Tourists often destroy the culture they have come to experience. Tourists are on holiday, freed from the daily mundane disciplines of work and liberated from the social and cultural constraints of their home society. The tourist experience of local culture is short, with visits to particular towns measured in hours and to a particular site or exhibit, measured in minutes or even seconds, pasts are condensed into easily consumed bite-sized pieces lacking any authenticity. The tourist may encounter political oppression, racial bigotry, child prostitution, child labor and animal cruelty but seldom has the ubiquitous presence of tourism ever had any effect to change these sad scenarios. Precious resources such as water are squandered in tourist facilities while the local population live in scarcity. Very little heritage was actually created for tourists or by the tourism industry in which case it is usually intended solely for entertainment. Those who create heritage, or for whom it was created, are often in danger of being crowded out and ultimately displaced. The World Monument Fund monitors damage to heritage buildings and sites, and it identifies three major threats facing heritage sites, namely political conflict, climate change, and tourism. In the WMF 2008 list of the most endangered 100 monuments in the world approximately one-third were diagnosed as being ‘in danger’ mainly from the tourist. this essay is a reflection on the nature of modern tourism.
© Daniel Botelho