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FRAN: Hello, it’s Francesca Turauskis, and whilst On The Outside is taking a rest, I’m excited to share an episode from another podcast that I think you’ll like.
THIIIRD Waves is one of the outputs of THIIIRD magazine, a platform that amplifies marginalised voices through print, events, and on the airwaves with their podcast. The show explores the intersections of culture and activism, and brings their listeners interviews and discussions with guests who have knowledge and lived experiences on the topic they talk about.
The type of things they’ve covered in the past have included toxic masculinity, cancel culture, cultural appropriation and more. But the episode I’m sharing with you today is about ethical tourism. This is a topic that I think is very relevant to listeners of On The Outside, but because we’re focused on the UK, we wouldn’t necessarily cover something like this. And as the world starts opening up again, many of us are planning holidays and travelling further afield for the first time in a while, so I thought this was a great time to share this.
This episode was first released in July 2020, and Hosts Daniela, Rhona and Tryb explore things like how communities are affected by tourism and what a more conscious approach to travelling might look like. Then Daniella speaks to Tom Selwyn who is professorial research associate at the department of anthropology and sociology at the London Middle East Institute. He is widely published in the field of anthropology of tourism and pilgrimage” - which for those of you who know my origin story is of great interest to me - he also founded the MA in The Anthropolgy of Tourism, Travel and Pilgrimage at SOAS in 2010.
Without further ado, I hope you enjoy and find value in this episode!
ROHNA: Hello and welcome to Third Waves. Third is an intersectional publication celebrating culture, heritage and diversity. And on third waves we will do the same. I am Rohna stylists, great director and founder of Third. I'm Daniela. I'm a writer, musician and producer at Third and I'm tribe DJ radio host and music editor at Third. Okay, so, um, should we kick off by just discussing maybe the idea of tourism itself for me, something that's very interesting to think about is like, Why do people travel? And I feel like one of the reasons why people do it is to kind of go outside of your own comfort zone, be challenged by new reports, hopefully come back with a broadened scope of your understanding of the world, right? Yeah. Um, but what's also interesting here is that you always leave your footprint in one way or the other. So it's not like, um, it's something that you can just do and think you haven't touched on other people's lives, etcetera. What do you guys think about tourism as a kind of a general concept? Yeah, I feel like there's many positives to go travelling and being a tourist, as you mentioned travelling allows you to see more of the world and and get yourself out of your bubble. So you know that there's more out there because it's very simple. It's very easy to be, I guess, so, grounded in the idea of your home and what let's say London is to us that you forget that there's different ways of doing things. There's different ways of being, um so travelling allows you to experience that even if it's just briefly, even if it's just surface, it's just an opportunity to get yourself out there and and connect with different cultures and people. What do you think? I mean, I'm a busy body. So one of the best ways I get to take a break is when I travel somewhere else just because I have no commitments, you just lose your sense of like having to be places. Yeah, exactly. So for me, relaxation and disconnection almost to a certain extent, allowing yourself to be around something which is quite unknown, is a pro to travelling. It's quite interesting that you kind of touched on the different aspects of why people travel or people's different interactions. You know, it might be like just switching off and being someone being immersed in that Or it might be like going with explicit intent of finding something new. Um, I'd love to just maybe get into a bit of like, personal stories about, like, your travel experiences within. I mean, we've all been very lucky to travel around the world, actually. Do you know what? I have been Very fortunate. I've been travel. I've travelled quite a few places such as, like I did like a coast to coast of South America. Um, and I also worked on a cruise ship for a while for piano Australia. So I did definitely get to see quite a few places in the South Pacific and Australia and Southeast Asia. One of the things that kind of stood out to me, it's a bit my stuff when you think about it, is, um, we would land on these islands in the South Pacific and we'll be there with our cameras Or, you know, with all the kind of eagerness of like, Oh, you know, this is a new place and these are small, remote islands that have their own distinct communities. Um, and I guess, have a couple of like boats or ships that would land, um, every couple of weeks so they would just casually be the kids there would be casually learning outside. They'll have, like, outside classrooms, and we would just walk past their like their lessons, taking pictures like, especially because they looked very distinctive with their they. Some of them had blonde hair. As you've seen the pictures and stuff like that, and people will be there with their camera just intruding on these personal moments of, you know, learning in a, uh, educational space. Another moment that stood out was when, um, one of the islands we landed on had a, I guess, a a reputation for a colonial reputation for being an island where the people used to cannibalise people or invaders of their island. So part of what they've created as a tourist, the aspect of, um, of their island is that people could could go over to a fake pot or cauldron and stand there while the one of the Islanders would pretend to be cutting off your throat and cook you and you would see people tourists taking pictures of their like husband or their Children while this was happening. Um, as if it's a kind of touristy experience that you can all participate in, which was, I felt it was, quite, um, it didn't fit well with my spirit, as people say, so I didn't you know, there was a lot of moments where I found myself stepping away from being a tourist, and I decided I don't want to participate in this. I think what's really fascinating about those two sort of moments is that one is like where the local community are engaging in what they do on a day to day basis of these kids are going to school, which happened to be on on a beach, and you guys happen to walk past and decide. Oh, don't they look interesting? Let me take a picture of them with total disregard