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Alan Machin: Tourism As Education
Home page: blogs, introductions, links to main pages
 
 
Berlin: Editing a Townscape
... and reading a city that has had many rebuilders
 
 
Making Sense of The Travel Learning Experience- 1
1 Information Streams
 
 
Making Sense of the Travel Learning Experience - 2
Some basic theories
 
 
Back to Basics: Presentation given at the Cuba EduTourism Conference
The CETA Conference in Havana, Cuba, 8/9 November 2010
 
 
About the author
Comments - CV - photos
 
 
Showcases
At the heart of the tourist experience
 
 
Learning through Landscapes
Exploring Oxfordshire (and a bit of Gloucestershire!)
 
 
The Environment As Data: Building New Theories For Tourism
How tourists relate to places
 
 
Sail Gives Way to Steam
A return visit discovers just how much has been achieved in this iconic restoration
 
 
Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth Reenactment
Visits to Leicester and the battlefield event, 2013
 
 
Along The Way
Recollections and Reflections of 60+ Years' Learning about the World and its Ways
 
 
On the Edge of the New World
Shaping New England
 
 
Flatland
Exploring Holderness in East Yorkshire; October 2012
 
 
Past Historic
Graf Zepplin, Spain 1968, OS History, Much Wenlock Olympics, Chatham Dockyard, Hawes Tourism, Colonial Williamsburg,
 
 
A Summer of Travelling / Matthew Starr
Three months' backpacking in Africa, Asia and Australia
 
 
East Anglia
The Broads, Pensthorpe natural history, Radar Museum, Caister Lifeboat Service and more!
 
 
A Richer Earth
Discoveries in the landscape and attractions of Shropshire
 
 
Blog Index Page
Blog pages from 2009 listed
 
 
From Strip Map to Sat Nav
'Finding the way' aids to exploration
 
 
Showcasing the World
How the Tourist Microcosm took centre stage
 
 
Doing A Dissertation
Notes to help students preparing their proposals
 
 
The Japanese Tsunami Destruction at First Hand
Sarah and Tom Wadsworth saw for themselves
 
 
Showcases: Examples
The range and variety of tourism's focal points examined
 
 
Jigsaw: Frameworks of Knowledge
The tourist jigsaw puzzle of - knowledge
 
 
Bibliography
Books and other works useful in studying tourism as education
 
 
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 2
The development of tourism as education, 1845 -
 
 
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 1
Tourism's educational origins and management
 
 
Impressions of Tourism in Cuba
Thoughts on having seen some of the country myself
 
 
Captain James Cook: North Yorkshire Days
Tracing the early life of Britain's greatest maritime explorer
 
 
Hunting the Hound of the Baskervilles
Tracking down places that inspired the famous detective story and moulded Dartmoor's image
 
 
Exploring the Idea of Dark Tourism
What is it? Is it a useful idea?
 
 
Talking to Tourists
Visitor interpretation - guide books, visitor centres and other media
 
 
Shades of Light and Dark in the Garden of England
An exploration in East Sussex and Kent, June/July 2010
 
 
Hunting the Gladiator and the Gecko
A thirteen-year search for a wartime adventure
 
 
Steam Up For A Famous Film's Birthday Party
The Railway Children weekend on the Worth Valley line raises questions about heritage presentations
 
 
Anne-Marie Rhodes: Making a Difference in South East Asia
Leeds Met graduate of '07 describes her activities
 
 
Discoveries in Northumberland, April 2010
Alnwick Gardens; Winter's Gibbet; Holy Island, Cragside, Wallington Hall
 
 
Discoveries in the Midlands, March 2010
Bletchley Park National Codes and Cipher Centre; and the Rollright Stones
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - April 2010
The development of tourism as education continued
 
 
Jigsaw Puzzle!
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
 
 
Leaders Into The Field
People who inspired everyone to explore
 
 
Alan Machin's blogs - February and March 2010
Postings on the history tourism as education - redirection
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - January 2010
Tourist photography and souvenirs
 
