Joseph W. Miller: Class of 2013

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Department 1



Tourism is an important and growing industry in Singapore. Studies on Singapore cultural tourism have generally focused on three major sites: Chinatown, Little India and the Malay Village. The Haw Par Villa tourist site has not been examined in recent years. The case study of Haw Par Villa offered here demonstrates how changing times in Singapore have affected the popularity of tourist sites in an island nation. This article discusses the decline and potential rebirth of Singapore’s Haw Par Villa theme park in the context of cultural tourism, placing a special emphasis on Urry’s concept of the ‘tourist gaze’. Multiple methods were used in gathering data for this study: a survey conducted in Singapore of both local residents and foreign tourists; participant observations of Haw Par Villa; and a thematic content analysis of tour guide books and online documents pertaining to the site. Our analyses suggest that Haw Par Villa represents a treasured past of Singapore, although one in danger of fading away with the changing interests of newer generations of tourists.

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