The panel concerns culture in its various guises and its relationship with tourism development as a disputed process. Culture may be the dominant factor in development, or used as a tool and commodity. As a primary focus of anthropological study, this relationship deserves further consideration.
The focus of this panel is culture in its various guises and the ways it is implicated in tourism development, seen as a disputed, political-economic process. Culture can be seen as shaping tourism development and as a focus of it. In addition, it can be seen as a tool in political-economic strategies concerning tourism, something that those in tourism and those opposed to it invoke or manipulate to achieve their objectives. Culture and its relationship with tourism development deserves further investigation, and anthropologists can play an important role in understanding the ways that elements of culture shape and are shaped by people in host communities and by those who seek to influence them, including ordinary community members, governments, those in tourism and tourists themselves. Possible themes for this panel include: The ways that tourism and those involved in it shape the host community, intentionally or not. Things shaped can include the ways that those in the host community understand themselves and others in terms of gender roles, cosmologies, political organisations, morality and so on. The relevance of aspects of the host society’s culture for tourism development: as facilitator (to be encouraged), hindrance (to be overcome) or commodity (to be presented), or as contextual factor shaping that development. Pertinent aspects can include: religious beliefs and differences, political organisation and assumptions, economic values and orientations, or attitudes towards tourists.