Next month we are publishing Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism edited by Anthony David Barker. Anthony took a bit of time to tell us how the book came together.
The idea for the collection of essays comes out of the engagement of a group of scholars at the University of Aveiro in Portugal (and its various network of partners) with the changing face of modern travel and tourism. These changes have become of particular importance over the last decade when Portugal has struggled to stay above water economically. One minister recently described tourism as the precious jewel of the Portuguese economy. This level of commercial dependence got us all thinking about the ways in which imagination and enterprise could hope to capitalize on already fast-changing patterns of international mobility. The topic also expanded to include identity questions associated with migration and labour mobility. Just how people’s movements around the globe affect their sense of belonging (or otherwise) and in this way processes of identification with the places they visit are also brought into focus.
The first section of the volume deals with particular interactions of peoples, notably German settlers in Majorca, and new ways of experiencing the foreign which are being picked up on by entrepreneurs and marketed accordingly to niche groups. This includes various forms of ‘extreme’, dark and film-related tourism, as well as more ‘zen’ attempts to slow down the holiday experience and to cherish the ‘getting there’ (with its concern for stations, airports, trains and buses, as well as everything that can be experienced on foot) over the ‘being there’ of monuments, hotels, pools and beaches.
The second section looks at imaginative and literary treatments of holiday and travel experiences, exploring the extent to which the self opens and develops in contact with unfamiliar worlds. Both fiction and travel reportage are drawn upon for this investigation of the fluidity of personal identity.
The third section concerns itself with the case of Portugal. Specialised cultural, wine and food-related tourism are the focus of different chapters, and there is also a piece on spatial perceptions in the organization of holiday experience.
The collection of essays, Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism is therefore a fresh take by 15 scholars on the issue of exactly what and how experience is exchanged and how change is experienced by both host and visitor cultures.