International students' image of rural Pennsylvania as a travel destination

Po Ju Chen, Deborah Lee Kerstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


Rural tourism in the United States is growing. According to Hill (1993), the recent surge in rural tourism has come about through increased automobile and weekend travel, economic hardship, a mature travel market, and changing tastes and preferences. Urbanization also has played a role in the development of rural tourism (Conlin and Baum 1995). The more entrenched urbanites become, the more likely they are to reach out and visit rural settings. Willits, Bealer, and Timbers (1990) suggested that this behavior might be due in part to a phenomenon termed the 'rural mystique.' Images of farms, small towns with old-fashioned customs and traditional values, open spaces, and wilderness settings are evoked by the term rural. Individuals imagine rural areas to be 'the repository of all that is stable, immemorial, harmonious, pleasant, and reassuring in the modern world' (Saunders et al. 1978, p. 63). Research on individuals' perceptions of rural areas, however, has been conducted solely with North Americans and has not given much attention to tourists, specifically international tourists, and their interest in rural areas as tourism destinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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