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Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity and Conflict

Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity and Conflict

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Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity and Conflict

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Oct 12, 2005


This collection of essays develops the historical dimension to tourism studies through thematic case studies. The editor's introduction argues for the importance of a closer relationship between history and tourism studies, and an international team of contributors explores the relationships between tourism, representations, environments and identities in settings ranging from the global to the local, from the Roman Empire to the twentieth century, and from Frinton to the 'Far East'.

Oct 12, 2005

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Histories of Tourism - Channel View Publications




This collection of essays is intended as a response to, and a stimulus for, the growing visibility of the history of tourism as an essential component both of historical understanding and of the development of a grounded, humanistic dimension to the increasingly interdisciplinary ventures that come under the label of tourism studies (Baranowski & Furlough, 2001; Berghoff et al., 2002; Historia Contemporánea, 2002; Tissot, 2003). It is clear that the history of tourism is (at last) developing as an exciting and dynamic field, and that (fittingly) it is advancing on a broad international front, as indicated by the formal constitution in 2002 of the International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism as an accredited section of the International Commission for the Historical Sciences; by the emergence of a dedicated tourism history journal, published in Naples (Storia del Turismo); and by the increased interest in travel and tourism now being taken by the long-established Journal of Transport History. The importance of the contribution of history to the understanding of tourism as an outstandingly significant current phenomenon, the world's largest and most dynamic industry, a leading sector both in continuing globalisation and the generation of cultural resistance to its implications, with the capacity to create enormous environmental footprints and to transform cultures in ways that are hard to predict, is now beginning to gain recognition within tourism studies, which has been slow to accept that it needs to learn from historical studies, and within history, whose innate conservatism as a discipline has tended to relegate it to the margins of the allegedly inconsequential. This latter is an increasingly bizarre standpoint but professional inertia has made it disproportionately difficult to dispel. Where the agenda of historical studies is not dominated by high politics and international diplomacy, it still offers more legitimacy to the study of the coal, steel or cotton industries, or the examination of seemingly quantifiable aspects of living standards (wages, prices, demography and height), than to service industries (transport and banking apart) whose inescapable current importance should be drawing more attention to their neglected significance in the past (but see, for example, Hill, 2002).

Mutual recognition has probably been hindered by contrasting writing styles, as tourism studies (as opposed to cultural studies of tourism) has tended towards a social science paradigm with very formal reviews of the literature and overt statements of aims, objectives and methodology, while historians tend to write in a more fluid and literary style and (in this field at least, and especially since the growth of influences from cultural studies on the discipline) to use evidence in more allusive, indirect and cross-referential ways. Any such contrasts in approach should be turned to advantage, not least to enrich the student experience by inviting the critical comparison of approaches, rather than becoming an excuse for perpetual estrangement. Students also need to adjust for the multiplicity of mansions that make up the house that bears the tourism studies label, whose tenants include representatives of a very broad array of conventional academic disciplines, from anthropology to applied economics and from literature to social psychology, and whose interdisciplinary nature invites cross-fertilisation across the imagined boundaries between any or all of them.

As courses begin to proliferate, using tourism history to contribute to a broader picture as well as taking it as the central theme, the time is ripe for the production of accessible collections of scholarly essays on tourism history, which can also be used as readers on (especially) comparative courses. This book is intended as a contribution towards meeting that emergent need. It offers international coverage, with case studies drawn from Austria, Germany, Spain, Japan and the Roman Empire as well as the United Kingdom and the British Empire. It also offers, appropriately, an interdisciplinary approach to the study of tourisms past, with borrowings drawn especially from cultural studies, literature, sociology and cultural geography. Among the concepts that help to define approaches, structure arguments and generate sceptical commentary in the chapters that follow are several familiar but still stimulating staples of tourism studies, themselves originating from several external sources as well as from within the discourses of contributions to tourism studies itself, including the tourist gaze, staged authenticity, the construction of identities across a broad front (national, cultural, class, gender etc.), liminality, orientalism, post-colonial studies and the resort product cycle (Baranowski & Furlough, 2001; Blunt, 1994; MacCannell, 1989; MacKenzie, 1995; Sheller, 2003; Shields, 1991; Urbain, 1991; Urry, 1990, 1995). Just as tourism studies, as a set of programmes drawn together under an academic subject label which may sometimes owe more to course marketing than to internal coherence (although something similar might be said of geography or even history), is escaping from an early dependence on basic economic concepts and an obsession with the mechanical analysis of questionnaires and with similar attempts to convert the intangible into the apparently quantifiable, so historians working on tourism are striving to endow their findings with meanings wider than can be derived from studying the past for its own sake, to put them in wider thematic contexts and to make appropriate borrowings from contingent disciplines in pursuit of broader and deeper understanding. This increasing openness, from both points of departure, should help to bring the disciplines together.

