Overseas holiday and travel, the former past-time of the very wealthy has experienced a great overhaul. Everyone can now travel. Destinations such as Goa, Kerala, Nairobi have been opened up to everyone and anyone that is willing to explore and travel. I use the word ‘explore’ cautiously. Some people still ask for a 2-week beach holiday break, although why one needs to go on a ten hour flight to stay in a beach resort fails me, but to each his own. Yes, you might want the warm climate, but you can get that in Italy, Greece, South of France, if your country of departure is the UK. Anyway I digress.
I tend to favour a mix – adventuring and exploring (I’m no adventurer mind you, I call walking through old ruins and learning facts about architecture adventuring). Hey, it’s a free world! I think every holiday should include a form of relaxation, and a way to learn about the indigenous culture, and I mean authentic culture as opposed to a Westernised Arab Culture, as I got in Dubai.
As one doing a Phd in tourism, I am very happy that more and more people are aware of the need for tourism and appreciate learning about new cultures and places. Again, I say so reluctantly, as some people see tourism as a box-ticking, dinner time “I’ve been to these countries and did so-and-so whilst I was there, oh you didn’t, shame, you must go again” conversations.
Destinations usually have to provide the form of entertainment and ‘culture’ that they assume their visitors want. Visitors are usually uninformed about what the ‘local culture’ is. And the cycle continues, visitors continually dissatisfied and the authentic local culture continually being eroded, as this way of life becomes more and more commercialised.
All in all, tourism is a force for good. It leads to a better understanding and appreciation of differences, it educates and informs, we get to relax, we get to see more of this wonderfully beautiful world, and the best thing is, we all get to have a go, whether you can afford a 5-star luxury trip or a backpacking trip only, we all get to go to Goa.