 
Earlier front-page blog postings - January 2010 onwards
Archived after being on the Home Page
 
 
Bickering
News from higher education and - beyond
 
 
The Development of Educational Tourism
Key dates in the development of educational tourism
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - December 2009
Christmas Quiz and other postings
 
 
Analysing Heritage Tourism
Ideas and perspectives on a hugely important sector
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - November 2009
Visitors' Views of Stonehenge, West Sussex - and other Postings
 
 
Are Universities Losing Their Way?
Reflections having retired
 
 
Teaching Tourism At Leeds Met
Remembering the Best
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - October 2009
Thoughts about university life and discovery by travel
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - September 2009
Further postings about a trip last month to the USA, and about higher education
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - August 2009
Postings about a trip this month to the USA
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - July 2009
The Story So Far reaches the summer
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - June 2009
The Story So Far looks back on seventeen years at Leeds Met
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - May 2009
Another month of The Story So Far
 
 
Alan Machin's blog - April 2009
Yet more of the Story So Far
 
 
Alan Machin's blog - March 2009
More of The Story So Far
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - February 2009
The Story So Far - pioneers, people and places
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog: January 2009
The Story So Far .... first postings of '09
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog: December 2008
The Story So Far .... latest postings
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog - November '08
The Story So Far.... continued
 
 
Alan Machin's Blog: October 2008
The Story So Far....
 
 
No Place Like Rome
The eternal city with the eternal tourists
 
 
Charleston, South Carolina
A photo essay about a fine historic city
 
 
Idealog - December 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
 
 
Idealog - November 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
 
 
The Educational Origins of Tourism
Discussion paper
 
 
Idealog - October 2007
Coton Military Cemetery; Education and Tourism; Chatham Maritime; Dickens World; Quiz Answers; Tourist Guides; Mediation In Tourism
 
 
Idealog - September 2007
Plane Paradox;Tour Guiding; Where in the World?; Do Tourism Students Know Where They Are?; Leeds Met's Wow!; Sea Harrier; Scarborough and Tourism As Education; Doing A Dissertation; Types of Tourist; A Media Lens; Cost of Travelling Alone; Risk of Bias?
 
 
Idealog - August 2007
A People Industry; Heritage Interpretation; Lud's Church; Tourists Go Home!; Stone Gappe YHA; Insight Guides; Eyewitness Guides; Bramhope Tunnel; Elizabethan Progress; Information Quality Matrix
 
 
Idealog - July 2007
Hidden Heroes, Health Tourism, Holme Fen Posts; Harrogate (again); Whitby Abbey; Dramatic Interpretation; Harrogate Interpretation, Attractions and Royal Hall
 
 
Idealog - June 2007
Christian Pilgrimage; Cincinnati Museums Centre; The Coming of the Guide Book; Talking to Tourists - Media, Stages of the Visit, The Service Journey; Tourism's Missing Link; The Final Call; SATuration level; Halifax's Edwardian Window on the World
 
 
Idealog - May 2007
Martin and Osa Johnson, Wensleydale Creamery, Malham Tarn, Thomas Cook, Northern Ireland's Tourism Rebuild, Jamestown Festival Park, Cite des Sciences
 
 
Idealog - April 2007
The Promenade Plantee, The Jardin des Plantes, Environmental Data, Victorian Beauty Spot Rediscovered, Jamestown, The Anglers' Country Park, Children's Museums, Fairburn Ings
 
 
Idealog - March 2007
A Sense of the Past- The 'Amsterdam', The Outdoor Classroom, Film-Induced Tourism, Making Tracks for the Coast and Country, Pictures, Context and Meaning, Classics-on-Sea, Hi Hi Everyone!, Dark Side of the Dream, Holodyne - The Action Cycle
 