It is particularly important that tourism studies should begin to pay serious attention to the relevance of historical research and writing to its concerns. Despite the growing interest in issues of heritage, authenticity and historical representation in the provision of tourist experiences and the analysis of consumer expectations and responses to them, which entails assessment of the ways in which tourism uses ‘history’ and, occasionally, the ways in which ‘history’ might use (or even be regarded as) tourism, the attention paid to the serious examination of the past in much tourism studies literature retains a tendency towards the derivative and perfunctory, especially in the introductory texts that so often set the tone for the student experience. It would almost be better not to bother to mention tourism's past than to provide the tired, limp parade of inaccurate clichés that constitutes the token obeisance to history in some such texts on tourism, with the material often passed on almost unchanged from one text to another without being contaminated by the slightest exposure to any developments in historical writing on the subject. It is as if the authors think that history, as the past, is unchanging and graven on stone tablets, and historians have the simple task of passing on received wisdom. Life would be much easier, and less interesting, if that were so. It is perhaps worth repeating here the commonplaces that each succeeding generation rewrites history in response to the dominant issues and changing agenda of the time; that historical sources are not a static, unchanging ‘given’ but can be pursued and created in negotiation with others (most obviously through oral history); that the processes of archiving and archival retrieval involve choices and priorities about what to preserve and how to order and communicate it that reflect power structures and themselves have a history; that historical interpretation is ultimately fluid, contested and always open to challenge (especially since the rise of post-modernism); and that (especially in an emergent field like the history of tourism) new studies of particular aspects, angles, cultures, places and institutions are always changing the picture, not least by adding new dimensions and perspectives (Evans, 1997, and debates in the journal Rethinking History). Recent historical initiatives have, indeed, drawn attention to the important linkages between tourism and the most traditional of historical concerns, the world of international diplomacy, pointing up the need to pay heed to the ‘consumer diplomacy’ of tourism in making unofficial contacts between nations and cultures and to the efforts of official diplomacy to influence this process, especially in the years after the Second World War (Buades, 2004; Endy, 2004; Pells, 1997; Tissot, 2003). Less unexpected, but still very important, is the developing relationship between ideas about tourism and discourses of national and regional identity which has become such an important theme at the meeting point between political and cultural history in recent years (Matless, 1998; Moreno, 2004; Russell, 2004; Shaffer, 2001). But such initiatives, and the broader history of tourism project, have yet to gain full admission to the core of tourism studies, too many of whose introductory texts tend to provide little more than a paragraph on the Grand Tour, another on Thomas Cook and a third on the post-war rise of ‘mass tourism’, interpreted in terms of the Mediterranean package holiday and its successors, with no critical analysis of terms, processes or debates and no attention to the growing literature on the history of tourism in the context of consumption, consumerism and globalisation.

As regards these preoccupations, it should be emphasised that there is now an extensive (but too often ignored) historiography of the Grand Tour and related themes (Black, 1992; Chard, 1999; Ousby, 1991), while the iconic role assigned to Thomas Cook (not least through the unique richness of the firm's archive) is coming under challenge as myths of origin and primacy are deconstructed and the obscured importance of competitors (not least American Express) is given due weight (Brendon, 1991; Green, 2004; Grossman, 1987; Withey, 1997). Meanwhile, the loose use of the term ‘mass tourism’, which is sometimes applied with an apparent lack of discrimination to any or all several categories, especially the first ‘Cook's tourists’ of the mid-19th century, the extension of excursion activity and holiday-making among sectors of the lower middle and working classes in Britain in the late 19th century and the new developments of the inter-war years in popular tourism, as well as the more usual formula that is based on the rise of the ‘package holiday’ after the Second World War, cries out for deconstruction, especially in the light of the value-laden and question-begging assumptions about uniformity of culture, manipulation of experience and sheep-like passivity of consumers that are usually associated with the phrase. But these assumptions, too, are beginning to be questioned (Wright, 2002). There are significant exceptions to the general neglect of historical work within tourism studies, beginning with the work of John Towner on the Grand Tour and on the historical geography of tourism more generally in the 1990s, which probably constituted the first sustained effort to build bridges between the disciplines, and has been followed by the inclusion of historical chapters in other works dealing primarily with contemporary tourism (Barke et al., 1996; Hind & Mitchell, 2004; Shaw & Williams, 1997; Towner, 1996). These initiatives run parallel with the first efforts, during the mid-1990s, by historians to draw attention to the importance of tourism history (Engerman, 1994; Walton, 1997). This agenda has been extended recently by the efforts of Conrad Lashley (especially) to persuade academics in the closely related subject area of hospitality to take seriously the insights on offer from the humanities in general and historical studies in particular (Lashley & Morrison, 2000; Walton, 2003b). But there is much to be done.

