“Turismophobia”, a development that comes from afar

The outlook for the 2022 vacationer season appears promising. Internationally, the web page of the two-year pandemic appears to show ceaselessly: based on the World Tourism Group (UNWTO), the arrivals of worldwide vacationers around the globe have greater than doubled (+ 130%) in January 2022 in comparison with 2021.

As for France, a “very, very stunning season” is looming, within the phrases of Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, then Minister of Tourism, throughout a press convention final April.

The info, supported by the return of international vacationers, present a rise in bookings thus far of 24% in comparison with 2019 and 30% if we take the anticipated turnover.

“Biarritz will not be Biarritz”

The “post-Covid” prophets, who predicted a world extra much like earlier than by way of tourism, appear for the second to be mistaken with the huge return of vacationers to airports or seashores. This is sufficient to revive, in parallel, the “turismophobia” or turisticophobia, which designate the aversion in direction of tourism and / or vacationers, which the circumstances of Barcelona or Venice appear to reveal, with the theme of over-tourism (over-tourism). Nonetheless, it is a secure wager that even when the traits weren’t on the rise, this vacationer phobia would persist.

Certainly, it appears inherent in tourism, and has been for a very long time. As early as 1842, the dictionary of the French Academy provided the next definition in its Complement to the dictionary of the French Academy :

“It’s stated of vacationers who journey overseas solely out of curiosity or laziness, who make a form of tour in international locations often visited by their compatriots. That is largely stated of English vacationers to France, Switzerland and Italy. This phrase was borrowed from the English language.

Touristophobia is clearly mixed with anglophobia and is discovered within the definition of “absenteeist” in Nice common dictionary from the nineteenth century (1866-1877) by Pierre Larousse:

“The behavior of the rich lessons, amongst sure peoples, of spending a part of their life exterior their very own nation, a peculiar behavior above the entire English aristocracy: absenteeism is a scourge that’s typically hidden below the title of tourism”.

On the identical time, nice writers abounded in the identical path. George Sand declares that “vacationers solely imagine in distant and well-known issues”. Victor Hugo defined in 1843 that “quickly Biarritz will put ramps on its dunes, stairs on its precipices, kiosks on its rocks, benches on its caves. Then Biarritz will not be Biarritz; it is going to be one thing discolored and bastard like Dieppe and Ostend ”. Historical past could have lastly proved him mistaken …

“The vacationer and the traveler”

Later, different intellectuals will amuse us with their good phrases on tourism, akin to academician Jean Mistler (1897-1988) who writes:

“Tourism is the business of transporting individuals who could be higher off at residence, in locations that will be higher off with out them. “

This pejorative view of the vacationer has been erased extra extensively, for instance within the educational world. As psychologist Dominique Picard famous in 1995 in her e-book The rituals of dwelling (Editions du Seuil):

” [Il] it’s modern to be overwhelmed: let’s not go away for the weekend, let’s go “write an article within the countryside”; we do not go on trip, we go “to our land”; we do not journey, “we go to a symposium”. And if typically, regardless of every thing, we point out a visit, a visit or a playful studying, it’s as a result of we’re “allowed” to take somewhat “all the identical” distraction. “

What’s behind this stigma? From the earliest days of tourism there was a distinction between the “vacationer”, shepherd of sheep and more and more topic to an business that provided solely illusions, and the “traveler” who traveled the locations in full consciousness. This lengthy custom of ridicule and even hatred of those “itinerant idiots”, to make use of the title of the e-book by Jean-Didier Urbain which analyzes this disdainful prejudice, stays very a lot alive.

Social contempt

As we famous on the m-tourism convention held final April, this may be seen as a type of social contempt. This feat of de-legitimizing fashionable tastes can be mirrored in our statistics.

For instance, the TNS Sofres quarterly “follow-up to tourism demand” survey, which changed INSEE’s “vacation survey” in 2004, provides a formatted checklist of actions that fall into man-made and noble classes, akin to property ” sporting “or” cultural “, ignoring” boules “,” aperitif “, tanning, siesta, barbecue or karaoke, which due to this fact don’t appear worthy of curiosity. It’s a option to prioritize the sources of tourism, reward discovery and denigrate relaxation, playing or buying.

