Wildlife Watching Tourism. A Semiotic Gushing over the Trentino Case of the Bear
Tourism interested in observing wild animals like big predators in their own environment has recently appeared in Trentino, following the planned reintroduction of bears, part of the Life Ursus project, whose essential steps are taken up here. The practic e of bear watching is analysed semiotically, in comparison with the better known bird watching and in relation to photographic capture, a sort of predatory act projected onto the image. The generalized conflictual quality among the various actors implied, human and animal, at the heart of the project, makes it difficult to determine the tourist offer, within the theoretical framework of a touristization process. The Trentino case is finally compared with other territories, Churcill ( and the Rodopi m ountains in Bulgaria, where human animal relations have a long history and divergent directions. A semiotics of tourism is rethought within the framework of a semiotics of culture and the interaction between a multiplicity of levels of analysis.