Those readers of this book who come from a tourism studies orientation will probably already be broadly sympathetic to these arguments, although the evangelical tone sometimes adopted here is coloured by years of frustration at the unwillingness of some of their colleagues to see the relevance of history's contribution, not least in providing rich comparative case-studies for their students to work on. This book presents a themed collection of chapters dealing with important aspects of the history of tourism in its own right, as something worth understanding for its own sake in terms of process and impact (not least on tourist destinations, which are eminently worthy of comparative study in their own right) (Aron, 1999; Battilani, 2001; Gottdiener et al., 1999; Johnson, 2002; Levenstein, 1998; Meller, 2001; Pastoriza, 2002; Rauch, 1996; Schwartz, 1997; Walton, 2000a) which also adds depth and comparative grasp to our understanding of the present and its potentialities and discontents, without falling into the trap of present-mindedness or forgetting the need to try to understand past societies on their own terms. This concern to recover understandings of the past as such distinguishes the history of tourism from the extensive literature on the relationships between history, ‘heritage’ and museum studies, with their interesting debates on authenticity and how to stage it, on the nature and plausibility of professional historians’ claims to tell truer and more satisfying stories than other interpreters and users of the past, and on the relationships between historical remains, historical re-creations, the educational process, the provision of entertainment and the market (Berghoff et al., 2002; Cross & Walton, 2005; Dicks, 2003; Herbert, 1995; Hewison, 1987; Mandler, 1997; Samuel, 1995, 1998).

This is a lively and important field, and the one in which history and tourism studies have made closest contact, often mediated through other disciplines. But it is our argument that the history of tourism is essential in its own right. At a basic level, it is important to enrich our understanding by making comparisons over time as well as between places and contemporary cultures: after all, the past is indeed a foreign country. But it is also of the utmost importance to understand processes in all their complexity. A problem in tourism studies has been a prevailing present-mindedness and superficiality, refusing deep, grounded or sustained historical analysis even when dealing with essentially historical processes like the resort product cycle, which is about change over time but usually treated schematically and without reference to how the product has developed, under what circumstances, constraints and cultural conditions and how that might affect its present prospects. Recent work within this paradigm has shown increasing awareness of these issues without developing the historical depth of field that is necessary to an understanding of the complexity of historical processes over periods longer than a generation or so (Agarwal, 2002; Priestley & Mundet, 1998). By the same token, for example, the immensely fruitful concept of the ‘tourist gaze’ (fruitful not least in terms of the controversy it is now engendering) would benefit enormously from a much more serious and sustained understanding across time than it has so far received (Urry, 1990, 1995); but its own progenitor, John Urry, is much more at home with the development of stimulating transferable ideas on a broad compass than with locating the timing, nature and springs of action governing their working out in particular cultures and settings (Urry, 1988, 1997). The title of the recently established Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change implies a commitment to the understanding of historical processes, however contemporary, as change necessarily occurs over time; but here again a commitment to critical engagement with historical processes operating over more than a generation will itself take time to work through, not least in the nature of the papers that are offered. Recent indications that established tourism studies journals are opening their doors more readily to contributions from historians provide welcome hints of change (Mazierska, 2002; Worthington, 2003). Historians, in turn, have been slow to supply what is needed, in this and other contexts.