 
Idealog - February 2007
Don't Go There!, Space Tourism, The Crystal Cathedral, New Books on Tourism, Dark Tourism - Undercliffe Cemetery, Showcase - The Louvre, A Class Act, First Impressions Count, Postal Pleasures, Canaletto in Venice, Serpent Mound, Capsule Culture etc
 
 
Idealog - January 2007
Capsule Culture,Seaside Style, Poble Espanyol, Mallorca, Edgar Dale, Children's Holiday Homes, Representations of Reality, Outdoor Education in Germany, Baedeker Guides, Geography Textbooks, Environmental Data Theory etc
 
 
Idealog - December 2006
Writers on Landscape, Story Books, The Deep, Flour Power and the Archers,Showcases: Grand Tour, Halifax Piece Hall, Books of Concern about Tourism, Tourist Traces, Tourist Typologies, The Growth of Educational Tourism, The Field Studies Council, etc
 
 
Idealog - November 2006
A blog of ideas, comments and notes
 
 
Travel To Understand: Belfast
Telling the stories of troubled times
 
 
World Quiz 2010
Geography with a tourism angle
 
 
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
An outstanding educational facility in California
 
 
Chicago: Tourism Re-Imaging
A closer view of an iconic city
 
 
Colonial Williamsburg
A Virginia history showcase
 
 
A Social Club Outing By Train, 1935
How to do Scotland in 30 hours flat
 
 
Going Dutch
Presenting the past in the Netherlands
 
 
Keukenhof: Business is Blooming
Using tourism to promote an industry
 
 
A View of Italy for the City
Trentham Gardens Revived
 
 
A Case Study in Heritage Management
A curious tale of misleading publicity
 
 
Old Rice Farm
The story of the house in the 'holler'
 
 
Perfection in Paradise: The Eden Project
New page being added: The Eden Project's design for success
 
 
Escaping From Slavery: Facing Our Past
The US National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
 
 
Prague Tourist Shows
Outstanding showcase attractions in the city
 
 
Retracing the Steps: Tourism as Education
ATLAS Conference paper given in Finland, 2000
 
 
Tourism and Historic Towns: The Cultural Key
A background paper for a Council of Europe Conference
 
 
The Social Helix
Visitor Interpretation as a Tool for Social Development, 1989
 
 
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 1
Reports and Pictures
 
 
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 2
Photos and reports of Friday 17 Feb onwards
 
 
Malta Residential, 14-21 February 2006 - Page 3
Reports and pictures from Sunday, 19 February onwards
 
 
Tourism Alumni Reunion, 8 March 2003
Leeds tourism students reunion 2003
 
 
World Geography Quiz 1
A test of your knowledge
 
 
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
The answers
 
 
Tall Ships Race 2010 Converged on Hartlepool
A major event-based boost for tourism in the town
 
 
Plymouth: From the Tamar to the Sea
Starting point for explorations round the globe
 
 
Plimoth Plantation
A reconstruction of the Mayflower settlers' village of the 1620s on the north east coast of North America
 
 
World Geography Quiz 2010 - Answers
Geography with a tourism angle
 
 
World Geography Quiz - Answers
 
 
Christmas Quiz 2009 - Answers
 
 
Oxford
A day in the city including the Botanic Garden
 
 
Tourist Showcases
Examples from around the world
 
 

Idealog - October 2007

Idealog header Oct 07
High Moorland Centre, Princetown

Opening Up The Exploration of Dartmoor

29.10.07

The High Moorlands Centre in Princetown, Devon, is part of the Dartmoor National Park's interpretive strategy. It stands close to Dartmoor prison in the small town high on the moors. The Centre houses exhibitions about the history and wildlife of the Dartmoor National Park. Fixed displays are augmented by interactive items that can be used to explore life on the moors before setting off to explore the real thing. The Park Authority produces leaflets and booklets and for many years has organised an extensive programme of guided walks. There are also other interpretive and information centres within the Park.

