Tourism and Development Discussion As usual, please write 300-word for each question and I will provide some other students’ answer to help you. And please

Tourism and Development Discussion As usual, please write 300-word for each question and I will provide some other students’ answer to help you. And please dont forget the references.

Question 1: Elizabeth Garland’s article takes a critical look at so-called volunteer tourism, discussing potentials and, especially, drawbacks. Article will be attached.

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Questions (Feel free to focus on 1 or 2.)

1. Have you participated in what is called volunteer tourism? Has the article challenged your views on this kind of tourism? How?

2. What do you think about Garland’s criticism and her recommendations of how to improve volunteer tourism? Which issues may challenge or hinder the implementation of her recommendations?

Ex 1.

I have not participated in volunteer tourism so my perspective may be different from others. I really enjoyed Garland’s article and especially her criticism of volunteer tourism in impoverished areas. Even when you try to argue for the benefits of this type of tourism: gaining altruism, giving back to a community, and atoning for your privilege, the focus is always on the volunteer and their life and it can deepen stereotypes that it is normal for some people to be incredibly poor and because of that they need help from the outside. The term White Saviour came to mind while I was reading this.

I think the volunteer tourism and gap year businesses desire to make profits would definitely challenge Garland’s suggestion of a more focused, intensive cultural understanding before volunteering. Her suggestions of learning and understanding qualifications before embarking on a volunteer venture would likely increase the cost of these programs quite a bit and this may end up deterring people from applying (which she has pointed out in reference to Tanzania may not be a bad thing).

I think there is so much potential for people to help but I fully agree with Garland that we should re-think the idea of un-skilled Westerners who are there for a short period as the best people to help. In the media we often hear of people being criticized for participating in volunteer tourism as “white saviours” to which they respond that since they’ve given their time and helped they can’t be criticized. They say they have at least done something, so they are better than the person who didn’t help. What do you guys think of this? Do you think that participating in volunteer tourism is better than/the same as giving money to charities that do similar work but are long term?

References Cited:

Garland, Elizabeth. 2012. “How Should Anthropologists Be Thinking about Volunteer Tourism?” Practicing Anthropology 34 (3): 5-9

Ex2.

Personally I have not participated in what Elizabeth Garland considers ‘volunteer tourism’, however I did have preconceptions of what these service projects entailed. This article therefore helped me to further understand the pros and cons of this type of tourism and to guide my misconceptions. I know people who have participated on these trips and seen pictures of the activities and labor they participated in. I saw them playing with children, doing all types of construction and simply just emerging themselves in that specific culture.

Elizabeth Garland’s article pointed out the pros and cons about volunteer tourism which I found really interesting because I think to the average person that doesn’t really understand what occurs during this type of tourism, they won’t consider how it can be a negative component to the host countries. Personally, before this article I had not considered these negative impacts. Typically, people from these developed countries will only see how they will benefit the country, rather than hurt it. For instance, Elizabeth Garland said that “Volunteer tourism, in this view, is a basically pain-free mechanism for redistributing global resources, one that betters the world, while simulta­neously fulfilling the desires of tourists and generating revenue for tour operators” (Garland 2012, 6). This represents the positive component of volunteer tourism, however on the other side of the spectrum, she constitutes the harm of targeting their insensitivity and benefitting at the expense of vulnerable children (Garland, 2012, 8).

This article has changed my view somewhat on this kind of tourism because it allows me to have a more encompassing view of the occurrences in and around this style of tourism. It made me think about factors that I would not consider otherwise. For instance, instead of my conception that these projects would benefit the guest and the host simultaneously, I would then consider how any developing country would see “volunteering” as something that affects governmental, political, social and economic issues. These issues may already exists in such communities but would be heightened with the presences of these volunteers. I feel as though Elizabeth Garland’s ideas are broad with the hopes of grouping all developing countries together, but do you think that all of these countries that accept and welcome volunteer tourism go through all of these issues, or is it specific to certain, more popular ones?

Garland, Elizabeth. 2012. “How Should Anthropologists Be Thinking about Volunteer Tourism?” Practicing Anthropology 34 (3): 5-9

Ex3.

