Tourism as Intercultural Business: Locating Concepts and Questioning Identities
This paper approaches the topic of tourism as a global intercultural business, resorting to notions of culture, identity, representation and territory, among other concepts used in intercultural studies. Studying global tourism not only means thinking about it in terms of the world’s economy, but also regarding issues of identity and difference, representation, heritage, history and transformation of geographic spaces into significant places. Exploring tourism as a world cultural phenomenon is a way of associating it with the ever-polemic concept of globalization, often understood as a manifestation of Western dominance. Thus, this paper will also address matters of ethics, power and cultural hegemony.
Addressing tourism as an intercultural business is both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity to develop routes of cultural tourism while empowering and engaging communities in the protection of cultural heritage; the challenge to enhance sustainable tourism, with an impact on employment, economic growth, poverty reduction, environmental protection and the general preservation of authenticity in culture and heritage. By recognizing the value of different sections of the community, cultural resources and heritage that could otherwise be seen as ordinary become exceptional. And the exceptional is what tourists seek, as opposed to the commonplace routine of everyday life.
Keywords: Intercultural, tourism, power, identity, discourse, development
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