Part of the problem here has been a prevailing concern among historians with what most tourism studies practitioners might regard as a more distant past, whose relevance to understanding the background to current concerns decays with distance from them. Until the last few years, there has been a great deal more historical research on the 18th and 19th centuries than on the 20th, an imbalance that is now being rectified as historians have woken up, first (and, over the last two decades, dramatically) to the richness of the 20th century, and then, more recently and especially since the fall of the Soviet Union and its allies, to the opportunity to get a purchase on the decades following the Second World War. A particular feature of the present book is its predominant focus on conflicts and developments in the 20th century and especially since the First World War, which have been given much less emphasis than the 18th century and the Victorian and Edwardian years in most previous publications, although new angles on 19th-century tourisms are also opened out and a new synthesis of tourist activities in classical antiquity is presented, providing a salutary reminder of the apparent ‘modernity’ of many of the prevailing tourist practices of the Roman Empire in its heyday.

The recurrent theme that dominates the book is the reciprocal relationship between tourism and the construction of imagined collective identities, both in terms of pulling together shared characteristics that might mark out a serviceable collective cultural or political identity for the representation and advancement of common interests, and of identifying ‘other’ collectivities that may be imagined and represented as exotic, challenging, different, dangerous and (in crucial senses) inferior, thereby rendering them attractive for tourism purposes (providing that perceptions of danger and less compelling fears of the ‘other’ do not override the attractions of interest and potential profit), and reinforcing and validating the values and practices ascribed to one's own imagined community. Analyses of the politics and cultural expression of such identities constitute a very important strand in current historical discourse, perhaps especially in the British context in response to debates on devolution and the ‘nations without a state’ in the British Isles but also in relation to the decline of the British Empire and the changing relationships between its constituent parts and the ‘mother country’, especially regarding the consequences of migration flows and settlement both out of and into the ‘mother country’ (Caunce et al., 2004; Hansen, 1996; Kirk, 2000; MacKenzie, 1995; Matless, 1998; Morley & Robins, 2001; Royle, 1998; Shaffer, 2001; Sheller, 2003; Spode, 2004; Walton, 2000c). Tourism both participates in the construction and consolidation of such identities, and affects the nature of what is constructed from the perspective both of hosts and guests, compromising the pristine ‘innocence’ of established scenes, artifacts and practices by bringing them into the market place, promoting hybridization between the ‘global’ (or a regional sub-set of that category) and the ‘local’, and placing authenticity on a pedestal which is also a stage, changing its nature from within. Such developments are productive of conflict in several dimensions. They arise within the host community, as members decide how to react to tourist presences, generating processes of conflict and negotiation which become more complex as the resort product cycle moves on, from reactions to early incursions, threats and opportunities to the involvement of residential commuter and retirement interests who have themselves been tourists in the past, as indeed will many practitioners in the hospitality and entertainment industries. As tourist practices and destinations change over time, usually in the direction of democratisation of access and provision, conflicts develop within the tourist industries (also involving the residential interests) as to which markets to promote, how to allocate potentially conflicting visitor cultures to different districts or to different times of year, week or day and how to manage those valued spaces that all or most of the visitors want to share. These, in turn, are, responses, in part, to antagonisms between different groups within the visiting public, whether based on nationality, region, class, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other factors that may generate damaging conflict in an environment where commercial success is based on the provision of relaxed enjoyment and security of property and the person, and where the nature and intrusiveness of the maintenance of order and agreed standards of public behaviour also becomes an issue. Tourism therefore both promotes and reinforces collective identities, and generates and exacerbates conflict, while at the same time playing its own part in the construction and content of those identities. It provides an excellent laboratory for the examination of a spectrum of social tensions on a very public stage, where interests, hopes and fears are articulated with unusual openness. And these processes can be studied at all levels, from the local as microcosm to the global as macrocosm. This book brings together 13 such studies, from the fine-grained local (Chase on the beach-huts of Frinton and Pussard on the detailed spatial and temporal organization of Belle Vue and the Crystal Palace) to the imperial and effectively the global (Lomine on the Roman Empire, MacKenzie on guide-books as representations of the British Empire). This is, perhaps, the key unifying theme of what follows (Baranowski & Furlough, 2001; Furlough, 1998; Gunn & Morris, 2001; Matless, 1998; Parry, 2002; Pastoriza, 2002; Shields, 1991).

