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THE ENVIRONMENTAL BUBBLE

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  1. THE ENVIRONMENTAL BUBBLE Four Seasons Resort, Bali

  2. “Where were you last summer?” “In Majorca.” “Where is that?” “I don’t know, I flew there.”

  3. Professor of Sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem • Article published originally in Social Research, 1972 • Still one of the defining articles written on tourists Erik Cohen

  4. Motivations • Interested in things different from his own • Appreciation of strangeness and novelty (is this the “exotic”) • Experiences now excite and satisfies, where it once only frightened • Increased awareness of the outer world Tourist Motivations

  5. “So long as man remains largely ignorant of the existence of other societies, other cultures, he regards his own small world as the cosmos” Travel

  6. “Whereas primitive and traditional man will leave his native habitat only when forced to by extreme circumstances, modern man is more loosely attached to his environment” • People move more in general, not just for tourism Travel

  7. Tourism is only possible when man develops a generalized interest in things beyond his particular habitat, when contact with and appreciation and enjoyment of strangeness and novelty are valued for their own sake • In this sense, tourism is an entirely modern phenomenon Tourism

  8. Increased awareness of the outer world seems to lead to an increased readiness to leave one’s habitat and wander around temporarily Tourism

  9. Travel Motivation Theory • Wanderlust • A desire to learn • To seek an unknown place • Also called “seeking” • Sunlust • A desire for rest and relaxation • To find specific facilities that do not exist at the place of residence • Also called “escaping” Gray (1970)

  10. Though novelty and strangeness are essential elements in the tourist experience, not even modern man is completely ready to immerse himself wholly in an alien environment One Foot in Each World

  11. Man’s native culture binds him, even when he is not aware, and complete abandonment of these customs that results from complete immersion may be experienced as unpleasant and even threatening One Foot in Each World

  12. So… • Complete immersion is not usually desired • Own customs are comfortable to the tourist • Time limit in a foreign environment is relatively short • “Exotic” is experienced (and marketed) as an attraction, but not the entire surrounding reality The Exotic

  13. Ultimately, most tourists can only enjoy the experience of change and novelty from a strong base of familiarity Cohen

  14. To word it a little better… • “They would like to experience the novelty of the macroenvironment of a strange place from the security of a familiar microenvironment” • Many tourists will only travel to places that have been visited by other tourists Cohen

  15. This microenvironment is transported to a foreign location, and includes… Environmental Bubble

  16. “Environmental Bubble” • (Western-style) Hotels • Tour guides that speak English • Familiar transportation • Clothing that is socially comfortable (including what is worn by the natives) • Food presentation that is not too different • Ability to leave when ready • Other tourists nearby and recognizable tourist things The Environmental Bubble

  17. Thus, the modern experience of tourism includes a bit of novelty and a bit of familiarity • The amount of novelty or familiarity differs between types tourists, and Cohen was the first to develop an actual tourist typology Cohen

  18. The problem of the system [mass tourism], then, is to enable the mass tourist to “take in” the novelty of the host country without experiencing any physical discomfort. Or, more accurately, to observe without actually experiencing. Mass Tourism

  19. To imagine this, think of the Margaret Mead example from chapter 5 of The Tourist Mead

  20. The anthropologist not only records the consumption of sago in the native diet, but eats at least enough to know how heavily it lies upon the stomach; not only records verbally and by photographs the tight clasp of the baby’s hands around the neck, but also carries the baby and experiences the constriction of the windpipe; hurries or lags on the way to a ceremony; kneels half-blinded by incense while the spirits of the ancestors speak, or the gods refuse to appear. The anthropologist enters the setting and he observes…

  21. The industry must serve large numbers of people – and make sure they enjoyed it • The industry must have a certain amount of control, so that people feel safe and that there is legal protection • This relates to the concepts put forth in the Frigden article (he got them from Cohen actually) In Defense of Tourism

  22. All danger and risk have been removed from the experience – he [the tourist] has the illusion of adventure without any of the uncertainties So…

  23. It is, in essence, living vicariously through other people’s lives – like a motion picture • The tourist establishment achieves this effect through two inter-related mechanisms: transformation of attractions and standardization of facilities And…

  24. While we have defined attraction one way with the Peterson article, another way in MacCannell (and will define it another way later in a chapter by Page text), Cohen also has a definition of attraction • Essentially his use of the word means “things worth seeing” Transformation of Attractions

  25. Genuine Attractions • World renown • A region is known for them • They attract tourists naturally • Contrived Attractions (Tourist Attractions) • Created artificially • Must be promoted to attract tourists Transformation of Attractions

