Title of Paper

Fandoms in Tourism – Visitors and/as Volunteers

Author Bios (50 Words)

Ina Reichenberger is a lecturer in tourism management at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research centres around tourist behaviour, especially the social aspect of tourism and its relation to value co-creation. Current projects focus on fandom-based community building in tourism spaces.

Dr Karen A. Smith is Professor of Tourism Management at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has published widely on volunteer management, most notably in the events and tourism sectors, and has a particular interest in volunteer managers and management, and how to harness the enthusiasm and passion of volunteers.

Abstract (150 Words)

The intersections between popular culture and tourism are becoming increasingly visible and important, making fans a relevant target segment for special interest tourism. Tourism provides spaces for fans to come together and create the sense of community that is at the core of fandom. Fans are likely to attend and potentially also volunteer at fan-based events, where additional social capital can be accrued and one’s membership status within the fandom is elevated. The aims and motivations of fan-based volunteers and fan-based visitors, however, do not appear to differ – both share common passions and a desire for social interactions with the purpose to create a perceived sense of community through expressions of membership, influence, shared emotional connections and the fulfillment of needs. This paper explores the similarities between fan-based visitors and fan-based volunteers to examine how managers of special interest tourism services can utilize expressions of fandom to create and enhance visitor experiences.

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Fandoms in Tourism – Visitors and/as Volunteers

The intersections between popular culture and tourism are becoming increasingly visible and important, making fans a relevant target segment for special interest tourism. Tourism provides spaces for fans to come together and create the sense of community that is at the core of fandom. Fans are likely to attend and potentially also volunteer at fan-based events, where additional social capital can be accrued and one’s membership status within the fandom is elevated. The aims and motivations of fan-based volunteers and fan-based visitors, however, do not appear to differ – both share common passions and a desire for social interactions with the purpose to create a perceived sense of community through expressions of membership, influence, shared emotional connections and the fulfillment of needs. This paper explores the similarities between fan-based visitors and fan-based volunteers to examine how managers of special interest tourism services can utilize expressions of fandom to create and enhance visitor experiences.