Planning host and guest interactions: Moving beyond the empty meeting ground in African encounters

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Journal Article
Current Issues in Tourism, 2005, 8 (4), pp. 286 - 305
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In many senses viewing the 'other' has always been a part of the tourist activity of dominant cultures. The 'other' has been seen as a source of difference and excitement with possibilities for exotic pleasure while at the same time dominant cultures have reinforced their own sense of superiority through viewing the 'other'. The view from the 'other' is now becoming a part of tourism research and enabling mechanisms for this view are being developed in tourism planning. This paper seeks to examine how we can move beyond MacCannell's view of the contact between tourists and hosts as an 'empty meeting ground'. Just as postcolonial theorists have been critical of the exclusion of the 'other' in tourism theory, we argue for the voice of the 'other' to be heard in tourism planning practices. In this paper we examine the extent this is able to bring benefits to the process of community-based tourist development in developing countries such as Tanzania and Kenya. The paper theoretically scrutinises the relation between and the fluidity of the concepts of tourism, communities and power and the actuality of approaches to tourism planning that do not involve a submissive, subservient, exoticised and inferiorised view of the 'other'. The particulars of inclusion of the voice of the 'other' bring some fresh insights to Western notions of community-based tourism planning. © 2005 R. van der Duim et al.
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