Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Barbara Carmichael

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The purpose of this study was to investigate rural images and perceptions of rural accommodation operators and their visitors, and to explore the contribution of tourism to sustainability in the Waterloo-Wellington region. The objectives were; to investigate and compare images, as perceived by rural hosts and visitors, and as projected through accommodation brochures; to compare perceived and projected images with ideal rural images; and to explore the role of rural tourism in sustaining rural cultures and contributing to sustainable rural development. Images and perceptions of rural accommodation operators were obtained via personal interviews and visitors’ perceptions were gathered through the use of guest questionnaires. A content analysis of accommodation brochures provided the basis for the projected image. Results indicated that hosts’ images were similar to visitors’ images in most aspects but also differed significantly in others. Visitors tended to have an idealized rural image. Hosts’ perceptions also indicated that rural tourism contributes to the cultural and economic sustainability of the Waterloo-Wellington region. The findings of the present study raised important implications for further rural tourism planning and promotion in the context of sustainable rural development, as well as addressed the need for future research on rural images, tourism and sustainability.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Tourism Commons