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A diagram of the tourism process

tourism process

Diagram of the tourism process (time line)

What's interesting here and deserves further exploration is the development of what I would call, for lack of a better term, the "phenomenological experience" at the destination, i.e., the way the accumulated interactions to cope with the alien environment generate micro-habits (choice of favourite spots, developing assuring routines) which increase redundancy and reduce the level of information and stress. The cliché is the tourist who just moves from hotel room to beach, then oscillates between bar/restaurant and beach, to end again in the hotel room. More likely to happen in closed communities / resorts.

Another interesting aspect is the role of the production of photos, accounts in diaries / weblogs or calls to relatives and friends at home. The initial hypothesis would be that photography, filming etc. mainly blocks first-order exposure to the alien aspects of the environment, binding energies in a practice under full control of the individual (see also the related text Sketch of tourism interfaces. But it also marks a work practice and constitutes a micro habit where there is really no need for work and habit. The lack of work as a two-way interaction with the environment (giving something, not just taking and being served, pampered and fed) leads to a kind of ersatz work which is strictly controllable by the tourist and needs little or no co-operation of the environment. However, driven by curiosity and eagerness, it can create its own momentum and surprises, indicating a more active role of the tourist and an extension of practices that in turn lead to more exposure to the alien environment. The added value (photographs and films) is taken home. A well codified moment of exchange happens when asking someone (more likely another tourist than a local) to take a photo of oneself or the group or couple one belongs to.

Another interesting aspect would be a record of the impact of the foreign environment (habits, language, experiences) onto the phenomenological equilibrium and persistence of one's persona, beliefs, judgements, etc. If the stay or journey would take very long, there would no doubt be a change. With shorter holidays, there seems to be a certain elasticity which allows a rebounding into the previous state without any persistent change (apart from a stock of memories which have usually little relevance on the default setting and experience at home). Curiously, experiencing the "locals" at the destination and *being* a local after returning home seems unrelated. Experiencing tourists at home and being a tourist elsewhere seems equally separate.

Last update: 15 February 2005 | Impressum—Imprint