of what was happening in that moment and what the interaction might do, like on a basic level. Distract these kids from their lesson. Right? Um, and then the other example is where the local, uh, people have seen that there's a commercial benefits who staging something that is off an ancient custom or whatever and then benefit of that. And actually, both of these examples are very uncomfortable for different reasons. It's true because, I guess, like you mentioned on one side, some people might be taking agency over their, um, their tourism and how they are perceived and how they want to capitalise on it whilst the other it's, I guess, to a certain extent they've agreed to have cruise ships land on the island. Um, but these Children do not have necessarily agency to have their lessons intruded upon like that. Yeah, that's a good point. It's like people making decisions. Look, exactly. And you've also been to South America, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, South America was cool. I really enjoyed. So I went to Brazil. Argentina? Um, I travelled quite a bit around Brazil and in Peru. Um, and I One of the things that I picked up on as I was travelling was that there's two ways I felt and, you know, anyone can weigh in on this. There's two ways to travel. Um, you could travel by being an active tourists by staying in the holiday resorts, um, and doing the organised trips that you're, let's say, your hotel or your hostile or whatever organised for you and then interacting mainly with other tourists. Whilst, on the other hand, you've got people who I guess make the effort to kind of integrate in the community. So those are the people that try and pick up the language. Those people are the people that are maybe living or staying with the people in the community. And, um, maybe trying to learn a bit more about the culture, both both are valid in the sense of because, like we were saying, there's different ways to travel. But it's very obvious when you are travelling that sometimes you come out of it and you've only interacted with, let's say, other Europeans because that's who you've been, I guess going on these trips with and sharing hotel spaces with whilst. On the other hand, there's, uh, people who actually have gained something from actually been in the community. Um, no way is wrong. It's just a difference. And how about you? Is there a travel that you particularly remember about? I would say I kind of discovered, like my like passion for travelling. Maybe when I went to Vietnam. Um, so I was out there for, like, six weeks, which for me is quite a long period of time, period of time to be somewhere on holiday. Um, and one of the things I did notice about being in Vietnam and the way I was holidaying there compared to some other people I was with was sometimes in Vietnam. Obviously, because of the Vietnam War, there has become like this whole commercialisation of so, like, the caves where the Viet Cong used to use to hides and battle from the US and etcetera, um, they have become quite commercialised spaces and spaces that people would like to visit. You can go and you can spend money on, like getting a ticket and viewing those, um, and for me, like that was just not not something that I personally felt like move to do. I didn't personally feel moved to go in, like, see these spaces because I felt quite uncomfortable in these spaces, to be very honest with you. Um, and it didn't quite make sense to me why I go to a place of war with, like, a tiny bit of, like, historical context and understanding of it. I don't I didn't quite understand what I'd be doing there. So though I understood that, you know, obviously the Vietnamese the war in Vietnam is, like, massively important historical event that happened in the country. I just felt uncomfortable with the idea of, like, basically going through the caves myself and pretending I was like a Viet Cong person. It just wasn't really something I wanted to do. Um, well, I suppose, um, the thing I wanted to say was that I can totally understand why that felt really uncomfortable. And I feel like I would feel the same. Um, and yeah, I'm also thinking, you know, if you if you visit a place like Vietnam and don't acknowledge, um, the Vietnam War in and kind of engage with that on some level, that would be also kind of weird. Um, it's just it's just totally like what? You're what you're saying. The kind of presentation that you've encountered there just feels, Yeah, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, that's that's just not Yeah, I think I think the difference for me, like I remember one of the first things I did do when I went to Vietnam is I went to They have, like, they had quite a new museum that was built. And in the museum, you can learn a lot about the Vietnamese war. So it wasn't like I was just like saying like, I'm not interested in this aspect of the history. It was just more like I didn't understand, like, why going to certain certain places and like going through the caves? I don't know. For me personally, that felt like a bit a bit weird and I didn't really get a strong explanation from anyone else who was going, um, that persuaded me to go or made It made me feel like more comfortable with going so and that was just something I chose to opt out to opt out of. I think it's quite interesting because, um through tourism, I guess there's a level of reflection of how a country wants their culture and their history to be seen and observed by their tourists. Also just using Vietnam as another example. Another instance has come to my mind, which I actually did participate on this one. I can't remember exactly where it was. I think it was in like someone's palace, but basically they had a body that was embalmed like of an emperor. Um, and like you kind of went on a tour and it finished at, like, this emperors like body. Um, and I think I went because I was like, Oh, my gosh, like, you know, the architecture of those buildings. It's just amazing. Do you know what I mean? In the history is definitely something I'd like to like like know and understand, especially we're going to be an agriculture know and understand. Um, but then I do remember waiting a very long time to see this body. And then when I was in the Q and I'd finally seem like, you know, I mean past the embalmed body. I remember thinking like damn, like that body has been like that for, like, two. Like, what was it like? A few 100 at least? Yeah, and I kind of felt sorry for it. I kind of felt like give it a rest. Rest. It was kind of a bit like we're all just walking past, you know, It reminds me of the This is a bit of a side point, but in the museum, what's it called? The Royal Institute of Physicians in London. Okay. Old surgeries and stuff that there is the skeleton of the tallest man or something. And next to the