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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 22:12

The Social Construction of Tourism

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Cultural Tourism has become a major industry worldwide. In countries like France, Italy, England the "culture" that is displayed and encountered by the  traveller is that of the levels of what we call High Culture within the overall social framework of those countries. Elsewhere, and particularly in the colonised (as opposed to colonising) countries, this is not the case.In these instances Cultural Tourism takes on the ambiance of an encounter with the Exotic Other. And this other, is usually the indigenous person living in a subbordinated role in their own land. They are often exploited by other tourism operators for the tourist dollar, and rarely do they own and control the way that they are portrayed, or the kinds of dicourse they can have with the traveller. Critical Cultural Tourism addresses these issues. In this PDF we will interrogate the issue of the colonisation, displacement, replacement and renaming by which a socially constructed history is developed. We will look at  what role this dominant culture version of history plays in the tourism industry. We look at the impact of international capital and globalisation on indigenous prople in general and on cultural tourism in particular. Finally we unpack the issue of commodification in the Tourism Industry which leads to the production of products and practices that are insulting to the intelligence of the traveller and the tourism operator alike, and we pose the question "Is it possible to have an authentic Cultural Tourism experience?" And if so, what would it look like?

 

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