Reaching the check-in area at the Fiumicino Airport in Rome for my flight to Jordan, I already recognized the different ways in which people were dressed and had packed, which allowed me to guess their travel motive. However, while one can usually tell very quickly if someone travels for leisure or business, I also recognized that not everyone that looked like a tourist was boarding for the same journey or experience. Rather, amongst all the tourists there were probably uncountable different kinds of tourists. Some people were checking in backpacks, others were carrying oversized suitcases and yet others were struggling with the weight of their big sports gear. Thus this allowed me to see that there is not merely a binary distinction between tourists as Pearce held, but that there are even many differences within the various kinds of tourism, such as backpacking tourism for instance. Observing the people standing in line next to mine, which were boarding for Antalya in Turkey, I could mainly see tourists going on a beach holiday. Some were wearing straw hats, others already wore their colorful flip-flops and some parents were carrying bags filled with buckets and sand shovels. However, while the majority of them would probably spend their holiday in the same hotel or resort, the different families or groups of friends would most certainly still have a different experience. I guessed that families would be looking for relaxing days at the beach, building sand castles and playing at the pool, while the groups of friends would make use of the hotel club and sport activities. This difference in the same type of tourist allowed me to draw parallels to Uriely’s distinction between backpackers. Thus I share the opinion that tourists which are essentially doing the same thing, as in this case spending a week in a resort, do not necessarily seek or fall within the same type of tourism, due to the length of their stay, their flexibility, but also demands, interaction with locals, transportation, etc. Consequently, while many tourists look the same and seek the same, they will always be different in some way or the other.
Scott McCabe, ‘“Who is a tourist?” A critical review’ (2005) 5(1) Tourist Studies 85, 90-91.
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