Investigating islands' visitor experiences in cultural heritage museums: The case of Cyprus
Ioannou, Myria C.
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The consumption of the tourist product relates to a series of visitor experiences that shape overall visitor evaluation. Such experiences pertain to how visitors sense, relate and act when consuming these products. Museums, safeguarding cultural heritage, contribute significantly to this experience by providing exclusive insights and interaction with (in) authentic exhibits of many areas, such as islands. Nonetheless, in many islands, museums have not been fully developed as destination features and thus, significant opportunities to utilise museums' visitor experience to enrich the tourist offering, are lost. In this respect, the paper examines the experiences of tourists with cultural museums in the island of Cyprus, from the policy makers and museums' managers' perspective. Specifically, through face to face interviews with 13 representatives of tourism policy/museums, the study indicates that the role of museums is important for the formation of visitor/tourist experiences while certain elements appeal to visitors' engagement in museum settings. The paper concludes that museums could provide holistic memorable experience that can help actively diversify the tourism products of islands. In this respect, emphasis must be given upon how experiences are created having in mind also that visitors are increasingly becoming value co-creators in this experience.