The Geographical imagination of Israeli tourists to Turkey

Irit Shmuel, Nir Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to examine changes in the discourse concerning Israeli tourism to Turkey between 2000 and 2014. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on the concept of geographic imagination and using a critical cultural discourse analysis of travel stories published in the Israeli media, the authors analyze the extent to which changes have both reflected and resulted from changing relations between the two countries. Findings: The analysis reveals that before 2010, Turkey was depicted in largely positive geo-cultural terms, imagined as a desired cosmopolitan, culturally “authentic” destination, which elicits feelings of joy and peacefulness. More recent narratives, however, highlighted its negative geopolitical qualities, underscoring its anti-Israel stance and invoking a fearful discourse of political and ethno-religious radicalization. Originality/value: The study makes three contributions. First, by attending to the significance of perceptions in the social construction of tourist destinations it brings the fields of tourism and cognitive geography into a closer dialogue. Second, by using a critical discourse analysis it highlights the changing cultural contexts within which places are imagined and constructed by tourists. Finally, by uncovering the geographic complexities that undergird the discursive construction of places as tourist destinations, it illustrates how everyday narratives change over time, reflecting the dynamic nature of inter-state relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-399
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The corresponding author would like to thank Professor Dalia Gavrieli-Nuri for her continuous support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Discourse analysis
  • Geographic imagination
  • Israel
  • Tourism
  • Turkey


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