Tourism and Memories of Home

This month we’re publishing Tourism and Memories of Home edited by Sabine Marschall. In this post, Sabine explains the inspiration behind the book and discusses the phenomenon of tourism in search of memories of home.

Tourism and Memories of HomeA few years ago, I asked my father to record his childhood memories about World War II and the family’s expulsion and flight. As a child, I witnessed my grandparents’ nostalgia; granny would always start crying when she talked about the lost home. Their longing to see the old home one more time remained unfulfilled, but as a young student, I undertook that return visit on their behalf, carefully documenting every move. The journey became one of the most memorable of my life.

Perhaps it is due to aging that I have recently become more interested in family history and reflections on my own past, including my experiences of migration and travel, my memories and sense of home. When I began to explore these issues academically, employing self-reflexivity and auto-ethnography, I was surprised to find how strongly these experiences seemed to resonate with others. Individuals from different countries and various walks of life approached me at conferences and social gatherings to share their story. I began to see patterns and realized the wider significance of these return visits home.

Globally, many people have lost their home or homeland due to warfare, political conflict or disaster; memories of the traumatic loss and the desire to return remain an important part of their identity, often passed on to their children and shaping the historical consciousness of future generations. Those who moved voluntarily visit friends and family back home; their descendants travel in pursuit of family history and search for roots; diasporic communities tour real and imagined ancestral homelands in a quest for identity and a sense of belonging; others stage homecomings and recreate homeland culture in substitute locations. Ultimately, memories of home generate a lot of travel the world over, from short local trips to long international journeys combined with other activities. Most people do not think of such journeys as tourism and many emphatically reject that label. Yet the sustained flow of such travelers has prompted tourism authorities, tour operators and academic scholars to describe, investigate and analyze these mobility patterns as distinct and significant, classifying them as ‘diasporic roots tourism’, ‘ethnic homecoming’, ‘homesick tourism’ (Heimwehtourismus), Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) tourism, ‘personal heritage tourism’, ‘dark tourism’ and a host of related terms.

Foregrounding the role of memory, this book brings together contributors from different countries whose ethnographic case studies explore tourism in search of memories of home in a large spread of geographical and societal contexts past and present.

Tourism and the Power of OthernessTourism and SouvenirsFor more information about the book, please see our website. If you found this post interesting, you might also like Tourism and the Power of Otherness edited by David Picard and Michael A. Di Giovine and Tourism and Souvenirs edited by Jenny Cave, Lee Jolliffe and Tom Baum.

 

Heritage Tourism in China

This month we published Heritage Tourism in China by Hongliang Yan. In this post, the author discusses some of the heritage sites covered in his book and the stories behind them.

Heritage Tourism in ChinaAs one of the world’s earliest civilisations, history has left much heritage for China. It is not merely the representation of the country’s past but also an important resource which supports the development of China’s tourism industry today. Heritage Tourism in China looks at the relationships between heritage and tourism in contemporary China. It uses heritage to examine the social changes of China and how history and heritage were interpreted, planned and promoted for tourist consumption.

Because of the characteristics of Chinese governance, heritage tourism planning and management are largely decided by the public sector. In recent years, with the implementation of “Economic Reform and Open Door” policies, stakeholders from other sectors have increasingly been playing some more important roles in heritage tourism. This book examines the issues from the viewpoints of policymakers and other influential stakeholders at local, regional and national levels who had interests in heritage tourism.

To help the reader to understand the link between heritage and the key issues discussed in the book, four historically important heritage sites were discussed in detail on the issues around their management, planning, interpretation and promotion for tourism, which also provides the key link between the global context of tourism and notions of modernity, identity and sustainability.

Among these sites, the Confucius temple, mansion and family cemetery in Qufu (UNESCO World Heritage Site) were selected for examination as they have embodied the core values of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy: Confucianism. Their preservation, management and also the evolution of the Confucius cult ceremony well reflected the relations between tradition and modernity in contemporary China.

