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Visiting the Borderless City: Traveling via the Internet
Unformatted Document Text:  This differentiation can be seen especially in the Internet travel clubs. These clubs reflect the diverse goals of travelers. For example, Yahoo! lists over twenty-five-hundred different travel groups in categories ranging from ’whale watching’ to ’recreational vehicles:’ there are over one hundred different groups just dedicated to lesbian, gay and bisexual travelers. With or without joining one of these clubs visitors can browse the recent postings, enter a conversation or post a specific question like, ’What is there to do at 3 am in San Francisco?’ or ’What is your favorite city in Europe?’ Visitors can also search postings for key words such as ’bike shop’ or ’Ethiopian restaurant.’ In dialogue with others, they can search for elements of a city that most interest them. As other travelers share what they like and dislike about different locations, they create greater rather than fewer distinctions regarding cities. Up to this point, I have primarily focused on Internet resources directed at tourists, but to fully understand the impact of the Internet on travel, it is important to look at the diverse reasons people visit specific locations. Dean MacCannell (1989) recognizes this diversity when he defines a ’marker’ as any information that directs a tourist toward seeing an attraction. This information can be found in ’travel books, museum guides, stories told by persons who have visited it, art history texts and lectures, "dissertations" and so forth’ (110). Even better examples are television shows and films set in actual cities (even if they are filmed in Hollywood). You can have a drink at the bar from ’Cheers’ in Boston, take a ’Seinfeld’ tour of New York or stay in the Lodge from ’Twin Peaks’ outside Seattle. 14 The Internet simply multiplies the opportunities for a city to be depicted in varied ways. People searching for information on a particular event, ranging from the Academy Awards to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, will connect the event to the city it is located in. 15

Authors: Fotsch, Paul.
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This differentiation can be seen especially in the Internet travel clubs. These clubs reflect
the diverse goals of travelers. For example, Yahoo! lists over twenty-five-hundred different
travel groups in categories ranging from ’whale watching’ to ’recreational vehicles:’ there are over
one hundred different groups just dedicated to lesbian, gay and bisexual travelers. With or
without joining one of these clubs visitors can browse the recent postings, enter a conversation or
post a specific question like, ’What is there to do at 3 am in San Francisco?’ or ’What is your
favorite city in Europe?’ Visitors can also search postings for key words such as ’bike shop’ or
’Ethiopian restaurant.’ In dialogue with others, they can search for elements of a city that most
interest them. As other travelers share what they like and dislike about different locations, they
create greater rather than fewer distinctions regarding cities.
Up to this point, I have primarily focused on Internet resources directed at tourists, but to
fully understand the impact of the Internet on travel, it is important to look at the diverse reasons
people visit specific locations. Dean MacCannell (1989) recognizes this diversity when he
defines a ’marker’ as any information that directs a tourist toward seeing an attraction. This
information can be found in ’travel books, museum guides, stories told by persons who have
visited it, art history texts and lectures, "dissertations" and so forth’ (110). Even better examples
are television shows and films set in actual cities (even if they are filmed in Hollywood). You
can have a drink at the bar from ’Cheers’ in Boston, take a ’Seinfeld’ tour of New York or stay in
the Lodge from ’Twin Peaks’ outside Seattle.
14
The Internet simply multiplies the opportunities
for a city to be depicted in varied ways. People searching for information on a particular event,
ranging from the Academy Awards to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, will connect the
event to the city it is located in.
15


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