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Love or hate: Hosting tourists in a global age

14 1 0
14.09.2017

Tourism has always been an important human activity and business. But today, condemning tourists is becoming a trend with serious significance for future relationships between nations and people. This past summer witnessed demonstrations against tourists in the popular tourist destinations of Barcelona and Mallorca, Spain with banners decaling that “tourism kills neighborhoods”. This new anti-tourist movement in Europe should not be ignored particularly for those interested in tourism and the built environment, otherwise known as man-made environments. Economically, the outcome of these confrontations pit residents and neighborhoods against one another. Culturally, they point to the rise of a general sentiment against people who are different. And the political repercussions are great.

As individuals, communities or nations, there are often two conflicting sentiments toward others and their traditions. In the first, we resort to tradition out of fear of change. But protectionism against the unknown may often turn into hostility, and sometimes into fundamentalism. The second sentiment is often the product of an intense curiosity about other people and their cultures and a desire to experience those mysterious “others.” The two sentiments, both legitimate, are not necessarily contradictory. In fact, they happen simultaneously or alternatively, based on time and place. Tourism allows us to see how built environments are often packaged and sold in an increasingly global economy of image consumption with all of the problems that result from such encounters.

In this era of globalization,........

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