I decided to look a little inward at my actions in the past few years. I’ve been travelling for the past 8 years, essentially, a foreigner living in China, a tourist travelling through South East Asia and an expat visiting Canada. In the past couple months, while in Mexico, I’ve experienced some of the cultural relics the Americas are known for.
In researching my final paper, I’ve decided to look into the impacts of tourism on indigenous cultures and have done so through comparison with Linda Smith’s book on decolonizing methodologies.
While not focused on indigenous culture, most of the emerging tourism markets tend to be in areas with an indigenous presence. How does tourism impact their daily life and traditions?
This site provides a solid overview of how tourism can effect local lifestyles both negative and positive though I chose to focus on drug tourism especially based on my visit to San Jose del Pacifico, a mecca for magic mushroom trippers. Peru is a hotbed for ayahuasca tourism with rich North American and Europeans flocking there to truly find themselves.
Drug tourism seems on the rise in South America due to the popularity of ayahuasca but it is old hat in South East Asia where the fast money to be made catering to young, party-crazed backpackers has been advertised in full moon parties (a completely invented concept by some hippies in Indonesia that is now a distinct part of any Thai island’s calendar) and other abominations that could never happen in a more developed economy like the Laos river cruise.
The ease of information access enables drug tourists to quickly find their next high. The influx of cash and people causes damage both to local ecosystems and culture. Even tourists keen for a cultural experience get watered-down experiences targeted to be real enough to attract the tourist but not at all authentic. Any one up for a Luau?