Dr Jim Butcher, the author of the article above, has researched on its various facets of tourism such as its moralization, innovations, and cultural, ethical, ecological and anthropological aspects and also as a tool for sustainable development. He has several publications to his credit (www. canterbury. ac. uk). The article under review authored by Dr Butcher appears as a book chapter in the Book “Innovations in Cultural Tourism”(2001) edited by him.
Key issues of the article are the positive and potential aspects of cultural tourism which some critiques discount it as antidevelopment and prone to cause conflicts between the host and the tourist. The author is of the view that cultural tourism has its roots to the man’s craving for alien cultures and the need for relief from monotony of modernity and as such it has naturally come as a blessing to the economically backward regions. He has found three aspects of culture as a function, as a past and as a difference overshadowing the goodness of cultural tourism.
The main aim of the author is to dispel the negative impression created by these aspects in the minds of the critics. The book chapter under evaluation is not in layman’s language. Even a discernible student of tourism would find it difficult to distinguish between cultural baggage and cultural tourism or relationship between the two terms. Whatever Dr Butcher says about cultural tourism has been in one aspect or another touched upon by his peers.
That the cultural tourism has come of age and is capable of benefiting the economically weaker nations or places within nations and that it promotes cultural exchanges, fusion of culture, that it simply promotes or creates awareness of host’s culture and that it has been gradually making countries sans boundaries with only natural barriers by creating a feeling of oneness, have all been also discussed by other authors on the subject if one happens to visit the website of the UNESCO on cultural tourism. (unesco.
org) and many others. His unique findings are that the ‘over functional culture’, its ‘past’ character and its “ difference” outlook overshadow the real creative character of cultural tourism. He has taken pains to explain all the three in almost four pages out of hardly six, which is an indicator of his serious concern towards Cultural Tourism. His conclusion that cultural tourism results in economic development is indeed true. Man is basically gregarious and therefore cultural tourism with its benefits is unstoppable.
The cultural tourists and the hosts are the actors and we are the audience. It means differently to each one of them. If the actors are allowed to have their own way, the inevitable result will be what the author Dr Jim concludes with, that is development. There is no doubt cultural tourism is growing segment of the travel market “Mass marketing is giving way to one-to-one marketing with travel being tailored to the interests of the individual consumer.
A growing number of visitors are becoming special interest travellers who rank the arts, heritage and/or other cultural activities as one of the top five reasons for travelling”(nasaa-arts. org). It has been said that mass tourism has had its detrimental effects but there are advocates for mass tourism for its own benefits. Certain undesirable conflicts of cultures are just harmless side effects and are not to be taken seriously for the sake of larger benefits cultural tourism.
On the whole Dr Jim’s contribution in this chapter leaves the reader more informed and makes him act responsibly as an audience whether as a policy maker or whoever, in order to preserve and promote the goodness of cultural tourism markedly different from mass tourism. REFERENCES Butcher, J. (ed) (2001), Innovations in Cultural Tourism, ATLAS, Tilburg http://www. canterbury. ac. uk/business-sciences/sport-science-tourism-and-leisure/staff/dr-jim-butcher. asp accessed on July 12, 2006 http://www. nasaa-arts. org accessed on July 13, 2006 http://portal. unesco. org/culture/en/ev. php-accessed on July 13, 2006