Marketing the 'Other': The Semiotics of Hawaii's Tourism Industry

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2011-05-09
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Abitbol, David
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Krishna, Sankaran
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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The imagery of Hawai'i has often represented the Islands and its people as exotic. Beautiful beaches, volcanoes, surf, pineapples, and hula girls are just some of the dominant images found on postcards, calendars, television shows, tourist advertisements, and a multitude of other media. These media act as messengers to the people that wish to see and learn about Hawai'i. The consumption of these images, especially in advertisements, is a vital part of promoting and attracting visitors to Hawai'i. This is important because tourism is the largest industry in Hawai'i and is paramount to the state's economy. Tourism provides jobs for residents and is a source funding for many of the state's expenditures through hotel and sales taxes. The advertisements used by the industries tied to tourism in Hawai'i (i.e. hotels, airlines, lu‘au shows, etc.) create narratives of ‘otherness’ that are reinforced by tropes of paradise, sexuality, primitivism, and nostalgia. Ultimately, these narratives illustrate the tourists’ thoughts and perceptions on the tourist experience in Hawai'i. This thesis is a study on how the advertisements, images, and narratives of Hawai'i have come to exemplify the ideal tourism experience in Hawai'i.
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47 pages
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