Leisure Practices and Tourism Development
In the Asia-Pacific region we are experiencing socio-political and economic changes as well as uncertainty and turbulence created by terrorist activity, intranational strife and conflict and environmental catastrophes like tsunamis. This is a region experiencing transmigration by large numbers of people for business purposes, and migration for humanitarian, employment and political reasons. These various migrations have contributed to increasing cultural diversity in the region and in particular nations. The outcomes of such movement include: issues of citizenship, debates about the appropriateness of educational qualifications; questions about visas and multicultural policies; exploitation of labour; health issues and quarantine of particular goods and products; questions about cultural awareness and sensitivities in regards to the provision of services in the areas of tourism and leisure as well as racism, prejudice, discrimination and xenophobia; environmental degradation and sustainability associated with population increases and tourism. Developments in transnationalism and tourism have had important implications for the training of service providers and the raising of questions about the quality of services particularly in the areas of tourism, hospitality, recreation and leisure. Further, this leads to considerations of the cultural sensitivity of concepts and theories being used in cross-cultural comparative research especially in the area of leisure practices and tourism developments. Given the gendered and ethnic nature of migration as well as leisure behaviour, planning and policy making it is important that consideration be given to cultural appropriateness of the tools used to investigate these phenomena. The above attempts to provide a context for this paper which will discuss the issues surrounding the impacts of ever increasing numbers of tourism developments on leisure practices of local communities and individuals on the eastern seaboard of Australia. These developments include environmental, cultural, educational, social and cultural impacts. Locals often protest for example, that these tourist developments sometimes associated with 'big events' like international football competitions or car rallies are paid for from local taxes and rates which benefit the tourists but have few benefits for local communities. Occasionally these developments can mean the building of 'big facilities' which have the potential of becoming 'white elephants' if short-term gains are not linked with longer-term planning of local consequences. As well, this paper will address the implications of the tourist developments on the leisure behaviour and practices of locals but more particularly will explore the sensitivity of available research instruments in the field of leisure studies for investigating the interactions of diverse socio-cultural groups in these leisure and tourism contexts.
Modern Leisure Practices and Tourism Development