skeleton, there's a little plaque card, which is basically the will of this guy, because throughout his life, he was basically toured and showcases the tallest man. I don't know if his industrial tallest man ever but very tall man, Um and in his will, he basically said, When I die, please do not let my body be display for people to see you. And yet Oh, man, that's what happened to the skeleton. So, yeah, it's a bit of a side point, but I guess that kind of ties in a bit. To the the voyeuristic aspect of just wanting to see things and then the disregard of the agency, as you were saying before tribe, of what people in the situation, even if it was in the past what they might have wanted. Yeah, China in it kind of reminds me with, um and tied into what I was saying before, as well about the favelas. I know that they have some in Argentina and they have it in Brazil. Um, and I'm sure, And Cape Town, they have some stuff as well in South Africa, and it's become a marker of the culture, if you know, I mean, if you think about Brazilian culture, how Barney Frank has arisen from there and how it's supposed to be very, I guess, vibrant places. But these are places that have arisen out of a lot of segregation. A lot of poverty. Um, some of it, you know, from the government's, I guess, policies that they've had over centuries, but yet it's become such a kind of touristic hotspot, if you know what I mean. So when I was there there you can sign up for tours or you can sign up for Bali funk parties in the favelas. So you will be going to these places where people live and experiencing. They've even opened up post hotels there. If you know, I mean, it's quite interesting. But again, like I said, before it comes down to the agency, how much agency do people have over their homes or their their environment being turned into touristic spaces, especially if it's risen out of a lot of, I guess, positives and also negative experiences. Yeah, I guess the word that keeps coming to my mind is opportunism. And then this is a word that we talk about all the time. You know, whether it's on the third magazine or in our event or wherever, like it's it's, um you know, as you were saying, the owner of this tour that you went on, it was obviously a really there was there was an opportunity there to learn something about history, and that's why you wanted to go and and yet it was seized up as an opportunism moment by some people. And maybe that one was a good example. And there's bad examples. But for me, like I feel like that word is a really important kind of context around all of this discussion. Yeah, and another interesting aspect of tourism is like I said, the way that we are perceived, um, it gives us the opportunity to look at the way we look at ourselves as a country. So one of the things that I found quite interesting talking to Canadians and people from the U. S. Is that when they go to the U. K, they don't just go to the UK, they go to the whole of Europe, and U K is one of the stops in their trip. Like it's, um to them, we are part of the European experience. As much as we possibly especially with Brexit, don't see ourselves as much as, uh, you know, especially with the guess we were in an island. But to them, we are kind of part of that, and our histories so much welded into that as well. So it's interesting the way that we are perceived in the way that we perceive ourselves. Um, there's a bit of a sometimes a difference. Yeah, true. Okay, So, um, we want always want to kind of have some, uh, context around our discussions and oftentimes, starting with definitions or facts and figures. So we've kind of collated some information and definitions around, uh, topics around tourism tribe. Would you mind starting us off with just the definition of what tourism is? Sure thing. I'm sure you've heard most of these, like phrase has been thrown around, but not actually know how to kind of pin it down or how it fits into what we're all talking about. I'm going to start with tourism. The definition of tourism is the commercial organisation and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest. Um, so I went on, uh, the U N. Website. Not often that I do that, um, but yeah. So I went into the United Nations World Tourism Organisation website. There's a quote here, which is today. The business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses, that of oil experts, food products and automobiles. That's crazy. It's a big, big old industry. Um, and the other thing that was interesting on the website was that I came across this infographic where they kind of, uh, listed out the kind of different reasons why tourism matters. And so I'm just going to read a couple of these out, But basically, to me, a lot of these, um, points are like double rest or so. For example, one of them is cultural cultural preservation. Uh, one is environmental protection. One is jobs that makes sense. One in 10 jobs in the world is related to tourism. Economic growth. That again kind of ties in. That makes sense. Uh, apparently, the figure here from 2018 is that $1.6 trillion in exports are related to tourism. Um, and it makes up 10% of the world's the world's GDP, Um, and 7% of the world's exports. Uh, yeah, the things that really stood out to me. Probably the point about cultural preservation and environmental protection, because I can see how tourism can through encouraging people to engage with history and engage with animals to make you aware of these issues. And and people start, I guess donating money to charity or whatever, like different ways of kind of putting a positive on that. We know that tourism for sure, damages these things directly. Um, so, yeah, they kind of feel like ws. Or should we talk about adventure tourism? Yeah. So adventure tourism is a type of tourism involving travel to remote or exotic locations in order to take part in physical challenge and outdoor activities. So you find that with people who like to go surfing and like, go to remote places in Peru in places like that to get good waves or you get you find that with, like, rock climbing and, um, Westerners like bungee jumping extreme kind of activities. Uh, that you wouldn't necessarily get in. Let's say the U. K yeah. Um, this year has been especially bad year for people who go to Mount Everest. 