(Question #1)

I have not participated in volunteer tourism, but I know a handful of people that have and I have heard nothing but great things about it. Prior to taking this course, I would have never thought to question their experiences simply because I was oblivious to the various negative aspects of this type of tourism. As the article states, volunteer tourism is split between people that are hopeful about the phenomenon, as well as those that are very critical of the industry.

Authors that are hopeful of the industry argue that it is represents a more meaningful and sustainable form of tourism, placing heavy emphasis on altruism and giving back to the community. Through this view, it is basically a “pain free mechanism for redistributing global resources, one that betters the world, while also fulfilling the desires of tourists.” (Garland 2012, 6) This is often the impression we have of volunteer tourism, and whenever we had presentations in high-school promoting these volunteer tourism trips, I personally thought the same.

On the other hand, skeptics argue that volunteer tourism programs “build upon and reinforce existing inequalities, preconceptions, and stereotypes.” (Garland 2012, 6) This article really opened my eyes to the anthropological aspects of volunteer tourism, and I was able to see things from a perspective that was not constantly glamorizing the industry. For example, the idea that this industry is premised on the idea that one person’s impoverishment being another person’s opportunity for adventure/personal growth seems very real when looking at the posts from the Volunteer in Africa website. The website speaks about how volunteering will add relevant experience to your resume, help you explore potential career ideas, and just about everything that will help benefit the volunteer – instead of addressing the true purpose of volunteer tourism (ex. ways you can benefit the country, environment, or people). The text further states that these volunteer programs are simply “improving their own marketability and socioeconomic power, potentially increasing the inequality between them and those they set out to aid.” (Garland 2012, 7) Another example is that many of these student volunteers do not bring adequate aid to their volunteer sites since “the vast majority of volunteers are effectively unskilled with respect to the tasks they end up performing.” (Garland 2012, 7) This is why we often see student volunteers’ uptake tasks such as basic construction (ex. painting, manual labor), but this risks them competing with local workers for these jobs, which results in local wages being driven down and taking work away from the poorest members of society. The final example is the mental effect volunteer tourism has on the children in these communities, due to the industry’s insensitivity to cultural norms. Resources lavished on these children can cause a negative effect as it “undermines the influence of elders as valued leaders in the community.” (Garland 2012, 7) These children also tend to approach caregivers/volunteers with the same level of sociability and affection/clinginess, which as the text states, will only further “contribute to the attachment difficulties of these already vulnerable children.” (Garland 2012, 7) Although these volunteers form great connections with these children, the fact that tourists eventually have to leave forces the children to experience yet another abandonment, which is detrimental to their “short and long term emotional and social development.” (Garland 2012, 7) For these reasons, this week’s article has certainly changed my views on the volunteer-tourism industry.

References Cited: Garland, Elizabeth. 2012. “How Should Anthropologists Be Thinking about Volunteer Tourism?” Practicing Anthropology 34 (3): 5-9

Question 2: Within the context of tourism, we encounter a paradox in regards to indigenous groups and other “exotic” or “traditional” groups in developing countries. On the one hand, tourists (and the tourism industry as well as governments) often consider these groups as “undeveloped,” “primitive,” and/or “remnants of the past.” They may argue that these groups need to develop or modernize. Alternatively, tourists may view them in a romanticized way as “living a simpler life” (unspoiled by Western/modern influences), as “being closer to nature,” or as “living in harmony with nature.” These two views are not mutually exclusive. Tourists may view “the exotic Other” as backward and undeveloped while simultaneously romanticizing them.

On the other hand, tourists frequently lament that these groups have “lost their tradition” or even “lost their culture,” that they are less authentic if they detect signs of “modernization” or “Westernization.” Such signs may include, for example, Western-style clothing, modern housing, technology such as TVs or cell phones, and changes in lifestyle associated with “modernity.”

Groups in developing countries that participate in cultural tourism in order to “develop”[1] or to improve their economic and social situation may be “trapped” between wanting to change while at the same time needing to remain “traditional,” “unchanged,” “primitive.” Stroma Cole summarizes this paradox in the following way: “To develop is to modernise: if a remote cultural destination modernises, it is no longer ‘primitive’ and loses its appeal” (Cole 2008, 22). She further argues:

On the one hand, tourism brings (or has the potential to bring) wealth and modernization while, on the other hand, for the product to remain attractive, the villages must remain ‘primitive, traditional and exotic’. These conflicts between modernising and remaining traditional I refer to as ‘conflicts of acculturation’ (Cole 2008, 211).

