A monastic tourist experience: the packaging of a place
Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
This paper outlines the transformation occurring in New Norcia, a small rural town in Western Australia. Initially a self-sufficient mission settlement of Benedictine monks concentrating on ministering to the indigenous population while living an ecclesiastical lifestyle, the town is now developing as an experiential tourist commodity. The conservation of the monks’ unique habitus is achieved by a carefully constructed tourism strategy, which allows for the continuity of the monks’ habitus along with its commodification and transformation. The paper outlines the history of New Norcia, followed by a discussion on its development as a tourist destination. The strategies utilized in the process of this transformation are discussed within a framework provided by ‘sense of place’ literature. Experiences and perceptions of tourists, gathered by the authors while visiting New Norcia, are included throughout the discussion.