Forms of Address in the Discourse of Tourist Promotion


Patricia Edwards Rokowski


Tourism has become one of the world’s major industries, moving as it does,  billions of Euros annually. Tourists, for their part, adventure into  traveling further away from home, in addition to moving about more often  than ever before. Both of these motivational factors, economic and social,  require that the marketing of products and services in the sector make use  of professional communication which is highly convincing in order to  effectively compete on the market. The overall objective of this paper analyzes the special language used in  tourist promotion in representative examples, and that specifically  involving the manner in which the discourse of this genre addresses the  receiver, i.e. tourists. The procedure for data collection is undertaken  within the framework of contemporary tourism promotion models from various  sources from all over the world in order to establish a large, on-going  international corpus, which at present includes over 1200 samples. The  language used for transmission of the messages, contained within the  sampling of the promotional material examined, project both distinctive  discourse features, as well as recurring syntactical patterns, used in order  to attract tourists towards the destinations marketed. Our findings point towards the establishment of a symbiotic rapport between  the sender, “we”, and the receiver, “you”, with singular characteristics  particular to the messages in this text type. On the one hand, suppliers  address prospective consumer - tourists as a collective target group (you  plural), with the express purpose of trying to reach and attract as many  potential customers as possible. On the other hand, however, the tourists  themselves perceive the messages uniquely and individually (you singular) as  the discourse sparks an interest, which fulfils their personalized needs and  wants, a marketing concept referred to as ego targeting (Williamson 1983).  As a result, we observe a particular dialogic structure involving “we”, the  supplier of tourist activity, addressing “you”, the potential patron of the  commercial offer (Boyer and Viallon 1994). Furthermore, specific grammatical  preferences tend to emerge around the variations of address, namely  imperatives, interrogatives and modal forms (Marsano 1994) (Elgin 1993). Nonetheless, and regardless of the channel of communication used, the  illocutionary manifestation of the discourse is marked by monologue  (Vestergaard and Schroder 1993). That is, the sender emits the messages in a  one-way transmission, which rarely allows the receiver the opportunity of  verbal exchange (Archdale, 1992). Taking exception to the unidirectional  format traditionally found in advertising and promotion is that which takes  place in Internet. Most usually, the web sites of tourist destinations  around the world allow for and invite visitors to contact an email address  provided on the web page. Thus, in the case in point, a kind of belated  dialogue that permits feedback from the receiver to the sender is created,  challenging the otherwise unilateral transmission salient in most other  promotional forms. To sum up, our study exemplifies modern advertising and promotional use of  discourse in addressing the needs and motivations of prospective clients  from a linguistic perspective within the context of the tourist industry.