Though it has been a phenomenon of society for a very long time, “mass tourism” acts as a counterbalance to advertise types of tourism extra consistent with the instances, akin to ecotourism. Even the busiest locations are attempting to get away from it! Devastating and sociable, crowds of vacationers are mocked once they have interaction on congested highways throughout vacation departures or on the crowded seashores of vacationer resorts with prefabricated leisure actions, as a result of, in our imaginary, “Persons are excessive and the group is in low, as Victor Hugo wrote: One can stay perplexed concerning the denigration of the mass whereas it corresponds to a democratization.

Odds in Corsica

The actual fact stays that heavy visitors has detrimental impacts on some locations and plenty of initiatives at the moment are making an attempt to protect some areas. Final instance thus far: the Corsican meeting voted to introduce quotas this summer time.

These are three emblematic websites: the Lavezzi islands, the needles of Bavella and the Restonica valley. To go to them it’s going to now be essential to e-book upfront with precedence given to the residents. Whereas these quotas are efficient, we are able to solely be aware that they drive away those that spend much less in vacationer spots, specifically day-trippers. We won’t chase the very wealthy off the island of Cavallo and we are going to destroy the port to make it extra “pure”!

Likewise, from June 26, entry to the Calanque de Sugiton in Marseille is by reservation. The sturdy media protection of this measure reveals that it’s consistent with the instances, however we aren’t totally in a vacationer logic, as a result of the coves are primarily frequented by natives. Extraordinarily eloquent, these quota insurance policies are sometimes a part of communications operations, even greenwashing, which divert consideration to what’s taking place elsewhere.

“Hordes of vacationers”

Nostalgia can be a strong tourist-phobic driver. The “earlier than was higher” feeds the unfairness of negativity, which is all of the stronger on this discipline because the vacationer expertise is usually primarily based on the shock of discovery. The “first time” you go to the place then turns into the purpose of reference for judging its evolution.

We are able to take the instance of the geologist Edgar Aubert de la Rüe, who in 1935 deplored the arrival of vacationers in French Polynesia in his e-book The person and the islands (Gallimard Editions):

“In lots of islands, the arrival of hordes of vacationers [sic] it largely contributed to the disappearance of the picturesque and the native colour which constituted one in every of their nice points of interest. Thus in French Oceania pure beauties stay, and islands akin to Tahiti, Moorea and Raiatea nonetheless present their splendid landscapes to the astonished eyes of the traveler, however the customs of the inhabitants, their methods of life have modified profoundly and have misplaced all originality. “

Nonetheless, the variety of vacationers, seen as invaders on these islands, didn’t exceed 200 per 12 months!

The urbanization of the place is due to this fact thought-about as an irremediable degradation. This urbaphobia, a part of tourism phobia, arises from the idea that the vacationer ought to flee town, whereas the overwhelming majority of vacationers are residents who frequent extremely city locations (seaside resorts, metropolises, amusement parks, and so on.).

The Côte d’Azur, which nonetheless at this time attracts hundreds of thousands of vacationers yearly, is usually the topic of criticism from varied sources. Thus, to clarify the evolution of the which means of the phrase delusion, the Nathan dictionary of Greek-Roman mythology recollects the Côte d’Azur contrasting “the ‘delusion’ of the Côte d’Azur (coves with clear waters flanked by pine forests the place cicadas sing) to its concrete and polluted actuality “.

We might not like Benidorm or Surfers Paradise, their presence proves that this rejection shouldn’t be common and that tourism shouldn’t be essentially a rejection of town. Too many tourism commentators proselytize and need actuality. Will we not overlook that tourism has grow to be a vital part of happiness in our societies?


By Jean-Christophe Homosexual, Affiliate of Geography, Scientific Director of the French Riviera Tourism Institute (ITCA), College Professor on the IAE of Good, Migration and Society Analysis Unit, College of the French Riviera

The unique model of this text was printed in The Dialog.