TOURISM, GLOBALIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ...

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TOURISM, GLOBALIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: ARE THESE CONTRAVENING. CONCEPTS? E. Wanda George, University of Guelph.

TOURISM, GLOBALIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: ARE THESE CONTRAVENING CONCEPTS? E. Wanda George, University of Guelph

In parallel with the rapid advancement of information and transportation technology, major global occurrences are currently transforming societies around the globe. Modern globalization, a concept associated with late capitalism and built on a hegemony promoting neo-liberalism policies, is radically altering world economies and societies. Globalization is a social construct (Rees, 2000) that is shifting the way we view the world - from one with multiple economies and diverse societies to a 'one-world' economy and homogenized society. Tourism, a phenomenon based on travel patterns of people, technology and cultural values, is a major vehicle, or operative, in effecting the globalization process. Tourism, now a universal practice, is flourishing rapidly to become one of the leading industries in the world today. As noted in previous reports and discussion, the World Travel and Tourism Council and others have referred to tourism, indeed, as the world's largest industry (Cooper & Wanhill, 1998; WTTC, 1996). In sharp contrast to globalization is the notion of sustainable development. This concept has been initiated by theorists and citizens who have presented the stark realization that our earth planet is in serious jeopardy if we continue on our current path of political, social, economic and environmental development (WCED, 1987). In general academic literature, much attention has been given to various interpretations of sustainable development in attempts to give understanding to the concept (Hunter, 1997; Mitlin, 1992; Murdock, 1993). However, the debate on detailed interpretations still continues (Hunter, 1997). It could be argued, though, that this debate has focused primarily on economic welfare and environmental concerns. Globalization and sustainable development are unfolding simultaneously. It appears that tourism fits well within the context and scope of globalization. However, depending on how it is constructed, it may or may not fit well with the notion of sustainability. In most cases, when globalization and tourism intersect with sustainable development, there appears to be a less than compatible or desirable relationship. Differing values, goals and objectives tend to clash and appear contradictory. Tourism in this context can wield the power of a double-edged sword. With its swipe, it advances the goals of globalization. At the same time, it has potential negative implications, which can hinder sustainability. One potential victim of such a dichotomous relationship is culture, the very heart of tourism, which is increasingly being sought and exploited as a tourism commodity. Essentially, culture is the lifeblood of tourism, for "without culture, there is no tourism" (Jafari, 1999). Furthermore, if the relationship between tourism and culture is to be sustainable, tourism will have to be developed in harmony with community interests and protect and preserve traditional cultures, fostering sensitivity to and appreciation for cultural practices (Moscardo, 1999; Sofield, 1991; Macintosh, Hinch & Ingram, 2000). Purpose of Paper

The purpose of this discussion paper is to highlight four outcomes resulting from the interrelationships between tourism, globalization and sustainability as expressed through culture. Where tourism intersects with globalization and sustainable development, it appears there is a highly compatible and positive relationship within the context of globalization. However, from the perspective of sustainable development, the relationship seems much less optimistic and can be a destructive force, particularly for cultural sustainability. This may have important consequences for local rural cultures involved in or planning tourism. The discussion follows from a review of current and relevant literature. Discussion

The following diagram outlines opposing outcomes that can occur from the interrelationship between tourism globalization and sustainability:

Cultural/Economic revitalization Tourism can contribute to cultural revitalization, drawing from authentic sources and stimulated by an increasing market of postmodern tourists who are searching for 'meaning and truth' (UNESCO, 1996) in culture. Tourism, as a mechanism in the globalizing process, creates new spaces for new cultural encounters and alliances. When a 'tourist' and 'host meet', each carries within them a meaning of their own identity and each gets something new from the experience (UNESCO, 1996). Cultural diversity provides a wide range of unique tourism products that are authentic and original. One of the main attributes of tourism is to provide diverse experiences through contact with new cultures and cultural expression. As demand for cultural tourism products and new spaces increases, promising opportunities present themselves for economic revitalization, particularly in economically depressed areas. Potential opportunities for local entrepreneurship and empowerment are created. As heritage and cultural attractions become high demand commodities, the focus of political and economic agendas is shifted towards their revival, preservation and maintenance. One main tenet of globalization is an economic development agenda where goals and objectives are aimed at producing a 'one homogenized global' society, with common standards and economic uniformity that will improve the well being of all society. Acculturation However, Hughes (1989) states that tourism and culture are seen to have a potentially destructive relationship (Macintosh, Hinch, & Ingram, 2002). Johnson (2000) argues that tourism is the prime threat to indigenous homelands and cultures through its exploitation, dislocation and desecration. Tourism can contribute to acculturation and cultural erosion. An even larger contradiction and potential threat, the demise of cultural diversity on a global scale due to acculturation, is emanating from global tourism and other global economic activity. On the one hand, tourism thrives on its ability to offer diverse and unique attractions and experiences, but on the other, it contributes to acculturation of host cultures. Acculturation, according to Kroeber (1948) comprises those changes in a culture brought about by another culture and will result in an increased similarity between the two cultures. Although this type of change may be reciprocal, it is more often an asymmetrical process resulting in the absorption of one culture into the powerful other. Through globalizing processes, languages and ethnic dialects have succumbed to the English language, and many have or are in danger of becoming extinct (BBC, 2001). Arguably, a primary goal of globalization may be acculturation on a global scale, where diverse cultures will be absorbed by Western cultures into one homogenized world and 'global market.' There is widespread evidence of acculturation processes taking place around the globe as Western influences infiltrate foreign countries, transforming their cultures and languages. As acculturation advances, cultural diversity is disappearing. Cultural appreciation/Peace Tourism plays a major role in international relations and world peace (Matthews, 1975; Var & Ap, 1998). In 1980, the WTO Conference in Manila declared that "world tourism can be a vital force for world peace and the role of tourism as a vehicle of international understanding and peace derives from the notion that interaction between hosts and guests makes understanding possible among peoples and cultures" (Var & Ap, 1998, pp.45-57). International tourism is regarded as a catalytic force for tension reduction and peace-building (Yu & Chung, 2001). Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, (2000) states, 'Tourism and peace are intertwined. Tourism fosters understanding and peace, which support one another and enable continuity. It also broadens opportunities for cultural exchange and encompasses nations from all parts of the World." The Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation assembly "recognises and values the many non-economic benefits that tourism provides.. .in particular fostering cross-cultural understanding; promoting local and indigenous cultures, arts and heritage; highlighting the need to preserve the social and cultural fabric and integrity of host communities; and promoting world peace by developing international cooperation in a spirit of friendship, dialogue and understanding" (APEC, 2000). Cultural conflict

However, predominant notions that tourism generates cultural harmony, and is a vital force for peace have been exaggerated (Robinson, 1999). According to Robinson, there has been little evidence that tourism brings the world together. Further, he states, "tourism is one globalizating influence that can initiate dramatic and irreversible changes within the cultures of host communities" (Robinson, 1999, p.22). The idea that we should sustain and protect cultures is not yet fully developed. Robinson (1999) notes that the most obvious conflict is between tourist and host, engendered in part by the fundamental difference in goals - the tourist is engaged in leisure, the host is engaged in work. Another source of conflict, he states, is between the often persuasive and economically powerful developers and operators of the international, mainly first world countries, the tourism industry and the host country. He contends that tourism turns local cultures into commodities where religious rituals, ethic rites and festivals continue to be reduced and sanitized to conform to tourist expectations, resulting in 'reconstructed ethnicity.' Part of the problem

