Experiencing Englishness: humour and guided tours

Carol Zhang, Philip L. Pearce

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This study develops a small but growing cadre of work seeking to reveal how humour is used intourism. It focuses on the presentation of three sites in southern England where guides usehumour to enhance the presentation of the country’s distinctive history. The study has two aims:to understand how tourists react to the guides’ humour and, second, to identify how thehumour works to portray a sense of Englishness. Using multiple sources of information, includingan analysis of promotional materials, the text of the narratives, TripAdvisor comments fromtourists and direct on-site observation, it was established that the humour was both carefullyframed and successful. It was revealed that the guides employ their jokes and jibes to manage the flow of the visitors and control the atmosphere of the tour. Guides also employ interactiveand direct joke routines where tourists are effectively co-actors and participants in theexperience. Since research opportunities for considering the role of tourism-linked humour lie inportraying the distinctiveness of destinations, further work can capture new facets of the touristexperience and offer a fresh route to appraise tourism marketing and interpretation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-271
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Issue number3
Early online date26 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Humour
  • co-production
  • Englishness
  • relief
  • incongruity
  • superiority
  • guided tours
  • notatports


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