11 climbers died in 16 days. Um, and, uh, first of all, I want to just recommend a really amazing book by John Krakauer called Into Thinner is very well written and gives a very kind of comprehensive overview of what some of these issues around climbing Mount Everest are. But there are many things that contribute to these deaths. Um, and one of them is overcrowding on people trying to reach the peak. I think there was a figure of something like 800 climbers were trying to to get to the peak and back within this kind of weather window that was just completely impossible. So people were getting stuck getting overexposed in that kind of altitude. Um, and also, like, there are many climbers who go there because they can afford to pay for it more of that kind. But yet they might not be experienced enough or in the physical condition to actually take on that type of challenge. But then the tourists, like the company who organised the tour, um, feel like they paid all this money. So I should help them get there. And then this is weird pressure going on where, like people don't feel they can back out, and that can be just actually deadly. Um, and the other thing for me that oftentimes, is forgotten in all these stories is that, um, of like something like 200 body count in the history of people climbing Mount Everest. A huge number of that are the Sherpas, people from the local community who take on this very dangerous job because there's very good money and find it hard to back out of it. And yet would they be putting themselves in that position if it wasn't because there was a kind of really lucrative job opportunity that I don't think so. Um, this kind of ties into the whole thing about tourism being an opportunity for a lot of people who let's say, sometimes there's not much opportunities in their country, but at the same time, to what risk? You know, I think also kind of neatly like leads into the idea of environmental issues. Yeah, that can be, you know, okay, sort of intensified by tourism. Obviously, waste and plastic is, uh, international issue. But Venice at the moment are particularly struggling. The sort of sanitation workers in Venice have quite strict instructions regarding, um, dispensing of the waste. They can't really keep up with how much has been deposited into the bins. We have this very small players which is being flooded with lots of lots of tourists, basically. But on top of that, there is this sort of double standard that is existing in Venice at the moment where sort of they're very strict guidelines and fines being administered to locals when it comes to how much waste they produce and how they're getting rid of their stuff. But these same fines do not apply to the tourists. You know, there were loads of protests about this, and some hotels, like the Nova Centre Hotel and the Hotel Flora have taken action and are trying to, like, reduce the amount of waste by stopping using plastic bottles and that sort of stuff that's quite powerful, isn't it? Because what you're talking about there is a grassroots action against something that isn't right. They they're having all kinds of issues, right? So another problem is, I guess you could call it a gentrification situation. Where, um Mm. Majority of the houses I've heard of flats on Manus Island itself are not owned by locals. Um, and that's the real problem as well, isn't it? Yeah. Currently, at the moment, like some host for Airbnb in the city have, like, 135 listings. So 135 home listings, you know, which are reaping cash out, which is great for some, um, but also in terms of like actual rentals since 2000 and 15. That's tripled from 2441 2 now 8320 Airbnb, which is a massive increase. The only good thing is that in well this month, actually, uh, fair BMB has now launched, which is a non for profit home sharing site that now allows, um, well, now only permits residents, um, to be hosts, and it limits you to one home and also takes, like a 15% cut, which is then put back into the community or put into social projects back into Venice. So that's really cool. That's a good step forward. Have you been before? Yeah, and one of my best friends lives in Venice. She lives on the island, and one of the first things that she said to me was like, You know, people who live on the island. There's like very few of us who are asking locals like a very small percentage is majority tourists. And there's a huge gentrification problem, and we feel like we are like the last stand just trying to fight against that. And the rent is extremely expensive on the island, and so You can definitely feel that tourism is a massive engine. I mean, we don't really have time to get into it right now, but talking of engines, there's the whole cruise ship problem, Uh, in Venice, but yeah. Yeah, that's that's something to look into.
Speaker 3: Hi, Tom. Hi. Thank you so much for talking to us about tourism today. So, Tom, you've You've worked a very long time, and there's a complex field of anthropology and tourism. Is there anything that you are specifically focused on at the moment? Um, yeah, well, I'm actually writing a chapter about why people travel. Um, that's, uh, they're going to be published fairly soon. So that's what I'm working on at the moment. Uh, I'm just a long chapter about Brexit, but there is There are all sorts of relations between Brexit and travel, but I The only thing that I'm working at the moment is this question about why people travel and I did it. I dedicate it to Alan Kurdi. Who? It was a three year old boy who died on his way from Syria to the west because he was bombed out of Syria. And I think that the field of tourism and pilgrimage, by the way. So it's tourism, pilgrimage and the cultural industries must include people who are forced to travel rather than those who just choose to travel. So I think that we need to talk about refugees as well. And you can see this in all sorts of ways. I published a book on tourism not published several but one in one of them. There is a very instinct chapter about a hotel, um, in Greece, but in the summer is for tourists and in the winter is for refugees. So they do, indeed, cross and the Mediterranean region is possibly the region in the world where they cross most Obviously, what I found interesting is that your work covers, um, different types of travel and tourism being one of them, because I think that we were discussing about tourism. Is that people from a tourist perspective, people's desire to go places are complicated. So, um, there are different motivations and different things that people seek out when they go places, and so when you use the word tourism or travels, um, it actually covers a whole range of behaviours. It's interesting that your work is so much better than that as well. Yes, I think I like to make travel is it's important to include travel. So we're talking about travel, tourism and pilgrimage. And if you go back into historical accounts of travel particularly, for example, to my favourite mediaeval traveller, even Batuta who was Moroccan, very famous Moroccan traveller, he he went for about 25 years or so all around the Muslim world and beyond. And he originally went because he wanted to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But in fact he was very keen on looking at cities and buildings and listening to intellectuals and to debating all sorts of things along the way. So it