Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism

By George Gmelch | Go to book overview

2 WORK AND
ENCOUNTERS IN
TOURISM

The workers’ narratives that comprise the bulk of this book relate to important issues in our understanding of tourism. This chapter strives to frame and provide context, beyond the mostly macrolevel issues dealt with in chapter 1, for the stories that follow.1


Tourism Work and Encounters with Guests

What makes the work of tourism distinctive from most jobs, and particularly interesting, is the frequent interaction its workers have with guests. Workers, who are mostly from modest educational and social backgrounds, intermingle with guests from distant lands and cultures who have widely different lifestyles and levels of income. What also makes the interaction unique, as Malcolm Crick (1989) notes, is that during the interaction one is at leisure while the other is at work. One has economic assets but little knowledge of the local culture, while the other has knowledge (cultural capital) but little money. One is usually white and the other usually black. One is from the First World and the other from the developing or Third World.

1. Sources that were particularly important in writing this chapter were
review articles by Erik Cohen (1984), Malcolm Crick (1989), and Amanda
Stronza (2001).

-28-

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Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to the Second Edition xi
  • 1- Island Tourism 2
  • 2- Work and Encounters in Tourism 28
  • 3- The Airport 43
  • 4- The Hotel 57
  • 5- The Beach 114
  • 6- The Attractions 139
  • 7- The Research and Promotion of Tourism 188
  • 8- Conclusion 211
  • Epilogue 228
  • Acknowledgments 244
  • Acknowledgments for the Second Edition 246
  • Bibliography 248
  • Index 254
  • George Gmelch 258
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