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Great Expectations

Great Expectations: Imagination and Anticipation in Tourism

Jonathan Skinner
Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Great Expectations
    Book Description:

    The negotiation of expectations in tourism is a complex and dynamic process - one that is central to the imagination of cultural difference. Expectations not only affect the lives and experiences of tourists, but also their hosts, and play an important part in the success or failure of the overall tourism experience. It is for this reason, the authors argue, that special attention should be given to how expectations constitute and sustain tourism. The case studies presented here explore what fuels the desires to visit particular places, to what degree expectations inform the experience of the place, and the frequent disjunctions between tourist expectations and experiences. Careful attention is paid to how the imagination of the visitor inspires the imagination of the host, and vice-versa; how tourists and host communities actively imagine, re-imagine, and shape each other's lives. This realization, has profound consequences, not solely for academic analysis, but for all those who participate in and work within the tourism industry.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-278-8
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Chapter 1 Introduction: The Play of Expectation in Tourism
    (pp. 1-26)
    Jonathan Skinner and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

    Great Expectationsis one of those classic English texts set for reading on school syllabi, watched on television or on stage as a period drama, or heard on the radio. It is the tale of Pip, his adventures and, critically for us, how Pip’s expectations guide him through life.¹ Dickens presents Pip’s journey as a secular pilgrimage, one dependent upon the imagination and consumption of desire – for acceptance, love, wealth, status and, eventually, happiness. Each time Pip’s expectations are dashed new ones rise up, as though Dickens were offering us a tale of the human condition: we think therefore...

  4. Chapter 2 Success and Access to Knowledge in the Tourist-Local Encounter: Confrontations with the Unexpected in a Turkish Community
    (pp. 27-39)
    Hazel Tucker

    The tourist encounter has been described as similar to a love affair (Lengkeek 2002), as a flirtatious encounter (Crouch 2005) and as being full of promise (Lippard 1999). Drawing upon Simmel’s ([1910] 1971) notion of ‘sociability’, Harrison (2003: 46) identifies the expectation in tourist encounters ‘to either affirm or experience anew some form of human connection across time, space, or cultural difference’. The meeting of tourists and local ‘hosts’ is therefore, invariably, a highly complex as well as precarious phenomenon, and this raises questions both about what occurs in hosts’ attempts to meet tourists’ expectations and about how hosts acquire...

  5. Chapter 3 Emberá Indigenous Tourism and the World of Expectations
    (pp. 40-60)
    Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

    Parara Puru, an Emberá community in the Chagres National Park in Panama, is a site where tourists from economically powerful nations have an opportunity to experience aspects of an Amerindian culture. The tourists meet the Emberá inhabitants of the community in the context of half-day organized trips, during which the residents of Parara Puru offer a standard ‘cultural package’ that includes a music-and-dance presentation, a traditional meal, and a display of handmade Emberá artefacts. This cultural package is adaptable, and the Emberá hosts are prepared to provide extras to meet additional expectations at the request of their visitors: a tour...

  6. Chapter 4 The Paradox of Gaze and Resistance in Native American Cultural Tourism: An Alaskan Case Study
    (pp. 61-81)
    Alexis Celeste Bunten

    Drawn from a case study of a tribally owned cultural tourism venue in Southeast Alaska, this chapter explores the paradox of representation that Native American tour guides face in commoditizing their living cultures. Operating in an industry governed by Western tropes of representation, Native American tour guides feel enormous pressure to deliver a competitive product that appeals to perceived consumer desires, yet they do not openly accept themselves as objects on display, an human commodity, and therefore resist being objectified according to stereotypes that persist in popular culture. These conflicting motivations are played out during the tourism encounters between the...

  7. Chapter 5 Forward into the Past: ‘Digging’ the Balearic Islands
    (pp. 82-95)
    Jacqueline Waldren

    At the airport we never had any difficulty identifying ‘the diggers’. Backpacks and dufflebags bursting with sheets and towels and sturdy gear for their two-week ‘dig’ and stay at the Deia Archaeological Museum. Middle-aged men and women sporting all-weather shirts, pants, hats and hiking boots, or young college students in the scantest of summer wear. Quickly introducing ourselves we gathered them together in the Land Rovers and set out for their adventure and our daily work. Once off the motorway from the airport the scene of olive and almond trees, the blue sky and the sight of the imposing Mediterranean...

