In this Research Capsule, Taif-Uz Zaman talks about his use of autoethnography as one of the instruments in the methodology for his honours dissertation in tourism. Taif was awarded a first class BSc degree with honours in International Tourism Management in summer 2020.
Morocco’s tourist destination image – For my honours project, I chose to explore the perceived image of Morocco for UK outbound tourists, because I am interested in destination branding, marketing and image portrayal. Morocco was included in my bucket list for travel because I am so interested in the culture and the food, particularly dishes influenced by their traditional tagine. And the hot climate of Morocco.
Example data from my autoethnography – Zaman’s 2019 autoethnography: “We ordered tagine this time…influenced by Rick Stein’s visit to Morocco and based on the food he showcased we were focusing on trying the tagine”. The best feeling of Morocco is waking up to “beautiful sunny and warm morning to see the cafés open and making fresh pancakes for breakfast”.
Methodology and research instruments – I used 4 research instruments in my methods. One of these was an autoethnographic approach which is a self-narrated diary used to judge the power of words that come from personal experience. Thus, providing a better understanding and valuable information on personal perceptions in a professional context (Butz & Besio, 2009; Coghlan & Filo, 2013; Wall, 2008). My autoethnography was written of the days visited after coming back from the trip, and images were used to make the words come to life. From all the instruments, I found that Marrakech was widely portrayed as the major city of Morocco because of the mental constructed image perceived through authenticity, culture, history, food, weather, shopping, city break and beach holidays. From personal experience, Marrakech was the most authentic city of Morocco, which correlated with the research I have gathered from the autoethnography.
Main contribution of my research – The research makes sense because Tangier has struggled to portray its image ‘due to lack of information and negative influence of the locals not welcoming tourists’. Thus, Visit Morocco could take this research into consideration to expand their marketing to unique and unvisited places to show that Morocco has a lot more to offer than just Marrakech.
The future – I am so proud of what I have achieved in the research, which would not have been possible without the support from my lecturers, family and friends. I aspire to take on these skills and experiences gained from my study and work experience to pursue the career that I have been dreaming of. I am aiming to do travel modelling and work in the travel industry particularly with the major airlines and airports.
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