Not so Golden? Risk and Reflexivity in the (Post)modern Tourist City, Gold Coast, Australia
This paper seeks to reassemble understandings about the intersections between tourism, globalisation and neoliberalism and implications of these processes on tourism places and experiences. We question some of the meta discourses surrounding tourism, particularly those of homogenisation of tourism products and places, and government withdrawal from involvement. Under these meta narratives, the growth machine churns over offering little hope for change, or for a resurgence of the unique, the local and the individual. The baroque perspective taken in this paper has allowed us to reconstitute our understanding of the touristed landscape and to conceive of opportunities and alternatives to the continued discourses. In particular, we find that just as the dominant discourses of neoliberalism have obscured the local, minor experiences and interactions that occur within these touristed cities, these same discourses have obscured the value and opportunities of mongrel management. In the Gold Coast, the extensive engagement of the local government in shaping tourism has been obscured in hegemonic discourses about the downsizing and outsourcing of government functions. The city, its inhabitants and the tourism industry, all of which are perceived to be vulnerable to a downturn in tourism, can instead be reconceptualised as a large bank of hidden assets and a pool of creative industry and policy entrepreneurs, 'bricolers' of the tourism experience. Large touristed city, such as the Gold Coast, should be thought of as a multitude of smaller networked destinations; the overarching homogenous view of a brash, uncompromising landscape of spectacle and consumerism should not dominate over the more localised perspective of a landscape difference and minor opportunities managed in different ways by different agencies and subagencies.
Tourist Experiences: Meanings, Motivations, Behaviours Conference
Urban and Regional Planning not elsewhere classified