The authors identified a gap in the Third World tourism marketing that had been left out by other tourism scholars. While previous research studies had their focus on the content of tourism in the Third World, a gap was left in its context. The authors, therefore, sought to exlpore the how Third World is represented in the First World in the context of tourism marketing.
Echtner & Prasad (2003) carry out analysis of brochures that were used by Third World tourism marketers to represent the Third World market. Specifically, they collect 223 brochures from 47 travel agencies in North America. The authors selected 130 countries that were at the time defined by The Word Bank as Third World. Also, based on 1996 data from World Tourism Organization, the authors selected 30 countries from the Third World that had high earnings from tourism. Echtner & Prasad (2003) also collected data on the amount spent on tourism promotional activities. They also selected 12 countries geographically after grouping them into five regions. The authors eliminated brochures with scanty visual and verbal data and ended up with 115 that were used in the research. They examined the verbs, the nouns, and the pictures in the brochures for each region. The research is purely conceptual as the authors used previous research studies and the already available data.
The patterns exhibited by the representations of the Third World in the First World are used by Echtner & Prasad (2003) to reveal three myths in tourism characterizing the marketing of the destinations. Through the use of postcolonial theory viewpoint, the authors show that tourism marketing in the Third World is characterized by the myths of the unrestrained, unchanged, and that of the uncivilized (Echtner & Prasad, 2003).