Cultural tourism : the balancing act
Tourism is a dynamic international industry that attracts customers from all walks of life to locations all around the globe. It is also an industry that has the potential to provide a large source of revenue for many groups of stakeholders, including governments and for-profit organisations. Just as there are many types of holidaymakers there are also many tourism products and philosophies that aim to cater for tourists’ needs. Government bodies and tourism industries in many countries recognise the competitiveness in this environment and try to promote their respective nations by differentiating them from other tourist destination points. Tourism strategies and promotions commonly include appeals relating to traditional life and cultures. As Javier Perez de Cuellar, the former United Nations Secretary General, stated in the 1995 Yogyakarta International Conference on Culture and Tourism, “There is no tourism without culture” (Kompas, 1995). In fact, it could well be argued that the facilities and services offered to tourists are easily imitated whatever the environment. It is the local people living in a destination area, and the many material and immaterial aspects of their traditional culture that are unique and thus extremely marketable. According to Lanfant (Lanfant, Allcock and Bruner, 1995, 35), tourists ... “through their own displacement (in more modern societies), are looking for what they feel their own society has lost...”. This paper will briefly examine the concept of cultural tourism, as well as the benefits and problems that have been associated with this strategy. The authors then focus their attention on the Balinese experience of cultural tourism. Bali is well-recognised as an international tourist destination, particularly because of its rich cultural heritage. The question of whether cultural tourism is of positive benefit to the Balinese culture is then discussed. There are those, however, that criticise culturally-oriented tourism on the island, stating it has degraded and polluted the Balinese culture. This issue is explored. In the final analysis, the authors suggest a way forward for Bali and cultural tourism - one that may be appropriate for tourism planners and managers of other tourism destinations.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordscultural tourism; tourism development; economic analysis; economic development; tourism ethics; tourism; tourism management; Bali
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