The Tourist Gaze: Domestic versus International Tourists

Lesego S. Stone, Gyan Nyaupane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This article investigates domestic and international tourists’ “gaze” using tourism imagery. Domestic and international tourists’ preferences are critically examined using the concept of the “tourist gaze” and “local gaze.” Through qualitative, in-depth photo-elicitation interviews (PEIs) guided by 16 photographs covering various tourist attractions in Botswana, results indicate dissimilar tourist gazes between international and domestic tourists. Culture, livelihoods, and crowded spaces, with a variety of activities, influence domestic tourists’ gaze, whereas privacy, tranquility, and quietness influence the international tourists’ gaze. The tourist gaze thus can be seen as a culturally contingent concept that is not universal. Despite the differences, results indicate the continued promotion of an international tourist’s gaze. Results help explain low visitation by domestic tourists to protected areas in Botswana and Africa. In view of the study’s results, theoretical and policy implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-891
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Africa
  • Global South
  • destination image
  • developing destinations
  • local gaze
  • nature-based tourism
  • representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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