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Tourism Society and Culture: Study the Relationship Between Tourism and Culture

Autor:   •  December 13, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,831 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,765 Views

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Since the creation of paid holiday and disposable income, tourism and travel has become increasingly popular, and with the development of various forms of communication and globalization, the world now appears to be at the tip of our fingers. We lose the notion of boundaries as we get virtually closer to places on the other side of the globe and with the birth of low-cost transport, leading to strong marketing strategies so as to lower transportation prices, there seems to be no better time to travel than now! Although, all of this leads to different cultural consequences, some good, some bad for the communities hosting tourists and this at all levels.

We will study three different aspects interrelated to tourism and culture to have a clearer vision of this necessary relationship. We will start with the issue of identity, followed by culture commoditization and finally interpretation through media.

1. Identity:

“Identity is the test to which all human beings living in society are constantly subjected” (Lanfant) and is constantly changing with each individual gaining more knowledge, character, etc., but identity also includes a person’s roots, their personal and their community’s history and culture. The latter is also one of the reasons many tourists choose to travel to a specific community, so as to discover a culture different to their own, to understand why one community has a different lifestyle than another. However, in most cases, host communities look up to the tourist, having an idealistic point of view of the visitor. Communities may also lose their sense of identity due to external societal factors, such as in the case of the town of Succotz in Belize. In a country, colonised by the Spanish, and where the mayaness culture was long considered as inferior, the descendants have little by little “forgotten” their roots. “Succotzenos, invoke three key dimensions that define Mayaness: ancestry, language and ritual or cosmological knowledge [...] as a determinant of ethnic identity.” (L. K. Medina, 2003). However, the populations of the region have long been subjected to a “hierarchy of identities imposed by colonialism” where European identities were seen as a symbol of modernity and progress, therefore causing them to claim themselves as Mestizo, in other words, a mix of Mayaness and Spanish, and putting a distance between themselves and the Mayaness identity. As a consequence, in a census realised in 2000, only 9.8% of the population self-identified as Maya. Traditions, including growth of basic crops, has shifted over the last decades to become production of sugar aimed for export; we can clearly see a correlation between loss of identity and attempt to include oneself in the global market. Although this is not the only reason for abandoning the Mayaness identity, the issue in itself is a lot more complex than it appears to be. Succotzenos, have much uncertainty


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