analyze the news and social media communications during the fire to draw conclusions about the impact on destination image from the gaze through the media.

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The tourists' smoky gaze: The power of news and social media on destination image during a natural disaster

The 416 Fire burned over 54,000 acres in southwest Colorado during the summer of 2018. Known as a popular summer destination, the nearby city of Durango and the surrounding area felt an immediate impact as their busy season went up in smoke. Tourism managers monitored the media coverage of the fire and made proactive strides to leverage the media as an ally during their crisis recovery efforts. News articles and social media both contributed to the gaze upon the community at that time and had the potential to significantly impact tourists’ perception of the destination image due to the exposure of potential visitors to the coverage. This study will use content analysis to analyze the news and social media communications during the fire to draw conclusions about the impact on destination image from the gaze through the media.