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Title: The colonial legacy in tourism : a post-colonial perspective on tourism in former island colonies
Authors: L'Espoir Decosta, Jean-Noel Patrick
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: This study takes a socio-historical approach to uncover the reasons behind the continuing links between colonialism and tourism flows. It is informed by a core examination of the ways in which colonialism affects tourism development. It investigates whether the legacy is a product of the tourism development process, the result of a deep and pervasive relationship between the colonies and colonisers, a strategic decision made during the decolonisation period, or a combination of the three. In that effort, three distinct and interconnected types of substantive inquiry recognised in the literature of history and colonialism as explanations of change are used to probe the patterns in tourism movements and development: The role of historical inertia; The lock-in effect from a colonial past that feeds on historical inertia; and The conscious decisions affecting tourism development that perpetuated economic colonialism and hegemony in the post-colonial period. The study examines the core case of Mauritius, the candidate's country of origin. The study covers the time frame of 1940 to 1980, with some incursion into data from the more recent past. The methodological approach is based primarily on the grounded theory method of research and analysis. Its operationalisation was accomplished through a historical method that employs archival research and a socio-historical study of Mauritius. Archival data related to development and the island tourism sector in general were collected from major archival repositories in London and Mauritius in 2007 and 2008. The documents retrieved cover the period from 1940 to 1980. In-depth interviews with two major political figures in Mauritius who have been key players in political decisions since the late colonial period supplemented the data, with the goal of enriching the findings with an "indigenous" and life history perspective.
What emerged from the data for this study is a model of explanation that suggests the continued colonial legacy in tourism is an inevitable outcome of six historical processes that heavily influence tourism and actors in former island colonies to operate within predictable combinations or hybrids of inertia/lock-in effect and conscious decisions/colonial hegemony. The resulting dynamics become necessary precursors to developing a colonial legacy in tourism in the post-colonial era. Colonial withdrawal as a major socio-political and historical process did not sever relationships of a colonial nature. Relationships continued by other means through supra-national structures and major processes, which were themselves of colonial origin. In that perspective, the political structure of the island and its underlying democratic ideals, together with fully functional state bureaucratic machinery superimposed upon a plural society created out of a colonial plantation economy, were vital to secure promises of development assistance from rich nations in the early days of independence. There is also evidence that tourism as a means of economic diversification has evolved into an operational tool of unequal relationships between source markets and destinations. It has provided local economic elites with new opportunities to perpetuate their historical socio-economic advantages based on the plantation economic structure, with its inherent systems of inequality. It has also provided the pretext to maintain historical socio-cultural links with former colonial powers. Tourism has thus served to extend historical ties of dependency within a framework of economic internationalisation. Further explanation for the maintenance of these links also rests on the key role played by individual personalities within the political and socio-economic sphere, and the unconditional support and associational ties of local elites with an administrative bureaucracy, itself a potent legacy of colonial rule.
Subjects: Tourism -- Mauritius -- History.
Tourism -- Government policy -- Mauritius.
Tourism -- Economic aspects -- Mauritius.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xiv, 358 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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