Entrance into the Alyscamps, Arles, France

A central argument in favour of tourism is that it generates income and create jobs. The exchange of money for access. By selling access to a site, it becomes a commodity.

The beauty of tourism is that almost anything can be commodified, and thus any locale has the chance to become a tourist site. One can’t help but think of alchemy.

This ability to turn something that at first appears worthless into a valuable commodity is turned into a mechanism for the positive, such as conservation of wild-life, natural habitants, cultures and historic sites. Ironically, success can be the vehicle of defeat. When a natural habitant, for example, becomes too popular, the people traffic can do significant damage, thus defeating the purpose.

Commodified culture events can face ethical concerns. When the event undergoes change not driven by the natural evolution of ones culture, but rather to serve tourist demands, the event runs the risk of changing into a performance. Such a devolution risks detaching the event from ones cultural heritage and then loosing its meaning and purpose. Other than to garner income. Such loses become subtractions from a local identity. Different people will feel these subtractions to a larger or lesser extent and it is in these differences where tensions lurk. These form the resistance to the changes and the arguments for preservation.

Statue Jardin d’Eté, Arles, France


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