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Tourism in Barbados  George Gmelch and his wife Sharon Bohn –Reveals the encounters between hosts and guests as workers and tourists are known in both.

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Presentation on theme: "Tourism in Barbados  George Gmelch and his wife Sharon Bohn –Reveals the encounters between hosts and guests as workers and tourists are known in both."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tourism in Barbados  George Gmelch and his wife Sharon Bohn –Reveals the encounters between hosts and guests as workers and tourists are known in both the travel industry and the academy –In general, the tourism dealt with by Gmelch and others involves travelers from the most developed parts of the world who are traveling and vacationing in economically less developed regions. –The article you read focus on Barbados, but this anthropology husband wife team did research throughout the islands

2 Caribbean…  In the area Gmelch studied the “hosts” are often mix ethnicity residents of the islands, and the “guests” are mainly American, British, and Canadian.  Why? Hint: leisure  Gmelch noted a major flaw in tourism research was: the lack of native’s voice in the discussions

3 Island Tourism  The Romans used the Isle of Capri as a holiday destination in what may be the earliest example of island tourism.  In relation to modern tourism, there was not much interest in the beach as a place of recreation.  Sand is hard to walk on, it gets in your clothes, food, drinks, it blows in the wind, it gets in your eyes, etc.

4 Island Tourism  The bulk of island tourism during the 19 th and 20 th centuries was “health” based.  It was believed that “ozone” and salt water bathing would cure an ailing body.  Bathing as opposed to swimming.  As swim suits as we know them today where not yet invented, most swimmers swam in the nude.  When on holiday for a sickness, most tourists “immersed” themselves in the salt water rather than swim  President George Washington brought his sick brother to Barbados.


6 The rise of Beach-going  By the 1920s, the idea of “going to the beach” had emerged.  Tanning became desirable, associated with spontaneity and sensuality in many of the same ways we do today  The sun was now thought of as a cure all  Beaches of fine sand were preferred  As this idea trickled down through the classes, holidays at the seaside became more and more popular

7 Jet Travel  The rise of airline travel changed tourism more than any other factor  It reduced travel to the Caribbean from 3 weeks to 8 hours (from most vacationing countries)  Travel agencies soon took over tourism, developing package tours and promoting winter vacations to Europeans and American/Canadians


9 The Caribbean Fantasy  As tour agents developed tourism in the Caribbean, a new image emerged  Hosts in the Caribbean speak English  The islands are pure and beautiful  Coral reefs, bright blue water, tropical fish, green golf courses, etc  The Caribbean people as a fun loving, carefree, and NICE  Barbados described as “a little bit of paradise,” and “Heaven on Earth”  What is hidden? The history of the Caribbean as a place of genocide, brutality, slavery, the plantation system and underdevelopment.

10 Modern Island Tourism  By the 1950s most governments had adopted a pro- tourism industry stance  Coupled with the World Bank, the United Nations, and most importantly, the World Tourism Organization, tourism flourished  Some organizations called tourism a sustainable and localized resource.  Some also noted tourism could have almost limitless growth potential because it relied on natural renewable resources.  What is wrong with this assumption? –Think about Ice, air conditioning, pool upkeep, laundry…

11 Changing Modes of Production  Some advocates argued that developing a large scale tourism industry could help third world countries leap from a resource based (extractive) economy to a service based (extortive) economy.  Not only would tourism raise the standard of living (again, no mention of quality of life) but also act as a way to bond hosts and guests together.  Even the Church condoned touring, arguing it worked similar to missions, in that tourism can bridge the gaps between cultures.  Even in the academy, most critics arguing for the negative social impacts were drown out by calls for tourism development projects.  Economists writing on the subject during this period often “read like a series of press releases” (Crick 1989).

12 Comparisons  Tourism in Germany represents only 0.17% of the economy, in the UK 1.5%, in Spain 5.2%.  Tourism on islands such as Bermuda represents nearly 50% of the nation’s GNP.  The bulk of Caribbean peoples now work in the tourist industry.

