In this inaugural episode of Tour Guide Confidential, I sat down with Moria Gabsi of Foot for Thought (footforthoughts.com) to discuss the promise and pitfalls of ethnographic or cultural tourism. Contrary to the common view of Israel as a black and white battleground between Jew and Arab, the country is blessed with a rich cultural mosaic of numerous ethnic and religious groups that practice coexistence daily.
We discuss how cultural changes that stem from the forces of modernity can result in the loss of tradition and ask how tourism can be a mechanism for change to empower local communities. We tackle the inherent dangers of imposing Western values on local communities and perpetuating the motifs of the “disappearing native” while presenting an ahistorical “ethnographic present.”
Lastly, we talk about how the current coronavirus crisis has spurred us to pursue our interests in P2P (people to people) and “slow tourism” and we share our thoughts regarding the future of the tourism industry in the post-corona era.