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n Mousaion - Young adult readers as potential consumers of literary tourism sites : a survey of the readers of two of the Dalene Matthee forest novels
The Knysna forest is a natural and cultural landscape that nurtured the creativity of author Dalene Matthee. Her literary works Kringe in 'n bos and Fiela se kind, regarded as the first two of her 'forest' novels, capture a segment of 19th-century rural life and have intermittently been setworks/prescribed texts for senior secondary school learners since their publication.
The aim of the research reported on, was to investigate the effect of prescribed works of fiction on the potential travel behaviour of adolescents or young adults, ranging from 17 to 19 years of age, and more specifically, whether the reading of Kringe in 'n bos and/or Fiela se kind may influence the reader as consumer to want to visit the Knysna forest, the setting of the novels, and similarly to visit other destinations with a literary heritage and engage in literary tourism. Any potential literary tourism site is a social construction that requires authentic development to attract visitors interested in experiencing the setting of novels.
The fieldwork indicated significant interest among respondents in enhancing their prescribed reading with a real-life experience of visiting the Knysna Forest on an organised school tour. Should this not be possible, a 'virtual' internet tour would be their next choice. The linking of books with a destination could add value to a reader's experience of both. A literary place, such as the Knysna forest as the setting for Kringe in 'n bos and Fiela se kind, can be regarded as a place that readers as consumers (can) attach meaning to, and that draws tourists to the destination.
Interest in literary tours and literary tourism appears evident, and places could be promoted owing to their association with well-known writers and their books.
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