[1] Ideas about what “development” entails may vary between different actors (i.e., local people, governments, development agencies, tourists, etc.).

Questions

Can you provide examples that illustrate the above paradox, either from the class readings and/or your own travels? Do you think that this paradox can be resolved?

Reference Cited

Cole, Stoma. 2008. Tourism, Culture and Development: Hopes, Dreams and Realities in East Indonesia. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.

Ex1.

The Embera of Parara Puru are a good example of this paradox. As a group active in cultural tourism, the Embera rely on both their indigenous identity and tourists to make a living. They must juggle between conforming to the unchanging indigeneity that is expected of them and adapting to the wider national society. They must “fulfil two parallel identities simultaneously, that of an indigenous people and that of citizens of a modern nation-state” (Theodossopoulos 2010, 128). They are successful at handling the conflict, or at least are well-equipped with a clear understanding of who they are, what they want/need, and how to achieve it. Because of this, they are able to remain “authentic” while participating in a modern society. The Embera are also well prepared to answer the questions of tourists with questioning gazes. They readily admit that their engagement with tourism has overtaken traditional subsistence activities or that they buy their food instead of grow it and that their children go to school and learn Spanish (Theodossopoulos 2010, 127). But they can explain why they do so, as well as defend the indigenous identities that they manage in a contemporary society. However, if it fails to get through to the tourist with deep-seated beliefs about what authenticity means, then we see the unfortunate consequence of this paradox. As with the case of locals in Solomon Islands, attempts at benefitting from tourists are perceived as a corruption of previously nonmaterialistic lifestyles and as a result, they have been harmfully described as greedy and cunning (Hviding 2003, 548).

The paradox reminds me of another example that is different, but related. In Amazonian Brazil, indigenous groups with clear goals and interests have found ways to present themselves and their causes in ways that meet the expectations of outsiders who have different definitions of authenticity & tradition. In doing so, it has allowed them to achieve their goals and increase their visibility. However, it can also work against their interests. The Wari, who wear Western clothing, face disappointment from outsiders who believe they do not look “Native”, but the Wari themselves “suffer no confusion about their identity” (Conklin 1997, 716). Because they do not conform to stereotypes, they are not seen as indigenous enough. On the other hand, the Kayapo, who do capitalize on essentialized expectations, are seen as corrupt when they diverge from their public image – which does happen because they do juggle two identities. They have figured out how to use their two identities (as Theodossopoulos writes, “that of an indigenous people and that of citizens of a modern nation-state”) to make their struggles heard (Conklin 1997, 720). While this example is less about indigenous identity as a tourism tool and more about indigenous identity as a political tool, I think it reflects the same paradox in a sense that indigenous groups want to benefit from their own self-defined representations (which are shaped by modernization), but struggle against outsiders’ divergent expectations (which involve essentialized definitions).

I think resolving the paradox is ultimately dependant on the indigenous group struggling with these conflicts of acculturation. I see a successful adaptation to tourism (like the Embera) as an adequate way to work through the conflict. If a group can maintain a clear understanding of their own identity and cultural mores, I think it would be possible to avoid the feeling of being ‘trapped’.

Conklin, Beth A. 1997. “Body Paint, Feathers, and VCRs: Aesthetics and Authenticity in Amazonian Activism.” American Ethnologist 24 (4): 711-737. https://www.jstor.org/stable/646806.

Hviding, Edvard. 2003. “Contested rainforests and projects of desire in Solomon Islands.” International Social Science Journal 55 (4): 539-554. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0020-8701.2003.05504003.x.

Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios. 2010. “Tourists and Indigenous Culture as Resources: Lessons from Embera Cultural Tourism in Panama” In Tourism, Power and Culture, edited by Donald V.L. Macleod and James G. Carrier, 115-133. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Ex.2

Storma Coles’s paradox brings to the surface many questions and issues that are not easily resolvable. Her paradox summarizes that tourists attractions and cultures want to remain “primitive” and “undeveloped” while also aspiring to “modernize” and “develop” (Cole 2008, 22). This paradox can be viewed differently depending on whether you look at the perspective of the tourist or the host.