Another example, Mount Tai, China’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site was also examined in the book because of its outstanding combination of beautiful natural landscape and cultural impacts and being regarded as a sacred mountain in China. The preservation and development of the site provide a good example of the governance of protected areas and the challenges to sustainability.

The heritage sites discussed in this book are symbols of Chinese civilisations and beliefs. An important focus of the discussion in this book is on how they are affected by alterations in people’s values and beliefs in China over recent decades. The book develops and applies a broad framework to assess the relationships between the planning, development and representation of heritage sites for tourist consumption and the notions of modernity, identity and sustainable development in contemporary China.

For more information about this book, please see our website. You might also be interested in Tourism in China, Tourism Research in China and Industrial Heritage Tourism.

Industrial Heritage Tourism

This month we are publishing Industrial Heritage Tourism by Philip Feifan Xie which explores the complex relationship between industrial heritage and tourism. In this post, Philip tells us why industrial heritage is so important for tourists and how he came to write the book.

As industrial heritage is regarded by the public as a steadily diminishing resource, the milieu of industrial complexes and their potential reuse for leisure, tourism and entertainment have gained prominence worldwide. From Japan’s industrial revolution sites recently being in the running to become UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to the creative economy redeveloped from the abandoned factories, industrial heritage is increasingly becoming an important economic means for gentrification and tourism development.

Industrial Heritage TourismMy book, Industrial Heritage Tourism, is a timely addition to this burgeoning field. It initially coalesced in the early 2000s when I noticed a surge of interest in visiting industrial sites worldwide. Industrial landscape, which includes remains, ruins, waterfront warehouses and factories, once rejected by the public, has opened up new space for resourceful reinterpretation and provided an intriguing backdrop for the growth of creative economy. There is a growing development of a new “tourist gaze” directed at industrial heritage sites, and the potential for parlaying that gaze into a broader “nostalgia industry” has gained attention at all levels, from grassroots to governments. In this book, I argue that contemporary society has experienced a third Industrial Revolution that brings industrial romance into everyday life. The revival of interest in the traditions of artisanship has led to attention to the aesthetic qualities of industrial sites, and to a concern in repurposing them. Most importantly, industrial heritage has become a rallying point for social justice movements centering on the preservation of vernacular industrial cultures and in defense of local workforces who have suffered the effects of deindustrialization.

In addition, my book attempts to characterize the complex nature of industrial heritage sites’ transformations into tourist attractions. The goal is to offer a theoretical framework underpinned by contemporary issues and case studies with an emphasis on linking industrial heritage tourism theory to practice. By proposing a conceptual framework and assembling the most relevant case studies on four different continents, e.g., the US, Taiwan, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Portugal, I hope to stimulate meaningful dialogue on the impacts of tourism and to raise consciousness around the importance and value of functional or non-functional industrial sites. Overall, the subject of industrial heritage provokes an ongoing and inconclusive debate that continues to shape our attitudes toward the preserved sites and structures that comprise the diverse portfolio of social, cultural, and economic valuations.

Railway Heritage and TourismIf you would like more information about the book please see our website. You might also be interested in Railway Heritage and Tourism edited by Michael V. Conlin and Geoffrey R. Bird.

Tourism and Trails

In December we published Tourism and Trails by Dallen J. Timothy and Stephen W. Boyd. We asked them a few questions to find out more about the background to the book.

Tourism and TrailsWhat inspired you to write a book about tourism and trails?
Since our youth, we have had personal interests in trails. Dallen has fond memories of utilizing nature trails during primary school field trips and his family using them during Easter egg hunts. He also grew up enjoying trails in some of Utah’s most spectacular national parks. Since that time he has become especially interested in researching long-distance heritage trails, including religious-oriented pilgrimage paths and trade routes. Stephen has fond memories as a child of lots of walking on family holidays over the traditional beach holiday and so nowadays when he visits new destinations he is keen to explore the landscape using formal and informal trails of varying scales and importance.  From a scholastic point of view both of us realize the importance of trails and routes in connecting disparate parts of regions for economic development and developing broader tourism products, yet few people have systematically examined them from a holistic perspective. There are many studies about the recreational impacts of trails, but we saw a need to treat linear resources more comprehensively from tourism and recreation standpoints.

