Tourism as Experience and Desire for Territory and Traveling

Tourism as Experience and Desire for Territory and Traveling

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3369-0.ch002
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The approach the author takes on tourism is not related to economic analysis, nor even a political analysis stricto sensu. He configures tourism as a cultural activity. The perspective developed on tourism is here phenomenological and socio-anthropological. Hence, the author does not dwell on business (nec/otium – not/leisure; activity, work, commerce) but mostly on leisure (otium – time free from activity). First, he points out that tourism reflects our current obsession with one territory and traveling in one territory. The second element developed in this chapter is the experience of traveling, which is always a possibility of an encounter – an encounter with the other and an encounter with nature.
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The Experience Of Traveling

The second element I will develop in this essay is the experience of traveling, which is always a possibility of an encounter — an encounter with the other and an encounter with nature 2. Nevertheless, electronic traveling, encountering the other and nature, does not include the body of the other nor the roughness of nature. It includes mostly fictions of the other, simulacra, effervescences, and euphoria of the other. It includes the spectacle of the other — which, according to Guy Debord (1991), are nothing but “guardians of the sleep of reason” (p. 16, i. e., the reason of the other: of its difference, diversity, and authenticity) 3.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Territory: Territories are doors and bridges to the encounter with the other; they are possibilities of encounter; they are meeting points in the search for possibilities of encountering the other, the current territories, physical and spiritual territories, means, more and more, landscapes, atmospheres, and electronic environments. In fact, our life is now a circumnavigation of digital and virtual territories.

Cultural Tourism: A human strategy to return to the territory and travel in a territory (physical or spiritual), searching for a response to the acceleration of our time and its electronic mobilization. Cultural tourism is tourism as an art of connections and erotica. As much as experiencing the world's monuments, the tourist also becomes part of the tourism they experience.

Traveling Experience: Traveling is always a possibility of an encounter – an encounter with the other and an encounter with nature. In the global culture, opened by information and communication technologies, flows predominate, including flows of people, tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, visiting professionals, and other groups and individuals on the move. These travelers constantly update mobile cultures, developed through portable devices such as smartphones. Moreover, creative cities or smart cities are nothing but places and non-places of nomadic cultures.

Tourism and Mass Culture: Tourism is the experience the masses have of traveling. It is today a mobilization through machines, from choosing destinations on the internet to booking accommodation and a flight online, with a travel agency, to remote, exotic, and archaic destinations, increasingly experienced as unique events: singular, different, and authentic.

Cultural Heritage: Cultural heritage encompasses a mesh of tangible and intangible assets, a mesh of the material and tangible domain, natural landscapes and edified structures, sites, and monuments, and an intangible dimension, of oral traditions and social practices.

Electronic Experience: The new technologies, including media, have a role in redefining culture, that is, in delimiting the human. The electronic experience expands our ability to fictionalize, tell stories, and make narratives using resources from various media, including different technical formats and languages: photographs, picture postcards, selfies, videos, films, and other media.

Melancholic Imaginary: Traveling through websites, portals, socio-technical networks, digital repositories, and virtual museums is a somewhat melancholy experience that expresses a tragic imaginary because we enjoy images of them more than enjoying the things themselves. In technological acceleration and mobilization, we no longer have a solid and secure foundation, a known and controlled territory, and a stable and guaranteed identity.

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