Is it the same country? Representation of Cambodia on official tourist sites and in tourists’ comments

Author: Larisa Shchipitsina (Northern (Arctic) federal University of Arkhangelsk)
Speaker: Larisa Shchipitsina
Topic: Language in real and virtual spaces
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


Tourism is immensely increasing now, and many people decide what country to choose for a short trip relying on formal information provided through tourist companies and informal comments made by tourists on social network sites on the Internet. Informal comments are the most objective in this respect, as their authors don’t have bias and show a real situation. Knowing current situation on the tourist world and having feedback from clients which already have their experience with a touristic trip to a certain country is key to successful tourist business. Each tourist group has its own needs and is attracted by some features and arguments, which could be included in the country’s image.
The presentation focuses on the linguistic means representing Cambodia in formal and informal Internet-discourse in Russian and German. Exotic and rather new countries such as Cambodia are especially interesting for tourists, which determined the object of the investigation. Russian and German tourist sites and Internet comments as the empirical material of my study represent two European cultures, which show interest in visiting Cambodia.

This presentation explore how a certain country is described on official tourist sites whose main aim is to achieve more tourists and in informal tourists comments, who want to exchange their opinions. It shows that the difference in aims impacts the constructed linguistic image of the country, which is understood as a set of positive or negative aspects of something (in this case of a country). The presentation also lists some lexical units naming the most typical features and peculiarities of Cambodia, emphasized by Russian and German tourists, and gives their comparative analysis.

The findings of this presentation will provide evidence of the current Cambodia’s image in two European countries, on the one hand, and on formal and informal Internet discourse, on the other hand. They could be used in future research and in practical touristic activities as tourist companies can work further on their image building strategies.

Keywords: image, tourist site, online comment, comparative analysis