Looking at the tourist perspective a good example of this would be the Embera people of Parara Peru. The Embera culture strived to remain unchanged and provide something that was ‘true’ for the tourists. The tourists like how a culture could remain unchanged in the everchanging world that we live in. I think the tourists like this because their worlds are always evolving and changing and so they would like to visualize something that is not. However on the other hand, some tourists have a problem with how rehearsed the nature is (Theodossopoulos, 2010). From the touristic view, this paradox will be hard to resolve because it brings about the idea of the extent to which they can be mutually exclusive and be widely successful at portraying ideas and cultures.

Since I am from Jamaica, I have witnessed the local side of these cultures and seen how performances can strive for change but are hesitant as to cause an unrest with the tourists. I can see that the different groups and people want to evolve what they offer to the tourists but the question comes that even if they change the performance ever so slightly, is it still not considered to be primitive? From the locals at the host countries, they want to introduce new ideas to tourists as they would be portraying the same image for centuries, this could cause boredom and likely decrease the level of tourism. We have touched upon this topic a lot in these readings and posts and therefore with many different perspectives, it would be hard to resolve this paradox to benefit everyone. Do you think that in some countries, their tourism industry is not able to grow because there is limited development in their tourist attractions and cultures?

Cole, Stoma. 2008. Tourism, Culture and Development: Hopes, Dreams and Realities in East Indonesia. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.

Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios. 2010. “Tourists and Indigenous Culture as Resources: Lessons from Embera Cultural Tourism in Panama” In Tourism, Power and Culture, edited by Donald V.L. Macleod and James G. Carrier, 115-133. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Ex3.

Cole discusses “conflicts of acculturation” as issues Indigenous groups face between ‘modernizing’ their lifestyles yet remaining ‘traditional’ in their culture (2008, 211). These conflicts place Indigenous peoples in a difficult position, as these groups cannot embrace modern influences and developments to their full extent without being accused of losing their traditional, authentic culture. This paradox is not only problematic for indigenous groups that encounter the conflicts of acculturation, but also for tourists who solely visit these destinations in search of an “authentic”, cultural experience. When indigenous cultures attract tourism, it draws mass tourists and the monetary values associated; in turn, this helps to ‘modernize’ these indigenous groups, simultaneously leaving these destinations de-void of their original meaning.

An example of this paradox that I have encountered on my travels was when I visited the St. Jacobs farmers market in Waterloo, Ontario. St. Jacobs is a community with a strong Mennonite heritage, including a population of traditional Old Order Mennonites who have lived in this region for centuries –attracting tourism to this area, for those interested in experiencing this authentic, conservative culture. These religious Mennonites are highly devout people who conventionally live without modern technology, including television, automobiles, or cell phones. These individuals are well known in the St. Jacobs market for their delicious homemade pastries and baked goods, cured meats, and handmade soaps and garments.

However, what I found extremely paradoxical is that when the Mennonites who worked there arrived at the farmers market, via horse-drawn carriage and dressed in traditional religious garments, I noticed members using cell phones and cameras. St. Jacobs market is conventionally known to have many Old Order Mennonites selling their goods here; however, over time some groups who follow this religion have become more modern and accepted some technology like cell phones. This is a great example of ‘conflicts of acculturation’ as these Mennonites have become less conservative in certain aspects of their belief system regarding technology yet choose to maintain other channels of cultural practice.

In general, I don’t believe this paradox can be ‘resolved’ per se, but it could become better understood by tourists. If tourists educated themselves on the dynamic intricacies of indigenous groups living in the modern day, who are faced with maintaining historic religious customs while ‘modernizing’ aspects of their lives; then the dramatic contrast between modernization and tradition may be weakened, and therefore partially resolved.

Do you believe that modernization to traditional indigenous groups diminishes their cultural value and disrespects their ancestral histories? Or, do you think that this is a natural process as time unfolds?

Sources

Cole, Stoma. 2008. Tourism, Culture and Development: Hopes, Dreams and Realities in East Indonesia. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.

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