The building itself is of interest. The original building was completed in 1810 to house staff at the jail and officers from a nearby army barracks. Later it served as the Duchy Hotel with a fine reputation. During the twentieth century it acted as a canteen for prison officers who did not have their own domestic facilities nearby. In 1993 the present High Moorlands Centre was installed and it was opened by the Prince of Wales in the summer of that year.
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The Polite Tourist

The Polite Tourist

27.10.07

Adrian Tinniswood's title is not a new classification of tourist but a reference to the people who visited country houses over four centuries. It would still make an interesting classification scale with a bit of developing, though: polite house visitors at one end, drunken stag party yobbos at the other. This morning's news was partly about police setting up a road block on the main route in to Blackpool to hand minibus loads of twenty-somethings warnings about bad behaviour. One of my students has begun a study of stag and hen party rowdies in her native Latvia and Lithuania. After Greek resorts, San Antonio and Prague the people of Riga are faced with alcohol-fuelled agressives from Britain and the problems they cause. 'Carnage' is a favourite description for a party in UK student life. Usually that means noise, vomit and broken glass, but on someone else's beach or boulevarde it can turn into something much worse.

In Tinniswood's history (published by the National Trust, that epitome of polite behaviour) the growth and changing nature of visiting great houses is chronicled in delightful detail. The book is a new edition and has many excellent colour plates. His account runs from Tudor times to postwar Britain, from when house owners impressed their neighbours with their great good taste up to the days when the modern equivalent entertained ticket-buying customers in order to pay for maintenance and death duties. A telling cartoon from Punch magazine in 1947 shows an aging gent warning his wayward son with the threat that unless he changes his behaviour, dad will leave the house to him rather than the National Trust. Being saddled with a property liable to soak up money was no idle threat in the years of austerity.

I wonder if junior had just got back from a stag party in Riga?



Tinniswood, Adrian (1998) The Polite Tourist: Four Centuries Of Country House Visiting, 2nd ed, London, National Trust Enterprises Ltd
209pp
253x225mm
0 7078 0224 5
21.50
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American Military Cemetery, Coton/Madingley

Dark Tourism - Coton American Military Cemetery

26.10.07

Previous postings (especially in August 2006) discussed dark tourism. In Cambridgeshire is one of two American Military Cemeteries in the UK - though some people might refer to it as at Madingley. Just west of Cambridge, the cemetery is called Coton in references at the chapel on the site.

British military casualties of war are often buried in home towns the length and breadth of the country. Others lie in military cemeteries abroad, close to the sites of the battles in which they were killed. The American dead were either transported home or buried in similar graveyards near where they fell. Britain has two cemeteries with American dead - Brookwood near London and Coton.

Whether the visitors to these places are relatives mourning a loved one, history buffs wanting to trace information or people who have some morbid interest in death reflects just an average spread of motivations for visiting. There can be little argument that the curving ranks of over a thousand neat headstones and two thousand names carved into a long wall commemorating personnel whose remains were never identified has a powerful visual impact. It may be that for some the imagery in the statues along the commemorative wall and in model planes on a relief map in the chapel worship war, the more so in the age of the Iraqi conflict. For others they are a necessity in order to overcome tyranny. But does the victory of democracy through war lead inevitably to tyranny by the triumphant in the next?
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Tourism and education variations

Education and Tourism Relationships

24.10.07

It's as well to clarify what this web site means by "tourism as education" and how it differs from other phrases combining the terms.