stems from the packaging of culture away from the cultural site, which is another typical feature of globalization businesses residing outside a country where the activity occurs (Robinson, 1999). The result is that host communities find culture and traditions under threat from the purchasing power of the tourism industry. Neither are tourists better off from a cultural viewpoint. Instead of getting rich and authentic cultural insights and experience, tourists get staged authenticity (Robinson, 1999). Cultural disharmonies within local communities often emerge as a result of a lack of understanding of tourism or no local involvement in the tourism planning processes. Implications/Conclusions Much research on the preceding issues has tended to stem from developing countries and regions, which have undertaken tourism as a development strategy. Should these issues be brought closer to home? As the dynamics of tourism and globalization extend to local rural areas, communities and different levels of governments are increasingly recognizing culture as an important asset in formulating new tourism development strategies. The discussion above suggests that tourism, globalization and sustainability are contravening concepts. This can become a dilemma that will produce major challenges to Canadian rural communities striving for sustainability. The debate on uniformity versus diversity will also become more profound where tourism and culture are perceived as a means to achieve goals of both globalization and sustainability. To address pending challenges, researchers and planners for community tourism development need to build new theoretical frameworks and proactive planning approaches that can mitigate the negative consequences while, at the same time, optimize the benefits that can result from the interrelationships between this triad of concepts. A primary prerequisite to this is that understanding culture is essential to understanding tourism (Robinson, 1999). References APEC Meeting. (2000). APEC Declaration on Tourism. July. Seoul, Korea. Cooper, Chris, and Wanhill, Stephen. (1998). Tourism development: environmental and community issues. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Hughes, H.L. (1989). Tourism and the arts: a potentially destructive relationship? Tourism Management, June, pp. 97-99. Hunter, Colin. (1997). Sustainable tourism as an adaptive paradigm. Annals of Tourism Research, 24 (4). Great Britain: Elsvier Science Ltd. Jafari, J. (1996). Tourism and culture: an inquiry into paradoxes. Proceedings of a round table: Culture, tourism development: crucial issues for the XXI st century: Paris. Johnston, A. (2000). Indigenous peoples and ecotourism: bringing indigenous knowledge and rights into the sustainability equation. Tourism Recreation Research, 25 (2) pp. 89-96. Kroeber, A.L.(1948). Anthropology: race, language, culture, psychology, prehistory. Harcourt, Brace & World Inc.: New York and Burlingame. MacIntosh,A.J., Hinch, T.& Ingram, T. (2002). Cultural identity and tourism. International Journal of Arts Management, 4 (2),Winter. Mitlin, D.(1992). a guide to the literature, environment and urbanization. Sustainable Development, 4, pp. 111-124 Moscardo, G. (1999). Making visitors mindful: principles for creating quality sustainable visitor experiences through effective communication. Champaign, IL: Sagamore. Mubarak, M.H. (2002). President Mubarak's Concept of Tourism. http://www.touregypt.net/mubarak.htm Murdock, J. (1993). Sustainable rural development, towards a research agenda. Geoforum, 24, pp. 225-241. Rees, William.(2000). The dark side of the force (of globalization). Parklands Institute Conference Paper (Edmonton). Vancouver: University of British Columbia. Robinson, M. (1999). Is cultural tourism on the right track? UNESCO Courier. Sofield, T.H.B. (1991). Sustainable ethnic tourism in the South Pacific: some principles. Journal of Tourism Studies,2(1) pp. 56-72. UNESCO. (1996). Round table on culture, tourism, and development: crucial issues for the xxlst century. France. Var, T. and Ap, J. (1998). Tourism and world peace. In William F. Theobald (ed.), Global Tourism, 2, pp. 45-47. World Commission on Environmental and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). (1996). Statistics Report. Yu, L. and Chung, M.H. (2001). Tourism as a Catalytic Force for Low-Politics Activities between Politically Divided Countries: The Cases of South/North Korea and Taiwan/China. New Political Science, 23 (4) E. Wanda George, Department of Rural Planning & Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, NIG 2W1, Canada; Phone: (519) 767-0736; E-mail: [email protected]

ABSTRACTS of Papers Presented at the Tenth Canadian Congress on Leisure Research May 22-25,2002 Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta Abstracts compiled and edited by Edgar L. Jackson CCLR-10 Programme Committee Karen Fox Ed Jackson Gordon Walker

Copyright © 2002 Canadian Association for

The Canadian Congress on Leisure Research is held under the auspices of the Canadian Association for Leisure Studies Le congres canadien de la recherche en loisir Se tient sous les auspices de L'association canadienne d'etudes en loisir

BOARD OF DIRECTORS / CONSEIL D'ADMINISTRATION 1999 - 2002 President / President Susan Markham-Starr Acadia University

Past President / President-sortant Edgar L. Jackson University of Alberta

Treasurer / Tresorier Robert Soubrier Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres

Secretary / Secretaire Linda Caldwell Pennsylvania State University

Directors / Directeurs Wendy Frisby, University of British Columbia Tom Hinch, University of Alberta Peggy Hutchison, Brock University Jennifer Mactavish, University of Manitoba Lisa Ostiguy, Concordia University Stephane Perrault, Universite du Quebec d Trois-Rivieres Jerry Singleton, Dalhousie University Bryan Smale, University of Waterloo Paul Wilkinson, York University