Mass Tourism

Mass tourism could only have been developed with the improvements in technology, allowing the transport of large numbers of people in a short space of time to places of leisure interest, so that greater numbers of people could begin to enjoy the benefits of leisure time. Mass tourism increased the demand for electrical power, water, consumer products, services and facilities. Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK and resulted in mass tourism in England during the second half of the 19th Century. Tourist ideology was typical seaside resorts such as Blackpool, Brighton and Rhyl. Donkey rides on the beach, ice creams and fish and chips became highly attractive for British tourists on weekends.

We can learn a lot about mass tourism by looking how destinations are marketed. As well as being actual places, tourist destinations are products that are ‘constructed’ as mental images to appeal to customers. Tourism operators construct images based on the physical appearance of the destination and also what they think the consumers want. A case study Benidorm illustrates the nature of the images produced for mass tourism.

Flora Botsford (2001) wrote an interesting article about Benidorm’s marketing image. It was in the year 1953 that Benidorm was transformed from a tiny fishing village into a successful tourist resort. She wrote about Benidorm that ‘it had a sun, it had a beach, it had a sea; what it didn’t have was visitors.’ The mayor of Benidorm was aware that the ‘dark and depressing’ countries in North Europe have long winters and unreliable summers and so this was ‘an ideal topic for a Big Sell.’ Even today we still have the same issue regarding weather in Britain and it can be mentioned the noticeable increase in winter holidays to the Canaries and North Africa.

Chapman and Speake (2010) studied the international images emanating from Malta’s tourism authorities are noticed they are of a ‘tourism product typified by quality accommodation, attractive aesthetics, urban environment and design and the proximity of cultural attractions.’ Although other destinations in Europe have had success being tourist destination regions, not everywhere has had the same influx. Chapman and Speake (2010) noted that ‘to change the perceptions of Malta as a traditional mass-tourism resort, it will be hard to achieve as it needs to meet upmarket expectations and the right image needs to be portrayed.’ As a tourist, Malta isn’t too appealing and I know very little about the Island in what it has to offer in comparison with Greece and Cyprus or the Balerics.

While tourism can be a powerful positive force for change in poor countries, it can also be damaging for the environment and culture. An increase in mass tourism that is not under control can destroy areas of natural beauty. Benidorm is now one of the most popular destinations with tourists and has clearly been affected by mass tourism. At one time this was a small fishing village with few bars and restaurants and has now become the New York of Spain – a concrete jungle. All over the world coral reefs, polluted beaches and the decay of wildlife habitus has occurred in the making of roads and hotels. However, Weaver (1991) analysed tourism in Dominica, which revealed a differing tourism industry that provides an alternative to the conventional varieties of mass tourism. Although this is a solution for Dominica, what about the rest of the world that’s being affected?

Chapman, A and Speake, J. (2010) Regeneration in a Mass Tourism Resort: The Changing Fortunes of Bugibba, Malta. Tourism Management. Available Online 1st May 2010.

Botsford, F. (2002) Benidorm Climbs Ever Upwards. BBC News, 8th June 2002.

Weaver, D.B. (1991) Alternative to Mass Tourism in Dominica. Annals of Tourism Research, Vol 18(3):414-432.

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Nudism and Naturism

Daley (2004) argues that the history of nudism is a history of place and space as well as of bodies. Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and social nudism. Naturism is ‘couched’ in terms of physicality in that feelings of water and heat of the sun on care skin is a return to nature. Smith and King (2009) noted that sexuality when practicing naturism was found to be suppressed through the use of rules, geographical isolation and thoughts of behaviour. It seems that for naturist tourists, naturist environments may provide unique opportunities in which they are able to explore particular aspects of their sexuality that are currently criminalised.

Despite the importance of beaches for a broad spectrum of recreational activities, very little is known about the multitude of beach use in marginalized spaces offering a range of opportunities for transgressive behaviour (Andriotis, 2010). However, nudist vacations are available to nudist tourists. Australia began the advent of nudist camps in the inter-war period, through to the post-war era (Daley, 2005). From the beginning, antipodean nudists often sited their camps in the bush, private locations chosen as their ideological importance as to recapture the childlike purity and pioneer values of earlier times.

In the modern-day era, the majority of humans are uncomfortable and dissatisfied with particular aspects of themselves. Especially as a tourist, planning a vacation can be stressful to try to get into shape. Purchasing a vast amount of exercise videos and special diet food can be costly and overwhelming. However, those who embrace the body like naturists are happy with themselves and for their body to be in its natural state ‘as God intended.’ Many people say that being involved in nudist groups makes them feel more accepted for their entire being; physically, intellectually and emotionally. It is tended that many are accepted regardless of age, body shape, fitness and health. Although many may embrace themselves but not through naturism, we are still able to value the same things but choose to wear clothing.

