Responsible Tourism around the World

Responsible Tourism around the World

Pergamon Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 241-243, 1995 Copyright © 1994 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in the USA. All rights reserved ...

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Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 241-243, 1995 Copyright © 1994 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in the USA. All rights reserved 0160-7383/95 $9.50 + .00

FILMS IN REVIEW This Department publishes reviews of recent visual media, such as film, video, still photography, and m u s e u m exhibits. Individuals interested in suggesting materials for review or in submitting reviews themselves should inquire directly to the Associate Editor for Films in Review, Deirdre Evans-Pritchard (2045 Pinehurst Road, Los Angeles CA 90068, USA). Unsolicited submissions are not accepted.

Responsible Tourism Around the World Produced by Peter C. Bullis, Educational Communications (PO Box 351419, Los Angeles CA 90035, USA) 1992, 29 minutes, 1/2 video, $30. PAL format on request.

Martin Mowforth U n i v e r s i t y of P l y m o u t h , U K M e l v y n C . Goldstein Case Western Reserve University, USA This video on tourism, shot in 1990 in Hawaii as part of the Econews Best Cable Series, was made during the Sixth Annual Consultation on Tourism, Cultural Diversity and Adversity held by the North America Coordinating Center for Responsible Tourism. It sets out to discuss the problems caused by the tourism industry by means of interviewing participants in the Consultation. J a m e s Stark, of Earth Travel Network, questions the need for all the existing international travel, and asks if one is creating "giant theme parks for the affluent of the planet very much like Disney World." Paul Gonsalves, of Equitable Tourism Options, and J o n Matsuoka, of the University of Hawaii, both illustrate the economic and physical exclusion of local populations from areas and activities by the selectivity and security associated with tourism for the wealthy. George Kent, of the University of Hawaii, Darell Weist, of the Center for Responsible Tourism, and Pare Vessels, a Baptist Minister, point to the creation of prostitution and the sex industry through the promotion of tourism. Pare Vessels, also known as the Waikiki Condom Lady, stresses the dehumanizing effect of the sex tourism industry. Cecil Rajendra, a Malaysian lawyer and poet, presents tourism as a doubleedged sword, earning income but, at the same time, fossilizing communities and cultures with stereotypical customs and practices redesigned specifically for the tourists. Paul Gonsalves insists that, in m a n y instances, the basic human needs of local populations are ignored while luxuries for the five star hotels are provided. Employment that is created by tourism is nearly always menial, and a "tourist ghetto culture" is often created. This litany of ill-effects is rounded off by J a m e s Stark describing tourism as a major global environmental concern. 241



For the last few minutes of the video, attention is switched from descriptions of the problems to the possibilities of taking avoiding action available to the tourist. The following snippets of advice are offered for potential tourists: take your trash out with you; choose hotels whose building has had only low impact on the environment; read about the destination area before you go; go with the spirit of humility--as a guest; travel in your own country; buy from local shops and restaurants; buy non-imported goods; avoid fast food chains; and use local guides. Only once (in the mention of carrying capacity), however, are government and the industry itself put forward as capable of providing solutions. The responsibilities of the operators and others involved in tourism management are acknowledged only as part of the problem, with little appreciation of their potential for taking positive and responsible actions. A final analysis from James Stark invites tourists to ask themselves why they are traveling and links tourism with the notion of sustainable development. He suggests that the developed countries manipulate development in order that the wealthy of the world can enjoy themselves, and that this situation has to change if the planet is to be used sustainably; and if it is not changed, future generations will not have the options that are currently available. The video finishes on the rather depressing and portentous note sounded by Cecil Rajendra's poem, "When the Tourists flew in." As a sketch of the present-day problems caused by the tourism industry and its clients, the video adequately outlines the main fields of interest. Those drawing the sketch are unquestionably authoritative leaders in their field. But the content loses some of its urgency in its presentation as simply one long series of interviews. No empirical evidence is presented; no case studies are examined; and no illustrations are given, except by word of mouth and save for some rather irrelevant film clips of the teeming life of Indian cities and a shot of one Hawaiian golf course. As a result of this lack of illustration, the film's analysis is rather superficial on specific problems and issues. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the video provides a useful stimulus for academic or training courses on tourism management. It would also serve as a useful outline of the difficulties involved in defining and attaining sustainability in development. It should provoke thought and debate among students or industry personnel; however, again, the absence of concrete examples will need to be filled with other material provided by the instructor. It provides useful teaching content, but would be best used in conjunction with other illustrative material. [] [] Martin Mowforth: Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UnitedKingdom. E-mail: "[email protected] ac. uk" Assigned 18 November 1993 Submitted 31 January 1994 Accepted 14 February 1994