was a very rich experience that he had in those long years of travel, and he hasn't spent because he had to earn a bit of money to keep going. He spent quite a long time as a judge in Delhi, and his travels kind of open up the whole field in quite a good way. Basically, what he said, and what other people have said more recently is that travel and tourism are about a combination of education and experience. Here is one of those famous Arab travellers. There were several of them. Um, but here is the most famous, and he's written about by, uh, Tim Mackintosh Smith, who has written several books about him. And he is an archetypal traveller from whom we can learn a great deal about the nature of travel and tourism and programme. Which can we go to this, um, this Israel Palestine, um, area. A lot of your work is focused on that. I'm not really, um, expert, and that's in that area. But but one thing that I wanted to ask you about, this idea that, uh what what? Israel is a lot of Jewish people around the world where they were sort of considered a kind of homeland. I've always been fascinated by the idea that Jewish people from from other places who live in other places go to Israel to visit and see it as a kind of returning home in a way. And yet, of course, that's not their place of actual residents. And they're kind of influx into the area with certain feelings of entitlement. You can have a huge impact on the local community. Yeah, Okay. Well, I suppose the first thing to say is, um, not specifically about Israel, Palestine, and come to that in a second. But the first thing to say is that many people in the world and possibly most people in our world have a conception of more than one home. I mean, if you think about the huge number of migrants, it's not just the 71 million refugees, but many more than that to move around the world for jobs because they want to because of what sorts of reasons. That doesn't mean to say that they give up the idea of their previous home or their previous homes in plural. And most of us have an idea of the place that maybe we were born and we have feelings towards that feelings towards the place we live in at the moment and feelings towards the place we might go in the future or something like that. So the idea of people having an idea of one home is not in my view of particularly realistic. I think that people have ideas of more than one and you think of all the communities that we have in this country. Britain from the from the Africa Caribbean region from South Asia or whatever it is. I mean, the evidence every day is that people who come from these areas certainly have a conception of the historical area which their families connected to. They have a feeling for that. But they had a very strong feeling for the place where they live in at the moment, notably Britain. So here's an example of people with ideas of more than one home, so it shouldn't surprise us. I think that people can can have these, uh, these ideas coming to Israel and Palestine. Um, it is certainly true that many Jewish people in the world, um, regard Israel as a homeland or some kind of homeland. Some some Jewish people make Aliyah to Israel and go and live there. And in a sense, I feel they are living out there their life in what they regard to stay homeland. Other people, other Jewish people visit Israel and feel that they've visited a place which is, in a sense, they're biblical homeland and so on. Um and, uh, some people, there are some Jewish people who who say, Well, it's not our home is in London or new York or wherever and Israelis, Israel and so on. But we don't want to necessarily think of Israel is our home now as far as my kind of work on tourism is concerned. While it says that I think that it's fine to feel that your home is there in Israel, I mean this that's fine. That is not fine is if you then extend it and you make the populations who were there before. Um, if you occupy them, if you make life very difficult for them, if there is a great so there is a huge inequality between contemporary Israelis and Palestinians and that is unacceptable and it doesn't follow from the idea that Israel is homeland for the Jewish people, you can have a homeland and you can you can you can be there. But that does not imply that you have to occupy and oppress somebody else who also regarded regards it as their home. And I think that the scholars presently working on tourism in the area, we would say that it would be a very good thing if these kind of issues were explained to tourists and pilgrims as they come and that really the task of the tourism industry in that area is to try and speak something about the truth of the history of the area, the truth of the society and culture of Palestinians as well as Israelis, and work towards a situation where there is complete freedom of movement between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Um, and started a lot of tourist guides, particularly Israeli tourist guides who are talking to pilgrims and tourists to come there as if the region was more or less the same as the conception of what the biblical region was. Uh oh, this is obviously completely unrealistic. It ignores the local people. Um, and it's not really a true sensible historically, I mean, obviously, we've moved on. We're in the 21st century and so on. So all of these complicated issues need to be talked about with honesty and truthfulness rather than giving uh, tourists from the West or the global North some kind of idea that this is in fact, a biblical region. In fact, it's a region for all three religions, uh, indeed, more than it's not just Jewish questions and Muslims who live there. But also there's a strong Hindu community also, and an African community and so on economic, cultural, multi religious area. And it should be talked about two pilgrims and tourists, uh, in those kinds of terms, Um, would you be able to speak to the idea of privilege in a more general sense? For me, I feel like, uh, tourism a green, inherent, inherently privileged pursuits. And with that, there are lots of tensions and issues that come with it. You could say that tourists in general are privileged or or tend to be privileged, But then if you think about it, that's not necessarily true. I mean, lots of people will go on holiday who don't have a great deal of money. Um, but then they take a reasonable, you know, package tour or charter tourist offer. Go to go to a tourist result in the Balearic Islands, for example, go to Majorca, Dr Megan, aloof. I don't think one can necessarily call them privileged. Uh, the other thing is that provided it the local tourism organisation in the results that they go to whether these results are in Majorca or Greece or Cyprus or whatever. If the local organisers of the local government of the area concerned are really careful about