Although naturism has become a way of life for people and something we have grown to become aware of and have learnt about their culture, there are several issues concerning social nudity. Naturism addresses, challenges and explores a myriad of sometimes taboo subjects; stereotypes and more relating to the nude appearance of the human body, mixed gender nudism, human sexuality and exploitation. However, Warren (2007) noted that the taboo is quickly broken, that shame and modesty reactions are completely reversed and the shock responses quickly disappear. As society is ever-growing, we have learnt to except other cultures, religions and variants of ourselves into our communities and so naturism is now expected. As a tourist, I enjoy relaxing beach holidays and have before now come across naked beach bathing. However, as I felt, if it’s uncomfortable, their beaches are separate and more remote but remember not too judgemental as they embrace their culture as we embrace ours.

Andriotis, K. (2010) Heterotopic Erotic Oases: The Public Nude Beach Experience. Annals of Tourism Research. Vol 37(4):1076-1096.

Daley, C. (2005) From Bush to Beach: Nudism in Australia. Journal of Historical Geography. Vol 31(1):149-167.

Smith, G and King, M. (2009) Naturism and Sexuality: Broadening our Approach to Sexual Wellbeing. Health and Place. Vol 15(2):439-446.

Warren, H.C. (2007) Social Nudism and The Body Taboo. Psychological Review. Vol 40(2):160-183.

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Tourism and Terrorism

Sonmez and Graefe (1998) stated that ‘tourism is an enigmatic and compelling phenomenon which draws abundant intellectual attention.’ However, the topic is so laden there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism (Poland, 1988). The correlation between tourism and terrorism is undeniable in the modern era due to the strength of the industry and the fact that these huneypot sites such as the Pyramids of Giza act as an ideal target place for terrorist attacks in order to cause large amounts of social and economic disruption. For example, by hijacking a passenger airline, terrorists initiate communication. The target audience is usually the government in which the terrorists are protesting against and finally gaining the attention of the target audience is usually perceived as a successful communication.

An article written earlier this year by Hafsa Oubou discovered the threat of tourism in Africa. He stated that “it is true that the media plays a cruical role to introduce the nations, cultures and people to eachother and that the media can play a negative role making tourists afraid to visit a country just because their populations are Arab, Muslim or African.” Our awareness of particular destinations has origined from those individuals through passive or informal information search and these “alternatives are often influenced by personal attitudes towards various regions and destinations” (Sonmez and Graefe, 1998). Tourists are attracted to relaxing scenery, I feel destinations with negative perceptions or perceived risks are not favoured.

Terrorists recognise the economic and political value of tourism. Egypt is a reasonably good case study when comparing terrorism’s effect on tourism as it benefits strongly from international tourism due to the Pyramids of Giza and the Aswan Dam. Being an Islamic country many tourist attacks are from Islamic communities who believe they should undertake terrorist activity. In 1997 a terrorist attack targeting visitors to the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor resulted in visitor arrivals to Egypt declining by 13.8% from 1997-1998 and it’s international tourism receipts declined by 45.4% in 1998. As most of us are aware Egypt is a top holiday destination providing package holidays for tourists, I would recommend to stay within the resort as terrorists usually plan attacks on tour buses or when people may sit to have lunch and so on.

Tourists have always been priority targets for terrorist activity and we need to be aware not just ‘if’ terrorists will attack, but the possibility of ‘when,’ how prepared we are to deal with such a crisis and primarily how we can prevent future occurences. For example, the long term effects of the September 11th attacks in 2001 has caused a lot more cautiousnes with travellers. Terrorist activity really began seriously during the 1970’s, however being ever advancing in technology, developments have now increased in specific anti-terrorism strategies, not only in destinations most affected but also in airports and accommodation. I feel as a tourist, if there was a highly perceived risk of terrorism, instead of foregoing travelling altogether, it would be simpler to travel to a less dangerous destination.

Oubou, H. (2010) Tourism vs Terrorism: Classic but still frightening. Newstime Africa, 17th January.

Poland, J.M. (1988) Understanding Terrorism. Englewood Cliffs NJ:Prentice-Hall as cited in Sonmez, S and Graefe, A.R. (1998) Influence of Terrorism Risk on Foreign Tourism Decisions. Annals of Tourism Research, 25(1):112-144.

Sonmez, S and Graefe, A.R. (1998) Influence of Terrorism Risk on Foreign Tourism Decisions. Annals of Tourism Research, 25(1):112-144.

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Dark Tourism

Part of the human condition is the grim facination with horror and atrocity. Visiting sites connected with death and disaster has been and still is a significant part of tourist experiences all over the world. In many societies, the dead are buried in sites designated for the purpose to leave a permanant remembrance to those who wish to visit, e.g. Pyramids of Egypt. Dark tourism is a very sensative area of tourism however attracts the attention of tourists and is now providing more ‘potential spiritual journeys for the tourist who wishes to gaze upon real and recreated death’ (Stone, 2006). Lennon and Foley (2000) suggested that Dark Tourism is to do with the events that have taken place within the memories of those still alive to validate them. Visits to the site suggests anxiety and doubt. Knowing people who have lost family in the death camps of Auschwitz, I have found to behave rather uncomfortable regarding the situation, however, as with tourists there is also the desperation to know more.

