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PhD ceremony Mr. A. Postma: 'When the tourists flew in'. Critical encounters in the development of tourism

When:Th 30-05-2013 at 12:45

PhD ceremony: Mr. A. Postma, 12.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: 'When the tourists flew in'. Critical encounters in the development of tourism

Promotor(s): prof. P.P.P. Huigen

Faculty: Spatial Sciences

This study focuses on tourism-community relations. Traditionally, the emphasis of such studies treated tourism and the destination as two different entities, where tourism affects the community in different ways (positive and negative economic, social and environmental tourism impacts). Since the 1990s such an approach has increasingly been criticised and scientists called for an approach that would view tourism as a process rather than a product that is consumed at the destination. However, until now empirical studies from this new perspective have been scarce and the understanding of tourism as a process that is formed and re-formed through continuous interaction with the local community has, to date, been limited. This study makes a significant contribution to this understanding. The tourism-community relations are studied by looking at the negative critical encounters in the continuous interaction between tourism and the destination community as they are perceived by its residents. The study was carried out in four island communities: Terschelling, Ameland (both West-Frisian islands in the Wadden Sea) and Curacao and Aruba (two islands in the southern Caribbean). This thesis provides a detailed account of the historical pattern of tourism development, of the critical encounters in the relation between tourism and the local community, and of the residents’ emotional and behavioural responses to these encounters. In a cross-case analysis, the patterns in all four islands have been compared and contrasted, thus giving an insight into the specific mechanisms and the conditions at work.

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