  26. The purpose of mass tourism is the visiting of attractions (genuine or contrived) • From a tourism management/commercial recreation perspective, either type (genuine or contrived) is okay Mass Tourism

  27. However, even with the genuine, they typically become transformed or manipulated to make “descent” for tourists Mass Tourism

  28. Supplied with facilities (restrooms, hotels, restaurants) • Reconstructed (if too broken down) • Staged (including landscaping, employee costuming, etc.) • Cleansed of unsuitable elements • Managed as a product Transformation of Attractions

  29. Management, for example, takes them out of the normal flow of society • Places are given hours, pricing, merchandising and often gated off, which begins to separate the attraction from its natural surroundings – in effect sucking the life out of it that attracted the tourist in the first place Transformation of Attractions

  30. Tradition festivals are made more colorful and more respectable so that tourists are attracted, but not offended • Hawaiian dancing girls have to be dressed for public decency • Natural sights are groomed and guarded so that they appear as well-kept parks Transformation of Attractions

  31. Industry benefits • Facilities are standardized • The “ecological/environmental bubble” is established • Local flavor is adapted to the demands of the tourist (local products in tourist shops, local decorations in the hotel rooms, local food in restaurants) Standardization of Facilities

  32. The tourism infrastructure becomes separated from the rest of the culture (often legally) • Sites once visited by natives (the reason for their attraction), are abandoned, and populated only by tourists Tourism Infrastructure

  33. The tourist encounters locals only as parts of the tourist establishment • The locals, in turn, see the mass tourists as a mass – not as individuals • Language barriers restrict most real interaction Encounters

  34. So, instead of destroying myths and stereotypes between countries, mass tourism perpetrates them Myths

  35. Tourists seek the unique • Mass tourism packages the unique • Culture and geography are reduced to a few standard elements • Tourist learns these before he begins his tour… Tourism

  36. Air travel takes the tourist almost directly to his standard element • The element becomes isolated, one of many – trips and entire countries can blur together • The tourist, in seeking these locations becomes more isolated from the actual population of the country • The other parts of the host country are not encountered (environmental bubble) Selective Awareness

  37. Thus, the tourist is aware of his foreign environment only when he reaches the spot of interest – one of the select standard elements • Think of this in parallel to the “blockbuster exhibit” Selective Awareness

  38. So, while the desire to experience the novel and strange has increased, these actual qualities of these experiences have decreased in tourism Mass Tourism

  39. Again, Cohen developed a typology based on the novel and the familiar • Cohen concluded that there were four types of tourists Cohen’s Typology

  40. Relationship between novelty and familiarity • Institutionalized • Organized Mass Tourist • Individual Mass Tourist • Non-Institutionalized • Explorer • Drifter Cohen’s Typology

  41. novelty/FAMILIARITY • Least adventurous – prefers “microenvironment” of home country • Guided tour (in air-conditioned bus) • Fixed trip itinerary (makes few, if any, decisions) • Package deal tourism is just another item to buy like a suit or a ballgame ticket Organized Mass Tourist

  42. Novelty/FAMILIARITY • Not bound to a group, but… • Most arrangements still made through some kind of tourist-related agency • Most of experiences are the same as the OMT- sticks to well-charted territory • Novelty is somewhat more important, although it is typically routine novelty • A bit more spontaneous?? Individual Mass Tourist

  43. Novelty/Familiarity • Makes own arrangements (alone) • Deviates from tried and true routes (although accommodations and transportation are still usually westernized) • Leaves “environmental bubble” but it is never out of sight Explorer

  44. Communication is attempted and the common tourist places avoided • Most of the observation is still aesthetic however • No real intellectual communication attempted The Explorer

  45. Actually, by avoiding the tried and true, the explorer (hence the name) “discovers” new places and new select elements to visit – thus spearheading new places for mass tourism The Explorer

  46. The Drifter

  47. A genuine modern phenomenon (a modern take on the Grand Tour, without the formal educational component) • Young • Usually a student • A child of affluence (although he usually reacts against it) • Moves around the world in search of new experiences • Once done, usually rejoins the establishment The Drifter

  48. No itinerary • No purpose • Wants to prolong travels (often to avoid “growing up”) • Not concerned with bodily comforts • Prefers “kindred souls” to the host country’s elite The Drifter

  49. NOVELTY/familiarity • Shuns connections with other tourists or the tourist establishment • Considers tourist experience to be phony • “Lives” in host community, gets odd-jobs to make money, has no time schedule • Adopts their language, customs, food, clothing • Rejects his home culture almost completely (save memories of dear relatives or very important traditions) Drifter