How did the two of you come to collaborate on this book?
We have known each other since graduate school in Canada, where we shared many personal and professional interests in nature-based and cultural heritage-based tourism. In 1999, based upon our own experiences and our emerging professional interests in the management of linear tourism resources, we co-wrote and presented a conference paper conceptualizing trails as management mechanisms. Since then we have maintained our common research interests in trails and spent much time visiting and researching, largely from a policy perspective, many trails and routes in the UK, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. We are planning to carry out much more empirical collaborative work on tourism trails in the near future.

What makes your book different from others that have been published before?
Well, honestly, there are no other scholarly books out there that deal with recreational and tourism trails, let alone one that delves into the management, conservation, supply and demand and experiential elements of linear resources. The book consolidates a disparate range of literatures and concepts into a volume that is accessible to researchers and students. It provides in-depth analysis of the current trends, issues and implications of routes and trails as crucial resources for tourism and recreation.

Which other academics in your field do you particularly admire and how have they influenced your own research?
There are far too many to mention individually, although Richard Butler comes to mind first. He was Stephen’s PhD supervisor and one of Dallen’s master’s mentors. His pioneering work in tourism studies influenced us in many ways during our formative years as emerging academics, and we will forever be grateful for his mentorship. Geoff Wall, Dallen’s PhD advisor, is another tourism pioneer who taught us much and who has led the field for decades; it was Geoff’s simple typology of classifying tourism attractions as points, lines and areas that started our thinking that there is a lack of attention by tourism scholars to study linear attraction with the one exception of linear coastal resort development.

As a tourism academic you must get to travel to some exotic locations. Where is the most unusual or interesting place you have travelled to for work?
Dallen’s preferred places are where most mass tourists don’t go. For him, in this regard the most interesting locales have been Greenland, Lebanon, Mongolia, remote parts of Myanmar, North Korea and Bhutan. Stephen has visited many locations often to present at conferences; some of the most interesting over the years have been Singapore, North Cyprus, Brisbane, Vancouver; others have been more remote like Umea, Sweden and Valapariso, Chile where he experienced a student riot when entering the city!

What are your next research projects?
We are planning a new book on heritage tourism and technology, and we will continue our research on pilgrimage trails in Ireland and other parts of Europe. We are also exploring an edited book on political tourism which is around concepts and issues as opposed to case studies. Stephen is looking to undertake research on the Wild Atlantic Way; one of the largest coastal touring routes that takes you on a journey around the south and west coast of Ireland, linking to some of the touring routes along Northern Ireland’s coastline.

For more information about the book please see our website.

The Semiotics of Heritage Tourism

In January this year we published Emma Waterton and Steve Watson’s book The Semiotics of Heritage Tourism. Here, the authors tell us a bit about how the book came about.

The Semiotics of Heritage TourismWe had both been teaching, researching and writing about heritage tourism for a long time and we had always focussed our energies on getting closer to how it should be understood as a social and cultural phenomenon. This was challenging sometimes because so much had been written about how it should be operationalized and managed, so there was plenty of research on marketing, visitor management and interpretation. But we were trying to take it to another level. We had already been inspired by the work of people like Dean MacCannell who had introduced so much fresh thinking and insight into the field, but now there seemed to be other ideas stirring that appeared to switch  the focus of research into areas that had not received so much attention in heritage tourism, looking at how it was experienced by whole, thinking, feeling people and not just in abstraction as ‘visitors’ or ‘tourists’.

