The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Tourist place and identity

Traditionally, people have travelled away from their place of residence and work in order to participate in tourism. More recently however place for tourism has become increasingly de-differentiated from the normal, day-to-day social place and the need for a change of environment has diminished. Tourism does not start nor end with the physical departure and return to the home environment. Anticipation and daydreaming in the planning process and remembering and reminiscing after the holiday are equally part of the tourism experience.

According to John Urry (2002) people will gain less satisfaction from continuing to do what they (or particularly their family) have always done. Their daily life will become less to do with collective memories and experiences and they will look more for immediate pleasure. The tourist is a kind of pilgrim, seeking authenticity in other ´times´ and other ´places´ away from everyday life. Being a tourist is a period of (self)explorations and differences. ´Post-tourists´
however know that there is no authentic tourist experience, that there are merely a series of games, texts, images that can be played. Ironically they almost delight in the inauthenticity of the tourist experience.

If one does not need to leave the place of residence to become a tourist, then new experiences, immediate pleasures – explorations of being a tourist cannot be described as a quality of place and time, but rather a quality in the minds of people. Or is it the relationship between person and place that forms that experience and pleasure?

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