yes, looking after the tourists, but yes, also possibly primarily looking after the local people by ensuring that taxes are used in sensible ways that buildings are not obstructive to local people, that local services are shared. Um, and perhaps local people have privileges over access to those local services, and then the tourists are not so necessarily privileged. I think there are all sorts of cases in the world where they are privileged and particularly possibly in the global south, and that's very unfortunate. And if that results in the same kind of inequalities and so on that we were talking about earlier in relation to Israel and Palestine, if we move back into Israel, Palestine, it seems to me that in many ways tourists and pilgrims pilgrims keep it to the Middle East are privileged in the sense that certainly Jewish tourists are privileged in the sense that they are regarded as being, um, people, often with kinship links to the area and who don't have any kind of much responsibility, Shall we say towards Palestinian residents? Um, their concern is more or less exclusively when the Israeli population not the Palestinian population, and I think that is unfortunately. It's also very unfortunate that that evangelical Christians, for example, tend to come to the region and tend to tell the organisations looking after joins him in the region. To actually tell, too, is God what they want to hear. What they want to hear is some version of history. Which privilege privilege is the biblical period more than anything else, celebrate things like King David and all that kind of thing and completely ignores the existence of a large part of the population region, which is the Palestinian community, or the Muslim community or whatever. And in that sense, those very unfair sense of privilege, uh, with those two particular types of tourists for others, too, but so in a natural. What I'm saying is that it doesn't necessarily have to be the case that all tourists are privileged over the regions into which they go, but it does sometimes happen. They're going to be a couple of examples, I suppose. What's interesting is coming up here is a real danger of tourism of any kind, really in regards to any region or whether it has had to do with the area of turbulence. Um, is that it's very, very easy for a hegemonic, um, story to take over. It's quite dangerous, in that sense. Yes, I think I think you're right. Actually, uh, then the mine has written a book about Roger Union, which is in Ireland, which is part of France. Um, and the point that he makes is that this is a very beautiful island with mountains and lots of trees and plants, and so on. Um and the whole of the efforts of the government is to make it as a garden, like as possible. And the reason for that is that people from the metropolitan areas of France look at the island and go to the island. It was some kind of garden that they control, if you like. And it's It's an example of, uh, I don't know, the rational, developed rich world looking at the less developed poor world, which is full of all sorts of natural things. And then, you know, sitting in hotels and so on, and that is ignored completely. Are the working conditions of those people working on the coral reefs and sea or on in the trees or the parts of the country. And so any sort of critical understanding of the social and political and economic structure of the island is ignoring what is presented. Above all, is this beautiful go up and like place that is basically for our enjoyment? Yeah, I agree. I I visited his room in Ireland a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. But even while I was there, it's very present. The sense that you are in a very manicured space. I mean, when you go hiking in in Mahad, you feel like you are somehow in the Alps, just just by the kind of the way that it managed. Yeah, and it's hard to shake the weirdness of that. Absolutely. And I think that I think you're a phrase manicure place is a very good one, and it does apply to the Alps as well. It does apply to the Himalayas. It applies to all sorts of places where people from the west or the Global North go and more or less do what they want. And the economies are subservient to their needs of time in the Ice mountain or going to the most beautiful landscape imaginable that the actual conditions under which that takes place and not really the subject of, uh, of their journeys. Um, so it is a sort of way in which the global north imposes an agenda on the global South. I think you're right. What would what would be, Um, an advice that you might give around how to travel more ethically. First of all, I wouldn't necessarily say that people are always travelling unethically. I think that probably people would like to people have a broad range of views about ethical travelling. But I suppose the one piece of advice is that actually look at what is happening around you. I don't necessarily think that what you read in the guidebook is the correct kind of information. You look at the actual people and society around you, and you think about how your journeys are going to affect them well rather than badly. And I think some of the things that we've talked about in terms of manicure places or helps or Israel, Palestine, whatever are examples of areas that where tourism and pilgrimage, uh, actually are not particularly ethically based, and I think that it's very important that they should be. And it seems to me that if you actually begin to know to try and find out the real knowledge about the places that you're visiting that will stand you in good stead. And I can give you one example which is actually in Jerusalem. Um, there is just just next to the walls of Jerusalem. There is a area village called San Juan. Um, this is predominantly a Palestinian village where people have lived for a long time, which is now subject to daily Um uh, visitations, um, and exclusions by settlers and where the whole place is being actually transformed into something called the City of David. And I think that that is unethical in the sense that the people living in this village, this neighbourhood, are being subject to very unethical, political precious. This is something that we should be very careful to avoid. Mm. Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Thank you so much for talking with us. If people want to find out more about your work and follow well about the places that will be the School of Oriental and African Studies website. So as website and we are running a summer school, actually, this summer on tourism and pilgrimage and the cultural industries. And there's all sorts of information there about the kind of stuff that we do as a team. So people are very welcome to get in touch with any of us. Yeah,
