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A Multimodal Analysis of a Hong Kong Traveller's Guide

As a cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong attracts many tourists every year. The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has been promoting Hong Kong through advertisements, leaflets and social media. These promotional materials are multimodal as they comprise both written language and images to inform and attract tourists. Multimodality assumes that 'representation and communication always draw on a multiplicity of modes [for meaning making]' (Bezemer, 2012). Regarding tourism discourse under the Hong Kong context, previous studies have investigated the multimodal features of local tour brochure and tourists mobile apps (Ip, 2008; Suen & Fung, 2014). This paper attempts to explore what linguistic and visual elements are used in an official traveller’s guide of Hong Kong in branding the city and the views of the tourists about the design of the guide. Adopting the Systemic Functional Theory proposed by Halliday (1994), this study analyzed both words and images in terms of the three metafunctions of language. Tourists’ views obtained from questionnaire were interpreted and compared with textual analysis to evaluate what are the effective features. The results show that tourists find the use of multiple colourful images, questions, positive adjectives and second person pronoun are effective elements in promoting Hong Kong.