The 'others' first. "Tourism education" means the training of people to work in the industry - operations, attractions, local government, hospitality, etc. There is a wide and fast-growing literature of text books and journal articles besides college and university courses devoted to this task. "Educational tourism" is the use of travel in schools, colleges, universities and adult education courses to teach and to learn about all kinds of aspects of the world around us. "Tourism as education" recognises that all tourism - and travel, however that may be different - has some kind of informal educational effect, as opposed to the formality of educational-course tourism. So even lying on a beach in the Bahamas, doing a bit of swimming, eating and drinking at regular intervals and little else, will still be a source of new experiences, information and opinions for the people doing it: that the weather is better than at home, the local food different, the environment more attractive. All these discoveries are made by accident in a process the more to do with learning than teaching. By definition this form of 'world discovery', though less structured and of varied impact, is much more extensive than "educational tourism". And often more fun, too.
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Chatham Maritime - shopping

Chatham Maritime - shopping

23.10.07

Dickens World and docks: the previous postings referred to regeneration work going on in the former naval base area of Chatham in Kent.

Instead of a new mall building the shops of Chatham Maritime are centred in a refurbished engineering works that made boilers for ships. The shops are common enough (ie pretty much as found everywhere) but the structure housing them is not. It might have been scrubbed down and painted up, plate glassed and polished but a glance beyond the obvious reveals Victorian iron work of strength mixed with elegance - columns and tie-beams supporting a high roof over a magnificent space. This is a new development and looks not yet established. Shops have opened and closed and others are moving in, a situation suggesting that this development has not finally defined its market. As the marinas and other planned facilities nearby draw in more people the whole place should populate itself better and give a much-needed boost to the town's economy.

Is this tourism-as-education? Dickens World is. The Historic Dockyard nearby certainly is. What about shops? Yes, they is - sorry - are, too. Think of the goods brought from foreign factories, in the USA, south east Asia, Europe. Think about the images being sold on boxes and tins and books and in frames of strange, exotic lands with names redolent of romantic travel: Taiwan, Bangalore, San Jose, Sydney in New South Wales. First discover your shopping centre: next discover its windows on your world - then go see for yourself if the reality delivers the romance.
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Dickens World interiors

Chatham Maritime - Dickens World

22.10.07

A the centre of the dockland area being converted to new uses is a shopping centre. Opposite this, and flanked by a restaurant, bar and cinema complex, is Dickens World (yes, spelled without an apostrophe). Some time ago an earlier Charles Dickens attraction in Rochester was closed. That centre was an interpretive centre rather than museum. The new attraction, which opened in May this year, is an interpretive centre bordering on a theme park: and yet, the label theme park does not do it justice. Yes, it has a ride - a boat trip with a splash or two of water to give some tactile element to the experience - but that does not adequately describe the particular mix stirred together here.

It is an unexpected place for this kind of attraction. It isn't in a park, isn't in a historic house and is not a museum of objects. In a way it has more to do with the Odeon alongside, being more like a film set or a stage on which the visitors can be bit-part actors. Being next to a shopping centre, selling its admission tickets and emptying its clientele out into a shop of its own is likely to have the armchair sociologists bemoaning yet another example of the commodification of culture: but then, some of them earn their own crust by crying 'commercialism killing culture' before their brains have started even to enter first gear. It needs to be pointed out that Dickens was highly commercially-minded in the way he wrote his part-publication novels designed to dangle his readers over a cliff edge with each weekly instalment. His crusades against the social evils of his day were effective precisely because he wrote excellent crowd-pleasers capable of stirring up real anger at the same time. The new Chatham attraction aims to be a crowd-pleaser, too, but also has a clear objective of converting visitors into readers.

Dickens World makes its visitors climb a flight of stairs as if into a theatre. The punters are then delivered along a kind of gallery with a view of a ramshackle representation of Victorian London which is the stage for the boat ride; and a large open space in the middle of more buildings, each of which has some sort of episode in the visitor experience. Two suitably costumed staff draw visiting children into old-style games such as bowling hoops, skipping, playing diabolo and a tiny version of skittles on a barrel-top.

Around the open space are further fun and games areas related to Dickens' stories and times. there is a representation of a Nicholas Nickleby-type classroom in which interactive display screens offer a quiz about the author's work set out like a game of snakes and ladders. There is a haunted house, a dressing-up-in-costume area, two shop representations, a music-hall theatre witha 25-minute animatronic show, the boat ride, a modern restaurant with bar and another small theatre which runs a 10-minute 3D film presentation of impressive inventiveness about Dickens' travels in America and Europe.

