• Reflecting on perceptions of local communities and visitors: Sustainable heritage leisure and tourism

      Spring, Charles; Wakefield, Lisa; University of Derby (Palgrave McMillan, 2020-06-25)
      The two aspects of Positive Sociology; those of psychology and sociology indicate that communities would prefer that they are engaged and involved in their local leisure activities. Visitors gain satisfaction from experiences they are engaged in. Understanding what these would be is important to destinations. Buxton is undertaking a major regeneration project at the Crescent, a hotel complex with ancillary buildings one of which is the Pump Room. The purpose of research undertaken by students, overseen by academics and members of staff from Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa; was to gain an insight into visitor and community perceptions of Buxton, The Crescent Hotel and The Pump Room. A sustainable use could then be determined for the Pump Room, which has a rich history of visitor use prior to its closure in the 1990’s. Qualitative research was carried out in order to gain a deeper insight into the quality of the community and visitor experience. Quantitative research was used to capture and portray demographics. Data was analysed comparing visitor and community expectations and perceptions of Buxton. Key themes emerging suggest that both visitor and community perceptions and expectations were very similar. The majority of visitors choose Buxton for heritage and culture or the scenery and both groups agreed the most appealing aspects of the Crescent and towns spa heritage, were the history, architecture, outdoor environment and surrounding beauty. Themes regarding future use of the Pump Room gave conflicting opinions. The most common response for both visitors and residents was a tea room/café/restaurant in keeping with the 5* Crescent Hotel. Another theme, which emerged from visitors, was for an entertainment venue. It could be argued that residents and visitors need a better understanding of the Pump Room in order to have a better vision of how it can best be adapted and restored. The authors of this article would suggest that further research is needed with both residents and visitors.