Essays and case studies by anthropologists provide insight into what measures might be necessary to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of tourism on host communities.
Anthropologists and other social scientists have only recently undertaken systematic studies of modern tourism. The need for such research is apparent given the fact that the travel and tourism industry has become one of the largest industries in the world. Major cities, entire countries, and even some of the most seemingly remote places on the globe, have become increasingly dependent on attracting tourists to their locales. The transformations that are occurring as a result of tourism are not solely economic--tourism can bring about profound cultural changes, can have important consequences for a region's ethnic and historic identity, and can produce significant social and political transformations to host communities. Few human activities have such great potential as does tourism for exposing on a personal level the considerable inequalities that do exist between people, particularly between people of different countries and different color.
Tourism and Culture provides detailed case studies that explore the complexity of modern tourism relationships. The book challenges the often assumed primacy of the relationships between "hosts" and their "guests," arguing that virtually all forms of tourism are mediated by parties who stand outside of such immediate relationships. Individual contributions to the book describe tourism developments in specific locales, offering a variety of perspectives on both positive and negative human consequences of the industry. Another unique feature of the book is its focus on applied anthropology, with many of the contributors describing their direct involvement in the critical assessment or development of tourism activities in different parts of the world.
Erve Chambers is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maryland. His previous books include Applied Anthropology: A Practical Guide and (coedited with Setha M. Low) Housing, Culture, and Design: A Comparative Perspective.
"This book is an interesting and exciting collection that promises to significantly advance the tourism research field. Chambers has provided us with a collection of essays that focus on social adaptation and response to tourism. Thoughtful, critical essays on the meaning of the tourism experience from the native's point of view are rare and Chambers has, through his selection of pieces, suggested the incredible complexity of the tourism experience. " -- Barbara Rose Johnston, Center for Political Ecology, Santa Cruz