Having visited with three other adults and three children aged from 9 to 15 who were absorbed by the place I can speak for the success of it in keeping us all happily occupied, fed and entertained over four or five hours. Ever hungry for fun we asked for more and, unlike poor Oliver, were given generous helpings.
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Chatham Maritime - docks area

Chatham Maritime

21.10.07

Tourism and regeneration is a mix well known. Around the world many towns and cities have used tourism development to kick-start economic and social activity. Many of these projects have been in waterside areas. A new one - well, really speaking, not a new project but a development by the South East England Development Agency building on the work of two decades - is Chatham Maritime. That is the label given now to a series of developments in the former naval dockyards of Chatham, incorporating a familar mix of shopping, entertainment, restaurants - and tourist attractions. The foundation was really the conversion of parts of the historic dockyards into a new maritime museum some years ago. In addition, close by is Fort Amherst, a partly-underground fortress which had a military history spanning a couple of hundred years or more, culminating in its use as the regional control centre for the defence of south east Britain during World War II.

Now, the Regional Development Agency for the south east is pushing a wider project, and the next couple of postings will look at parts of it. Above is a section of the old docks undergoing redevelopment with marina facilities and space for a number of buildings serving visitors and the local town.

What makes the project interesting is the precise blend of entertainment, education and shopping which is taking place here, as the next posting will show.
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Fuzzy world

Quiz Answers

15.10.07

These are the answers to the quiz posted on various dates last month. It was opened to level 1 students at Leeds Met and Joe Kenney won the prize of a copy of Holloway's "The Business of Tourism" for getting 57 out of 63 answers correct. Joe tells me he hasn't got a particular background in geography, but wanted to meet the challenge and scoured the atlas for the results.

Q1: Gran Canaria
Q2: Map locations - A Alaska; B Panama Canal; C Chile; D Greenland; E South Atlantic Ocean; F Iceland; G Turkey; H Red Sea; I Madagasca; J Sri Lanka; K Himalayas; L Japan
Q3: Map locations - 1 Belfast; 2 Londonderry/Derry; 3 Enniskillen; 4 Bangor; 5 Aberystwyth; 6 Swansea; 7 Cardiff; 8 Inverness; 9 Aberdeen; 10 Oban; 11 Edinburgh; 12 Glasgow; 13 Liverpool; 14 York; 15 Birmingham; 16 Norwich; 17 London; 18 Southampton; 19 Bristol; 20 Plymouth
Q4: Map 1 - 1 Minorca; 2 Portugal; 3 Andorra; 4 Iceland; 5 Faroe Islands; 6 Sweden; 7 Lithuania; 8 Belarus; 9 Bulgaria; 10 Croatia
Map 2 - 11 Bay of Biscay; 12 Baltic Sea; 13 The North Cape; 15 Black Sea; 16 Cyprus; 17 Adriatic; 18 Mount Etna; 19 River Rhone; 20 The Pyrenees
Map 3 - 1 Oslo; 2 Helsinki; 3 St Petersburg; 4 Krakow; 5 Vienna; 6 Athens; 7 Venice; 8 Marseille; 9 Madrid; 10 Berlin
Q5: Petra in Jordan
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Tour Guides

Tourist Guides

07.10.07

Tour guiding has a centuries-old tradition even though it only recently took on the position of a commercial industry. Many modern guides are in fact paid for by not-for-profit organisations such as national parks, others earn a living by guiding, if only part time. Travellers have always paid local people to guide them through unfamiliar territory - witness those TV travellers on Globetrekker or countless BBC series. Some are employed to show the way, translate or deal with paperwork. Others choose places to visit of interest to their clients and supply suitably interesting information about them. Michael Palin's latest journey, through eastern Europe, relies on a long series of people. It's noticeable just how much - or how little - of an 'official' line these guides follow according to the shade of government in power or level of freedom of expression allowed. I remember making a trip through Russia in 1964 where the guides were often Communist Party members, one of whom with a different party reported on a tourist taking photos of a munitions factory without realising what it was. On reaching the Polish border the Russian guards opened cameras and removed film and tore out diary pages in order to ensure none of the party got away with similar pictures - and were warned very effectively about obeying rules.