13 Discussion  How does television spread culture?  What are the ecological impacts of tourism?  Discuss the host guest relationship…positives or negatives?  Discuss immigration, positives and negatives…  Take 10 minutes to discuss these questions in small groups…

14 Pro-poor approaches in tourism. Benefiting the local indigenous and impoverished populations…an anthropologist’s suggestions

15  The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO/OMT/WTO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations and the leading international organization in the field of tourism.  It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how.  And a great place to gather data on tourism…

16 Differing Views  ‘Services in general and tourism in particular, are increasingly viewed as the best opportunity and the most viable option for the sustainable economic and social development of the least developed countries.’  Pros and Cons of this argument?  ‘Tourism bureaucrats and policy makers do all they can to conceal massive amounts of money that stay back in the countries of tourist’s origins... host countries must count themselves lucky if they get even 30% of the end transactions.’  Why is this the case?  ‘Policy-makers… can and should focus on country- specific interventions that may make growth more poverty reducing’  Lets find out how this can be done…

17 Tourism and a ‘development stream’ of research Initial research –Mass tourism starts in mid-19th century. –International mass tourism in mid-20th century. –Academic focus initially on developed societies –MacCannell 1976 : tourism as a reaction to Western alienation & search for the authentic The ‘development stream’ –In late 1970s a ‘development stream’ of tourism research emerged, focusing more closely on tourist destination societies. –Academics, primarily anthropologists and geographers, began taking an interest in tourism’s role in poverty reduction. –Having seen and read some about tourism in developing countries, you can see how this could be taken up by anthropologists…

18 Positive development benefits in some conditions Smith (ed. 1978)  Economic benefits depend on:  – The type of tourism; and  – The expectation of tourists and host’s ability to meet them.  ‘The effects of tourism can be assessed along a continuum from a highly positive relationship that benefits all, to a highly disruptive, negative interaction fraught with conflict’  Can we brainstorm an example of both? de Kadt (ed. 1979)  Tourism can: – Create jobs; – Bring backward linkages with agriculture and other sectors; – Provide opportunities, especially for young and women; – Encourage entrepreneurial activities; and – Improve quality of life for the poor through funding basic facilities, training & education.  Growth alone may not suffice to overcome poverty within a reasonable time and the distribution of the material benefits to the poor requires special attention.  Why is this important? Hint: our earlier discussion of wealth flows

19 Emergence of the great divide between academics and agencies  Academics –Focus on empirical case studies of destinations; or –Theorizing tourism as ‘modernization’ or ‘underdevelopment,’ then as a feature of ‘globalization’ and ‘integrated sustainable development.  Funding agencies: Lost interest in funding tourism projects because of ‘negative socio-cultural impacts.’  No demand for policy-relevant research. In general:  Widespread rejection by many academics of large-scale tourism in favor of small-scale ‘community-based tourism’ and ‘ecotourism.’  Long & misguided discussions over multipliers (tourism using local resources) and leakages (wealth flowing out of the host country).

20 Good Tourism?

21 More Discussion  Pro-poor tourism (PPT) = tourism that generates net benefits for the poor  Putting poverty at the heart of the tourism agenda.  Target: tourism planners and development practitioners.

22 Application of PPT  Many organizations and policies have embraced PPT. –We now know several key ingredients for pro-poor destinations (eco tourism, etho tourism, cultural tourism).  Emerging work with businesses  Work at destination level, in different contexts – beach, safari, backpacker destinations...and lessons learned  How businesses can create linkages. The business cases for corporate action.  Working at destination level: joint action to boost market access of the poor.

23 Negatives since 1999  As usual, more policies than action  Business as usual in many ‘development plans’ In PPT, excessive focus at micro level not the mainstream. Inappropriate business models put forth by PPT advocates not commercial, not market-oriented Lack of rigorous data!!!! Lack of ethnographic and other qualitative research funded by tourism agencies…

24  Tourism ministries – address national goals  Sustainable tourism – more than a bullet point NGOs and communities – the only local NGOs and communities – the only local option on offer  Conservationists – create incentives  Private sector - a business case for some Consumers  An upward trends in awareness?  Development professionals as advocates?

25 Development agendas shifting towards tourism Development agendas and tourism must work together for this kind of sustainable program to succeed – Search concerning growth and particularly pro- poor growth – now labeled “shared growth” – Market access for the poor! This means a living or at least competitive wage – Where high poverty coexists with tourism, search for motors of development – Where tourism is linked with lower poverty, e.g. Tanzania, MORE recognition of its role.



28 Priority question today  How to harness tourism for reducing poverty at a significant scale ? Challenges  Get tourism and development thinking together again.  Bring PPT approaches into mainstream tourism.  Get the evidence: what impact does tourism have on poverty?  Ethnographic Questions…  What types of tourism bring what benefit?  What interventions work?  What other questions might we ask?

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