Some have argued there are two types of visitor behaviour; specialist and serendipity. Specialist is those seeking the location of their relatives or friends sufferings e.g. technology camp of warefare, whereas serendipity, the visit to a disaster area is on the itinery of the tour company. Merchandising becomes important, ‘impulse purchase’ becomes central to the product involved. However, relating this to Smith and Cray (2005), they argued that ‘certain literature has identified that Dark Tourism is often de-marketed and may be more about the perceived “immoral” promotion of death and disaster.’ I would suggest that tourists need to identify the significance with the meaning of the site and have specific knowledge about it. If I was a tourist visiting the battle sites of World War 1, there is expected to be some sort of personalisation of that incident, including emotive responces.

We experience the effects of conflict on a daily basis and many people decide to visit these places of death and disaster when the oppertunity presents itself. An example of this is Chernobyl, the worlds worst nuclear reactor disaster in 1986. An all inclusive day trip package is available which includes transport and entry inside the zone. I feel such a disaster will still have significance in years to come as it will always be something to be remembered and would be worth the visit to see if it was still spoken about today.

The advent of Dark Tourism has only become available to tourists through national and regional tourism bodies, voluntary groups and commercial businesses. These provide services and facilities to promote transport and service the visitor at these tourism destinations of ‘celebrated sites.’ The advance in technology has provided tourists with ease of access to particular destinations. For example. stag groups, college kids or corporate team-builders may want to visit the Latvian Prison Hotel and experience Naval Jail conditions, for bonding experience, education and excitement.

It seems that Dark Tourism may be moving away from suffering and being turned into tourist consumption; but who will define the boundaries of good and bad taste and how acceptable is it to visit death sites immediatly following the event to show respect?

Lennon, J and Foley, M. (2000) Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Disaster. Continuum, London.

Smith, N and Cray, G.W. (2004) Taking Tourism to the Limits: Issues, Concepts and Managerial Perspectives, Elsevier Ltd.

Stone, P.R. (2006) A Dark Tourism Spectrum: Towards a Typology of Death and Macabre Related Tourist Sites, Attractions and Exhibitions. Vol 54(2):145-160.

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Tourism and Performance

Edensor (2001) used performance as a metaphor to explain why we carry out particular behaviours and practice these behaviours in the social world. Particular patterns of tourist behaviour seemed to be evolved around social class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality (Bourdieu, 1984) and these demographic characteristics can be found in particular habitus’ of tourists. For example, if I were a tourist, particular tourism activities are more appealing than of someone of a different social class. I may find it more interesting to take a trip to Paris for the annual fashion week as opposed to males of my age who would take a trip to Munich for the Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest

Hare (2004) analysed social interaction using dramaturgical analysis. This is based on the assumption that social acts are ‘staged’ and thus encorporates all roles played in a theatre and we are casted to particular roles in out social environment. The main concepts include the action area, audience and the offstage areas where others who support the performance may be found. In other words; tour operators, managers, tour guides and so on, are those casted for these particular roles. The meaning of each concept may take the form of an image, theme, plot or a script. For example a holiday broshure contains all this information and upon arrival at a destination do particular ‘characters’ portray these concepts.

There are individual differences between tourists including spontaneous behaviour and the expression of emotions and personality traits. There are those who choose to study there destination of interest and those who choose to book last minute. Before embarking, tourists may experience ‘stagefright’ with the anticipation of where they are going, what to expect and more importantly what kind of behaviour they will display in a different social environment. It seems for those tourists who are organised information websites e.g. ‘holidays uncovered’ and ‘trip advisor’ provide honest opinions of all ‘roles’ in a particular destination as opposed to ‘glossy’ holiday broshures, which I feel are just aimed to sell. However, those with a ‘get up and go’ attitude are more likely to purchase a book on local culture attractions and cuisine upon arrival.

Furthermore, tourists themselves act upon the evaluation and views from other people (Strauger and Schoeneman, 1979). Studies of natural interactions indicate that people’s self perceptions agree substantially with the way they perceive themselves as being viewed by others. It seems that tourists have to act in a certain way in order to receive appraisal from peers or more importantly, fellow tourists. Tourists on differing experiences for example whether its 18/30s, backpacking or a member on a tour bus are determined by shared assumptions about particular behaviours in varying contexts. Tourists are looking to be entertained and motivated, so it’s unlikely to find 18/30s generation on a tour bus holiday with the elderly.

Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction. London. Routledge as cited in Edensor, T. (2001) Performing tourism, staging tourism: (re)producing tourist space and practice, Tourist Studies, 1:59-82.

Edensor, T. (2001) Performing tourism, staging tourism: (re)producing tourist space and practice, Tourist Studies, 1:59-82.

Hare, A.P. (2004) Dramaturgical Analysis: Sociological International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences, Pages 3834-3836.

Shrauger, J.S and Schoeneman, T.J. (1979) Symbolic Interactionist View of Self-Concept: Through the Looking Glass Darkly. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 86(3):549-573.

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