Speaker 1: so now it might be interesting to talk about the perceptions of countries and the sort of stories that we tell about them and how that influences tourism. An example of this is like a country like Egypt. Egypt is somewhere we tend to go to to visit the pyramids. Another example could be the Caribbean. We go to the Caribbean for beaches and sunshine and maybe a bit of rum. What happens to the tourism in these countries when things like natural disasters or politics affect the perceptions and the myths that are told around these cultures? One interesting example would be to look at Egypt. As you mentioned, Egypt has a strong narrative of being a place of great historical significance with the pyramids and artefacts that has a strong connection in France and the UK and the Middle East. But as soon as I guess the Arab spring happened, um, there was a great, I guess plummet in in terms of their tourism because obviously no one wants to go to a place where there's an uprising and civil unrest. But an interesting thing about Egypt is the fact that Egypt is known for its pyramids. But it's funny because the pyramids can be observed around the world. And whilst Egypt probably has the most well preserved pyramids, there's apparently more pyramids in Sudan. Um, yeah, there's pyramids in Mexico and there's a few scattered around the Middle East itself as well. And it's interesting how, um I guess because of the historical narrative and connection that we have to Egypt, that, let's say, Sudan or Mexico doesn't necessarily have the same narrative and uh, can exploit those aspects of its tourism as as well as Egypt can or was able to before the Arab spring. Um, but it is interesting to look at how things that happen in the country politically, Or as we said, civil unrest can affect the way that the your tourist industry can suddenly disappear or plummet. But it also it's you can look at like the Cuba as another example in a sense of like I don't know if we're going to be referenced in Netflix and podcasts and books throughout this episode. But there's a great, um, Netflix series called Cuba and the Cameraman. Um, I definitely recommend you guys checking out, and he goes to explore Cuba over a period. I think I think it's about 30 years or something like that during, I guess, the rise of Fidel Castro towards this pretty much to the his death. Um, and seeing the way, how his I guess political shaping of the country affected the people, the local people. So when Fidel Castro first came to prominence, a lot of people were frustrated that Cuba became like a kind of, uh, I beef to the back place of like people from Florida in the U. S. So this is like the 19 fifties. If you want to have a good time, you go to Cuba, you smoke a cigar, you go see flappers and dances and stuff like that. And a lot of people were annoyed by that, and they were scared that their culture would be eroded from this type of tourism, even though it was bringing in loads of money. Um, so with the rise of Fidel Castro. He pretty much kind of flip that on its head and said, No, they're going to encourage, like, different aspects of our of our country. We want to have everyone educated, etcetera, etcetera. Not to say Fidel Castro was perfect. There's definitely aspects to his leadership that is questionable. But what was interesting was towards the last kind of episode of this whole series. You see how after the floor the floor of the USSR and Cuba had suffered greatly by the fact that they didn't have a country that they were dependent on no more. Um, they turned back to tourism. So a lot of these people who are highly educated and skilled under Fidel Castro now was out on the streets selling trinkets and, um, doing what, not to make a living because, like, they no longer had that kind of source of, uh, I'm standing in society, and it no longer meant anything. Um, so it was quite sad to see him kind of walk through. And then, you know, these people are saying, Yeah, I used to be an engineer. Yeah, I used to be a doctor, but what's quite interesting with Cuba is throughout all this upheaval up and down, Um, it's it's become a place where people like to go to C 19 fifties. People say that it's been frozen in time and because of the fact that it's kept a lot of its cars and the buildings are quite the same from its colonial and, you know, post colonial era. And so it looks very different from what we would be exposed to, let's say, in the U. K. Or in the US, because of the fact that is frozen in time. So part of its selling point as a tourist is to go and see a relic of an island, which is quite weird. How that's become It's, um I guess selling point of Cultural Association for Tourists now, and this is a quite a recent one. You know, what I found was quite ironic about that was the fact that obviously, one of the reasons why those buildings were kind of kept the same was it's quite clear in the documentary that there just wasn't any money to renovate. So when you're going around people's houses, people are like, Look, I jump over this ditch to get the other side of my house because like I can't repair the ceiling, you know what I mean? But like it's almost become like Fetishised because of it's sort of like 19 fifties film. And it's sort of like vintage look, and that's really in at the moment. But actually, it's come from the fact that after, like the US left, you know, poverty. Really? Have you guys been to Cuba? No. I really want to go. I really want to go Because somebody was recommending me to go to Cuba and what they said to me with literally, um, the country is developing now. So if you want to see Cuba the way you imagine, that just totally highlights this two sided patient, right? Um, and this very uncomfortable situation where it's like like you're saying federalisation of like, yeah, wanting to I mean, obviously some people want to just get close to the history, and that's fine. But yeah, it's it's kind of very inherent in that uncomfortable thing of, like exploiting a situation that that I mean, people suffer for right. Yeah, but a very important aspect that we want to bring in is the topic of going to resorts. Yeah, so as I mentioned earlier, um, there's like there's different ways to travel, um, and tying into what has also been mentioned in terms of the experience of the locals, when resorts and hotels are set up compared to those who are travelling to these places. So what has been found in places like Jamaica in some places in Africa as well, where certain beaches are cornered off for hotels? Um, for these tourists to come and experience Jamaica or these places which locals can't go to, Um And so it's again tied into the whole segregation of the community and the tourists who go to visit the country, and especially if the communities are big aspects of that country. And yet you are only experience in them through those who maybe are serving you while you're lying down