So this was our challenge, to find new ways of thinking about the experience of heritage. Emerging theory in cultural geography got us talking about things like emotion and affect, and the embodied, sensual and emergent nature of encounters and engagement with places and objects that carried something of the past in them. Contemporary geographers such as David Crouch gave us the confidence to push out the boundaries and explore aspects of heritage tourism both in its representations and in moments of engagement that we had never really addressed before.

This is a book that attempts to reconcile, in our own field, the most important aspects of both representational and non-representational theory and to draw these together in the intimacy of those moments where we feel as much as we see, and absorb as much as we express, about the landscape of meaning – the semiotic landscape – that surrounds heritage sites and makes them places of significance for so many people and so many cultures.

We finished the book in Los Angeles, a place that seemed to evoke so much of what the book was about in terms of seeing and feeling, a place that had such rich meanings and cultural significance attached to it. So it was appropriate that we completed the first draft there, in sight of the Hollywood Sign, an icon if  ever there was one, and a place where dreams and hard reality seem to swirl around the streets in exactly the kind of landscape that the book sets out to reveal, in the Semiotics of Heritage Tourism.

For more information about the book please see our website.

An Interview with Lee Jolliffe

With her book Sugar Heritage and Tourism in Transition out this week we asked Lee Jolliffe a few questions about her research.

What inspired you to study sugar and tourism?
Working and living in Barbados, still somewhat a plantation society, provided some impetus to move on from tea and tourism, as well as coffee and tourism, to sugar and tourism as a research focus.

Which other researchers in your field do you particularly admire?
Greg Richards is a researcher whose work I like in terms of exploring cultural tourism and the creative side of tourism with cities in Europe – he always seems to be doing something new and interesting. I also admire Dallen Timothy’s research on heritage tourism for its breadth and exploration of under researched areas, such as shopping and tourism and cross-border tourism.

Did the controversial topics of slavery and colonialism make this book more difficult to research?
Yes, a few years ago I could never have imagined taking topics such as enslavement and post-colonialism as subjects for my research. However, a number of events and experiences while I was at the University of the West Indies in Barbados during 2010 – 2011 informed my views on the topic through first hand experience living in a post-colonial society. Through my time in the West Indies and reflecting upon this time and experience after that back in Canada, I think I was able to recognize the underbelly of what John Urry (1990) calls the tourism gaze. While the tourism gaze is superficial, the underbelly is the meanings and the stories, many of them dark and bittersweet (as described by Elizabeth Abbott in her book Sugar: A Bittersweet History) behind sugar heritage that is now to some extent being transformed for tourism. This has been echoed recently by reports from the African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) 2012 conference in Barbados where the silence of the stories of enslavement was recognized as an area that needs to be considered in terms of the heritage tourism product.

What’s your favourite place that you’ve travelled to for your research?
Of course every place I visited in the Caribbean reflects part of the story, including Barbados, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Martinique, Trinidad, Tobago and Curacao. Particularly memorable sites visited in terms of sugar heritage include both Saint Nicholas Abbey and Codrington College in Barbados, the Sugar Heritage Village and Museum project in Trinidad and the Kura Hulanda Museum in Curacao.

What is your next research project?
I am currently working on a book on spices and tourism, also to be published by Channel View. I am also contemplating looking into tourism and bananas, it may sound funny but it’s quite a serious topic, as much about tourism and trade as about cuisine or attractions.

And finally, what is your favourite sugary treat?
I would have to say that “afternoon tea” and all that goes with it is one of my favourite sugary treats, a habit acquired while I did my PhD in museum studies in the UK Midlands I was able to explore afternoon tea along the old Fosse Way (Roman Road) from Leicester to the Cotswolds. In addition I do also very much like cappuccino with sugar, this goes back to a year spent in Florence studying museum science, a tradition that we are reinventing at home now that we have just acquired an espresso maker.

Sugar Heritage and Tourism in Transition belongs to our Tourism and Cultural Change series. Lee’s other titles Tea and Tourism and Coffee Culture, Destinations and Tourism are also available from our website.

Lee Jolliffe titles