Contested Tourism Commodities: What’s for Sale
This book discusses tourism niches as contested commodities that have grown and become part of the tourist setting in many destinations. Over time, they develop organically, and, in some cases, underground before they explode into the mainstream, and, more often than not, cause controversy. The text traces the roots of different tourism trends, using examples from both industry and existing studies, revealing the importance of understanding their key drivers, dynamics and impacts. It is in managers’ interest to monitor such trends and tourist pursuits as they cross over because they hold the potential to influence new markets, as destinations diversify their tourist offering.
This volume explores a number of different tourism niches, including slum tourism, trophy hunting tourism, cosmetic surgery tourism, volunteer tourism, and sex tourism, to name but a few. It shows that the margins between contested commodity and mainstream acceptance are fluid and relative, becoming increasingly blurred. In this environment, it is easy for a seemingly marginal tourist pursuit to cross into the mainstream. What is pivotal in this emerging picture is that, as the understanding of each niche matures into the broader public’s consciousness, and supply grows, it becomes another experience that can be replicated, homogenised and sold. Turning these niches into tourism products requires enough understanding of them to be sold commercially and further segmented to benefit as many stakeholders as possible. In this reality, it is paramount that the tourism industry maintains an open mind and explores the potential of turning new trends into products for tourist consumption.
Konstantinos Tomazos is a Senior Lecturer in International Tourism at the University of Strathclyde, UK. His work places emphasis on new trends and niches in tourism and their effect on the tourism industry and local recipients and other stakeholders. He has presented and published on different forms of tourism, and the process that takes new tourism niches from the margins to the mainstream. More specifically, his work focuses on the realm of alternative tourists, tourism micro-niches and “next-gen” travellers.
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