We begin with three chapters on the representation of tourist journeys and destinations for advertising and advisory purposes, looking at how the ‘gaze’ of the intending tourist was directed and at the ways in which different kinds of journey and destination might be presented to a variety of potential markets. John MacKenzie's chapter takes a global perspective, examining guide-books to the British Empire, comparing output and priorities over time and between areas and taking in a variety of projected travel experiences alongside those of the tourist per se, who is particularly difficult to detach from ‘the traveller’ in this context. This builds on and feeds into lively current debates among cultural and political historians on the reciprocal relationships between ‘metropole’ and Empire, and on orientalism, to which MacKenzie himself has been a distinguished contributor (MacKenzie, 1995; Said, 1978). Jill Steward paints on a similarly broad canvas in looking at the development of the ‘travel press’ over the transitional half-century before the First World War, making a novel contribution to an important aspect of media history as well as that of tourism, while John Beckerson and John Walton occupy related territory by examining the literature on a neglected aspect of the representation and promotion of health-based tourism in Britain, the ascription of therapeutic properties to the air of places that were promoted as health resorts, whether mainly on the strength of such qualities (in a few cases) or as part of wider discourses about therapeutic environments (Ward, 1998).

The following six chapters move on from the issues introduced in the first three, to focus on the relationships between tourism promotion, tourist practices and the construction and representation of national and imperial identities, as foreshadowed especially by MacKenzie's chapter (see also Poutet, 1995). Lomine's chapter reminds us (not for the first time but pulling together a novel array of sources with verve and humour, and relating his material to concepts used in tourism studies) that the Roman Empire of the Augustan period anticipated many developments in tourism that it is too easy to label as simply ‘modern’; and that these were bound up with a shared sense of what it was to be a citizen of the Roman Empire. Larrinaga examines the development of a sophisticated and distinctive tourist industry over the century before the First World War in that ‘nation without a state’, the Basque Country in northern Spain, drawing on a neglected model advanced for south-western France by Michel Chadefaud to provide the first systematic account in English of this important phenomenon, which effectively pioneered the development of a recognisable modern tourist industry in Spain (Chadefaud, 1987). Hashimoto's attractive chapter opens out themes involving orientalism, imperial stereotypes, ‘race’, gender and the tourist gaze, analysing the representations of Japan from a tourism perspective that emerged in a popular and very successful musical comedy on the London stage in the 1890s, and offering transferable perspectives of relevance to debates on later periods and other parts of the world. There then follows a cluster of three strongly interrelated chapters, which examine tourism and national identities in what became the Third Reich. Baranowski and Semmens take complementary approaches to the role of tourism in Nazi Germany, the former looking at the limitations to and contradictions involved in the state's promotion of popular tourism for propaganda purposes through the ‘Strength through Joy’ movement, while the latter examines the role of the state in tourism promotion and its influences on the representations generated by tourist offices and guide-books. Peniston-Bird provides further insights into relationships between tourism and the construction and representation of national identity, complementing Baranowski and Semmens in another way by examining developments in post-imperial Austria as it struggled to articulate a marketable tourist identity over the generation before it was absorbed into Hitler's Germany in 1938.

The last four chapters pursue questions of space, identity and conflict in smaller but highly evocative and emblematic settings, with a more direct focus on the internal dynamics of tourist destinations. We begin with Walton's analysis of the development of Mallorca as a ‘paradise island’ for tourists and expatriates during the second quarter of the 20th century, exploring the contradictions and changes entailed in the contested paradigm of ‘paradise’ and the imagery associated with it, with special reference to changing representations of the contested space of El Terreno, to the west of Palma de Mallorca, as economic and cultural changes shifted it from being associated with nature, tranquillity and a version of the simple life towards an alternative version of ‘paradise’ founded on hedonism and self-indulgence. Pussard's chapter returns us to Britain, looking comparatively at complex popular pleasure destinations with multiple attractions, markets and meanings, and emphasising the kaleidoscopic and changing variety of messages and experiences to be encountered at the commercially-run Belle Vue entertainment centre at Manchester as compared with the less commercial and more overtly educative ‘rational recreation’ ethos of the Crystal Palace complex at Sydenham in the south-west London suburbs. An important theme of both chapters is the deconstruction of simplistic notions of ‘mass tourism’. As discussed earlier, this is a term whose uncritical, contradictory and value-laden use, emerging from and extending the snobberies of the ‘traveller/tourist’ distinction (Buzard, 1993), continues to bedevil much of the literature; and Pussard's work also raises questions about the relationships between theme parks, exhibitions and museums, between the thrilling, the hedonistic, the recreational and the educational in commercial tourist destinations, which resonate with several current debates (Cross & Walton, 2005). Finally, the chapters by O'Neill and Chase focus on the contested meanings given to valued spaces in English tourist settings in the inter-war years. At this point, the English Lake District, a literary landscape where tensions between seekers after contemplative quiet and visitors who wanted to use the challenging environment as a playground had already been emerging strongly in the late 19th century (with earlier antecedents), was experiencing new pressures from the internal combustion engine (middle-class motorists, motorboat users and ‘trippers’ in ‘charabancs’) (Hind & Mitchell, 2004), while the Essex coast resorts, where a desirable environment was constructed in terms of sea-bathing and ‘social tone’, tried to cope with conflicts over new fashions in bathing and beachwear, which were reflected in the allocation and use of private and public space on beaches and foreshores in contrasting ways at exclusive Frinton and plebeian Clacton (see also Booth, 2001; Daley, 2003; Huntsman, 2001).

