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Visiting the Borderless City: Traveling via the Internet
Unformatted Document Text:  city rather than its unique attractions. Moreover, because the hotels that are provided as part of these packages are typically located in central tourist areas, travelers will likely encounter a part of the city that is most similar to tourist areas in other cities. In other words, they will be surrounded by a tourist bubble, and on their weekend escape to Seattle, for example, visitors need not adventure beyond the primary attractions surrounding downtown. The web also reinforces the tourist bubble through the official visitor sites provided by most cities. These sites are just the most recent technique that cities’ have used to promote themselves. Like other forms of promotion--ranging from magazine and television ad campaigns to free maps and tourist guides--Web sites are most interested in targeting the upscale consumer: travelers who will stay at a hotel rather than with family or friends and who will spend money at restaurants and shops. The sites tend to focus on elements of the city that will bring the most revenue such as theater and sports events. On the other hand, official sites are not the only place tourists can find travel information on the Internet. For one thing, there are many unofficial sites that provide visitor information about a city. Simply conducting a search on Yahoo! for ’New York City ’ brings up thousands of sites; on the first two pages one finds the official city government site and several tourism sites but also the site for the City College of New York, New York City Ballet and an unofficial site on the New York Subways. Furthermore, the Web allows travelers to search for a very specific part of a city they wish to visit--ranging from an obscure museum to a nightclub. The potential visitor can even use the yellow pages on the Web to locate all the coffee shops within a mile of a hotel or major tourist attraction. Thus, while the dominant travel sites may encourage the homogenization of the city, the Internet also allows these sites to be circumvented and in this way creates further differentiation within and between cities.

Authors: Fotsch, Paul.
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city rather than its unique attractions. Moreover, because the hotels that are provided as part of
these packages are typically located in central tourist areas, travelers will likely encounter a part
of the city that is most similar to tourist areas in other cities. In other words, they will be
surrounded by a tourist bubble, and on their weekend escape to Seattle, for example, visitors
need not adventure beyond the primary attractions surrounding downtown.
The web also reinforces the tourist bubble through the official visitor sites provided by
most cities. These sites are just the most recent technique that cities’ have used to promote
themselves. Like other forms of promotion--ranging from magazine and television ad campaigns
to free maps and tourist guides--Web sites are most interested in targeting the upscale consumer:
travelers who will stay at a hotel rather than with family or friends and who will spend money at
restaurants and shops. The sites tend to focus on elements of the city that will bring the most
revenue such as theater and sports events.
On the other hand, official sites are not the only place tourists can find travel information
on the Internet. For one thing, there are many unofficial sites that provide visitor information
about a city. Simply conducting a search on Yahoo! for ’New York City ’ brings up thousands of
sites; on the first two pages one finds the official city government site and several tourism sites
but also the site for the City College of New York, New York City Ballet and an unofficial site
on the New York Subways. Furthermore, the Web allows travelers to search for a very specific
part of a city they wish to visit--ranging from an obscure museum to a nightclub. The potential
visitor can even use the yellow pages on the Web to locate all the coffee shops within a mile of a
hotel or major tourist attraction. Thus, while the dominant travel sites may encourage the
homogenization of the city, the Internet also allows these sites to be circumvented and in this
way creates further differentiation within and between cities.


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