A recent shift in tourism studies has focused on the emotional, affective, embodied, and performative dimensions of heritage landscape experience. However, such research often struggles to transform theoretical and conceptual discussions into practical and applicable terms that can be effectively implemented by site managers. The concept of presence is therefore proposed to identify emotional and affective dimensions of heritage landscapes through an embodied, observational, and collaborative approach. Inspired by landscape phenomenology, I share how my own embodied encounter in the Viking Age site of Birka in Sweden prompted further observations and reflections on the existing site experience to confirm that certain areas of the landscape have been largely unexplored for their affective and emotional potential. Practical strategies to utilize these new dimensions emerge from focus groups and interviews with site managers, re-enactors, and tour guides. I conclude that a more collaborative study of presence grounded in embodied and observational encounters provides a useful stepping stone to transform theoretical and conceptual discussions of emotion and affect into more practical heritage management strategies.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Social and Economic Geography
- landscape phenomenology
- visitor experience
- heritage management