A further important theme of this book concerns the need to continue to develop the use of methodologies and sources involving media and visual representations. The critical and constructive use of guide-books, travel writing, architecture, planning documents and the content and reported nature of stage performances, alongside more conventional historical archives and newspapers, as deployed in the present book, needs to be extended to embrace the systematic use of photographic, film, television and other media sources, to say nothing of oral history (Mazierska, 2002; Urry, 1995; Walton, 2004b; Wright, 2002). Representations of landscape in relation to tourism and the construction and reconstruction of identity are crucial here (Matless, 1998). Such approaches take the historian on to territory colonised hitherto mainly by exponents of cultural, literary, visual and media studies, but with a growing cultural history presence. A further set of issues that requires attention involves analysis of the origins of the immense environmental footprints that tourist industries leave across the globe, requiring tourism historians to engage more directly than hitherto with developments in environmental history (O'Neill, 2001). Such engagement will provide new dimensions to the well-established association between histories of tourism, travel and means of transport (Lyth, 2003).

This book thus contributes in distinctive ways to an expanding historical literature, which is not the exclusive ‘property’ of historians (nor is it written exclusively by them), and of which many researchers in tourism studies need to become more aware. The only ‘text-book’ covering the field is John Towner's An Historical Geography of Recreation and Tourism in the Western World (1996), a comprehensive and painstaking review of the literature (allied to the author's own research on the Grand Tour and 19th-century Spain), which lacked a distinctive voice of its own and never got into paperback. The pick of a varied crop of recent surveys is Orvar Löfgren, On Holiday: A History of Vacationing (1999), whose anthropological perspective and central focus on comparisons between Sweden and the USA make for a distinctive viewpoint that complements the present volume (Löfgren, 1999; see also Goldstone, 2001; Turner & Ash, 1975). The best work in literary and cultural studies concentrates more on the 18th and 19th centuries than the 20th, as in the work of James Buzard and Chloe Chard, although Paul Fussell's problematic work has also been influential for a later period (Buzard, 1993; Chard, 1999; Fussell, 1982). John Pemble's classic piece of cultural history The Mediterranean Passion also has a predominantly 19th-century focus, while Lynne Withey's From Grand Tours to Cook's Tours is a well-written, well-documented story with limited bibliographical, critical or conceptual range (Pemble, 1987; Withey, 1997). The seductive title of Fred Inglis's The Delicious History of the Holiday (Inglis, 2000), which was reviewed with enthusiasm in some circles within tourism studies, is particularly misleading. This book has some interesting transferable ideas but it is not a history, as the author himself acknowledges; and such speculative claims as the one that Thomas Cook made a significant contribution to the growth of Blackpool, for which no evidence is offered because there is none (Walton, 1998), take post-modern relativism further than most of us would want to go. The book illustrates the limited extent of current exchanges between historians and many tourism studies practitioners by ignoring, for example, the extensive literature on the urban, economic, political and cultural history of resort destinations in Britain, which is now developing counterparts elsewhere in the world.

Overlapping with these developments, a growing literature on the cultural history of beach tourism should be emphasised. It is of variable quality but takes much of its inspiration from Alain Corbin's stimulating treatment of the cultural revolution that gave rise to the possibility of the sea becoming a favoured tourist destination, The Lure of the Sea, a book whose innovative and almost incantatory power transcends the francophone and francocentric limitations of its geographical coverage (Corbin, 1994; and see also Urbain, 1994). Other general histories of the beach, more extensive in their temporal and geographical coverage if less sharply focused on particular theoretical interpretations, also have insights

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