Coping with Tourists: European Reactions to Mass Tourism

Coping with Tourists: European Reactions to Mass Tourism

Coping with Tourists: European Reactions to Mass Tourism

Coping with Tourists: European Reactions to Mass Tourism

Synopsis

This collection demonstrates both varied and skillful ways in which individuals and communities react to and cope with the impact of decades of mass tourism on their lives and values, thus throwing new light onto questions of identity, boundary maintenance and cultural adjustment.

Excerpt

The idea for this book grew out of the experience of having watched tourism in Malta grow during the past thirty-five years. When my wife and I first moved to Malta in 1956, the only tourists were relatives visiting British Service personnel stationed there. By 1990 Malta had become a mass tourist destination, accommodating close to one million visitors annually. The Maltese Islands had developed from a poor, insular backwater to a thriving, modern tourist destination whose inhabitants were themselves increasingly becoming tourists. If in the 1960s tourists were welcomed with pride and native hospitality, by the beginning of the 1990s the welcome seemed less enthusiastic. Tourists were no longer placed on quite such a high pedestal. They had become a commodity on which Malta's economy depended. They were present throughout the year. Increasingly there were reports in the press of rudeness to tourists, of their indecent dress, of confrontations with local hunters, even of occasional fights between hosts and guests. Were the Maltese beginning to have second thoughts about hosting ever more tourists?

I began to wonder how other areas in Europe that had become mass tourist destinations were coping with their visitors. Unfortunately, the published accounts on tourism dealt mostly with the Third World. There was surprisingly little information on Europe. I decided to do something about it and organized a workshop on 'European reactions to the tourist gaze' at the meeting of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in Prague in the summer of 1992. Although Simone Abram and Annabel Black were unable to participate in the workshop, they later contributed excellent papers. This volume is the result.

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