This paper examines the tourist experience within the context of the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa, Israel. Using Cohen’s (1979) typology and Smith’s (1992) continuum model, we differentiate between visitors and perceptions of the same site. The study employs a mixed methodological approach that includes participant-observation, archival documents and short-informal and unstructured interviews with Bahá’í volunteers, tourists and guides, as well as empirical observations concerning the material landscape and the observed practices of pilgrims and tourists. As a result of the garden’s dual-purpose nature (secular-religious), two very different experiences co-exist: those that relate to the ‘secular’ and those that relate to the ‘religious’ tourist. The contemporary nature of the garden makes the case of the Bahá’í Gardens and its cultural and economic context both more distinct-but also somewhat ambiguous as the perceived boundaries are unclear.
- The tourist experience
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management