under, Uh, you know what I mean? It's it definitely is. Quite. It's quite a different way to experience a country, and to do with this kind of resort thing is the fact that local communities end up losing access to what is once they're space of residents or even like the way of income like the fact that you know beaches are calling off the clients of the resort means that people can't go to the beach anymore and that that was your your home. I guess that comes down to the land and the privileged to be able to buy as a hotel. And I guess the people that own the hotel to buy off sections of land and be like this is now going to be for this, and no one else can take part or be and having a connection to that part of the beach. It's sad. Yeah, I would say that. I think what makes that sort of like resort style of tourism quite you know, not the best or the most ethical style of tourism is just the fact there's a complete divide in terms of who is benefiting from the tourism like the local people. If you're in a resort, you're literally like, you know, you're you're you know you're excluding yourself or you're excluding the local community community doesn't have the chance to economically or culturally benefit from you being there. But I'm sure like if you're using Jamaica as a example, if you think about why people also go to Jamaica. The people are still as part of the package, you know? I mean the food they create, the energy they have, the music they create. That's all part of the package for Jamaica. So it's it's quite sad to feel like that they kind of get excluded. Um, and I think in other countries, like, say, Brazil When the Olympics went over there, there was like, this massive feeling of Oh, yeah, this is great because, you know, we've always looked at Brazil for, like, sports and stuff like that, and it could be a massive opportunity for the country to sort of maximise off of that and it to bring in revenue, because that's definitely something in the country and a wide portion of the community need is money. But actually, what we actually saw happening there is that the government completely went, went into the favelas and took people out of their homes, you know, I mean, destroyed favelas. It was hugely damaging for the people who actually live in these places who have regular struggles anyway, you know what I mean? And now they have this extra added burden because, yeah, again, it's the whole fertilisation, maybe the whole myth of what Brazil is supposed to be like. And like trying to clean up the favelas and etcetera, etcetera. Um, so the community is completely not benefiting at all from this form of tourism, and I feel like that's familiar is the worst or the least ethical way to travel, but then also took The idea of sanitising or cleaning up the image of your country through destroying the community itself is very alarming. Yeah, I was just gonna say that it's so interesting that you bring up the Olympics into this discussion because I think you actually have to take a moment to think about the Olympics being an opportunity for tourism. But of course it is like when you think about the Olympics, you're like, Oh, there's some kind of like international relations bridging of cultures and all kind of stuff about sports rights, all about sports, except so many people travel to that place in in the in the year of the Olympics, aid to like see the sports stars and and and competitions, but also like for you to be, uh, an opportunity to see the country. Um, so it's very closely links. Um, but yeah, I mean, preparing for the Olympics is a whole other thing. That's exactly it. Yeah, And the question is whether it's the benefit of holding the Olympics and having those tourists come with all the good pros and cons of that tourism brings, Um, but yet having put in so much to prepare for it, whether it outweighs itself, whether the money you get in is worth everything. Especially because I remember briefly seeing a statistic that said that the popularity in terms of tourism, of Olympics, it doesn't hold up to the way it used to back in the day. So that's another question to hold whether it's valuable to have the Olympics anymore. Mhm. Okay, So, um, like I said before this, this, uh, episode has been quite an emotional roller coaster, and it would be nice to try to end on a positive note. I guess. Some reflections around, like the positives and also some Yeah, more conscious ways that we can think about travelling because obviously, like we said before, travelling is a great way of like expanding, uh, worldview. Etcetera, etcetera. Um, so yeah. Brenna, take us away um I think using the example of Cuba, you can see how, if tourism is executed in the right way, it can be used as a way to rebuild an economy, to provide jobs, well, paying jobs for the people in the communities. Um, who lived there. And just from a personal standpoint, I would also say it can be quite humbling to go to another country and to see how things work, because it can be very different to your everyday life. I guess for me, like some of the things that I've been thinking about is one thing is that I have these crazy drumming friends who are amazing or like, very sporty. I mean, they're, like, real adventurous, and you're very, very, very fit and actually like 80% of them. They are never going to fly again. They are going to make that their contribution to reducing their carbon footprint on this planet. So wherever they go and do their travels and adventures, they go there by train or they cycle there or yeah, and I found that pretty inspiring. It makes sense in the sense of there's there are positives to travelling. But then there's there's positive ways to travel as well. Um, and that's definitely one thing to explore. Maybe a little bit harder in the UK as well. And Ireland, we've got the the Eurostar, but and coaches, which is has its perks and downsides. Um, but another thing that I found quite interesting was the fact that a lot of these grassroots communities that are trying to make their voices heard and say, Hey, we don't want this type of tour tourism or this tourism is affecting our day to day lives in the community. So I think that's definitely, um, if we pay more attention to people who are living in these places and saying No, we don't want it. And recognising that their voices should be heard, it's definitely a way to move forward.
Speaker 2: Mhm. Thanks so much
Speaker 1: for tuning into third waves. And, yeah, we'd like to just say a huge thank you to everyone who gave us advice. Um, and their thoughts on this topic, including Professor Debbie Lobel and Tom Sylvan, thank you for tuning into third ways and stay tuned online at Third magazine on Instagram. That's third with free eyes. I'm Raina. I'm tribe. I'm Daniela. Yeah.
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