In the early middle ages pilgrims to Rome or Jerusalem could hire local guides - and even buy lists of places to see. Those on the Grand Tour from Tudor times on did the same, though they also took a tutor as a tour manager. In the American Rocky Mountains at the end of the nineteenth century a Nature Guide called Enos Mills led parties of people and persuaded the National Parks Service to licence two people trained by him as Interpretive Guides. According to Lynne McLoughlin in John Pastorelli's book on guiding (see a previous posting) this was the beginning of the modern activity of environmental or visitor interpretation.

Today, many - perhaps most - places visited by tourists have guides of one sort or another - freelance or employed publically. Ancient ruins and spectacular mountains are by no means the only locations shown off: industrial archaeology, urban-margin natural history, ghost trails and regeneration projects are equally popular.

What do you mean - your town/country home doesn't have a guide service? Aren't you showing it off to people? Everyone else seems to be!
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BBC buys Lonely Planet

Wider Still And Wider?

02.10.07

The news that the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, is buying Lonely Planet Publications reinforces the broadcaster's motto and is a reminder of that we can travel to understand. The Beeb's motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation". Buying Lonely Planet brings with it the publishing company's web site and network of readers around the globe, extending the BBC's world reach. Way back in the 1920s when the Corporation laid the foundations of its mix of education and entertainment under its Chairman, and then director General, Lord Reith, it was also establishing radio as a link with peoples around the globe. The Empire Service of the 1930s, the 1940s linking of British military bases and the 1950s growth through television of wildlife and travel programmes were all aimed at fulfilling the motto. Maureen and Tony Wheeler's guide books may be more recent, having been founded in 1973 with "Across Asia On The Cheap" but the aim is substantially the same - bringing people together by exploring each other's worlds.
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Selection and Editing in Tourism

Mediation In Tourism

01.10.07

A previous posting (Idealog for 29 September) said that travel lets you see places for yourself. It pointed out that the media and education talk about places to an audience that is not in first-hand contact with those places. Journalists and teachers will select what to say about destinations when they write or teach, giving their own spin or slant according to whatever message they want to put over. Visiting a place cuts out these mediators so that people can make their own judgements. The posting did say that there were still mediators around trying to influenece what you visit and what you get to know about a place. Even so, once there you are applying your eyes and ears (and nose and touch, come to that - maybe even on occasion mouth, as when tasting salt air near the sea).

Here are just some of the small army who can affect the message:

The Destination Manager promoting a particular place and primarily the most positive aspects of it...
The Destination Publicist who plans the destination brochure and guide books...
The Travel Company Management who persuade people to stay in certain hotels, eat in selected restaurants, enjoy certain attractions...
The Guide Book Editor (and copy writer, designer, photographer, printer) who chooses images, words and styling to get across the destination's chosen message (which is, of course, an actual medium)...
The Tour Guide who chooses the route, stopping places and stories to tell, creating images and imparting information...

There are more: hotel receptionists recommending places to go and events to enjoy; museum staff narrating history and culture; even the helpful residents who give directions and shape opinions by what they say. What about the architects, designers and maintenance people who create the all-important environments that speak to visitors through the language of landscapes?

It's really quite a long list and if they cooperate they are highly effective persuaders and informants. And yet the visitors can impose their own choice of places to go, discover their own information from whatever sources they select, and arrive at their own conclusions about a destination as they see for themselves.

[Pix: FMM]
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