  8. Chapter 6 On Difference, Desire and the Aesthetics of the Unexpected: The White Masai in Kenyan Tourism
    (pp. 96-115)
    George Paul Meiu

    In 1998, Swiss author Corinne Hofmann publishedThe White Masai, recounting her four-year experience in Kenya as the wife of a Samburu warrior. The narrator, a 27-year-old middle-class Swiss woman, arrived in December 1986 on a vacation in the coastal town of Mombasa, Kenya, accompanied by her Swiss boyfriend, Marco. There, Corinne met the Samburu warrior Lketinga. She fell in love instantly. ‘I can’t explain, even to myself,’ she reflected, ‘what secret magic there is about this man’ (Hofmann 2005: 14). Her desire for the ‘tall, dark brown, beautiful exotic man’ (2005: 2) came suddenly and unexpectedly. Corinne confessed that...

  9. Chapter 7 Displeasure on ‘Pleasure Island’: Tourist Expectation and Desire on and off the Cuban Dance Floor
    (pp. 116-136)
    Jonathan Skinner

    This chapter looks at tourist expectations in a niche tourism vacation, to the mismatch between sold package and received tourist experience, or the lack of congruity between advertising and reality – ‘negative disconfirmation’ (Oliver 1997) as the post-experience cognition fails to live up to the pre-experience expectations. It is a given that tourist satisfaction is critical to the success of the tourism industry and that it is needed for industry-sustaining levels of tourist consumption. And yet, one frequently hears of tourist holidays becoming nightmares as the ludic and liminal time away from the rigours of everyday life – haptic pleasures...

  10. Chapter 8 The Coach Fellas: Tourism Performance and Expectation in Ireland
    (pp. 137-154)
    Kelli Ann Malone

    Since 2001, I have studied tourism at several archaeological sites in Ireland, among them the Hill of Tara, the Bru na Boinne, Loughcrew, Emain Macha, and Rathcroghan. A common compelling factor among visitors to these sites, especially amongst those claiming Irish descent, was to somehow ‘touch’ their past, to commune with ancestral spaces, or to otherwise satisfy a felt need to experience and understand themselves. Almost without exception there were few visitors among those whom I observed who had any real knowledge of the sites beyond stories of druids, human sacrifice, leprechauns, fairy mounds, and kings (of whom many were...

  11. Chapter 9 Going on Holiday to Imagine War: The Western Front Battlefields as Sites of Commemoration and Contestation
    (pp. 155-173)
    Jennifer Iles

    The First World War of 1914–1918 is now slipping beyond the realm of lived experience, yet it continues to wield a profound impact on the British imagination. The Western Front in Belgium and France, which was the decisive theatre of operations for the Allied troops, has created its own iconic representation and mythology and has secured a firm place in modern memory (Williams 1994: 19). Ninety years after the last shots were fired, Britain’s ‘Great War’ continues to provoke historical controversy and debate, and as Heathorn contends, its legacy still matters to ‘British society at large’ (Heathorn 2005: 1103)....

  12. Chapter 10 Touring the Dead: Imagination, Embodiment and Affect in Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds Exhibitions
    (pp. 174-195)
    Jane C. Desmond

    The most popular touring exhibit of all time is Gunther von Hagens’Body Worlds: The Anatomical Exhibit of Real Human Bodies. Since it premiered in 1995 in Japan, this display of posed human corpses, preserved through a process called ‘plastination’, has garnered more than twenty-six million viewers worldwide, touring to several countries in Europe, Asia, and more recently in the United States and Canada.

    This exhibition has generated a lot of publicity and not a little controversy, resulting in a substantial amount of public discourse in newspapers and magazines. It has also received scholarly scrutiny from a number of academics,...

  13. Chapter 11 Afterword: The Tour as Imagined, Lived, Experienced and Told
    (pp. 196-200)
    Edward M. Bruner

    The thrust of this volume is on how the host community learns about tourist expectations and devises a performance that satisfies tourist desires. The guest–host relationship is one of unequal power, so that if the tourists are dissatisfied they can just walk away but the hosts have no alternative but to adapt if they want a share of the tourist dollars. Some host communities are embedded in the tourism industry and under the control of large-scale tourist agencies, as in Bali, while others are more local, indigenous enterprises.

    Rather than comment on the individual papers, which would only duplicate...

  14. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 201-204)
  15. Index
    (pp. 205-208)