Beyond the Beach: An Ethnography of Modern Travellers in Asia
By Klaus Westerhausen - Studies in Asian Tourism No. 2
This work examines drifter-style tourism, a sanitized and institutionalized tourism alternative, in Asia. Over the last thirty years drifter tourism has developed its own myth and spawned a mobile subculture of Western travelers. The study seeks to illustrate the historical background, nature and ideology of present-day travelers in Asia and to present an "insiders view" of the subculture based on more than sixty in-depth interviews conducted in the field. The impact of those travelers on destinations in Asia is documented by chronicling the fate of the islands Koh Samui and Koh Phangan in Southern Thailand. Those islands, at one stage or another, were some of the largest travel centers in Southeast Asia and subsequently achieved Hollywood fame through Alex Garland's popular novel The Beach.
However, even without Hollywood, Asia's travel subculture is worth paying attention to. With rapidly increasing numbers of travelers, it now represents a viable market in its own right, one that fits in well with an ecologically sustainable tourism product. However, development of this tourism alternative is frequently being undermined by unsustainable growth due to a lack of planning and by the destruction of its destination sites by other tourism sectors. Experience shows that without advance strategies for their development, many of those sites tend to develop either in an unsustainable manner or become the target of "hostile takeovers" by outside operators and competing tourism sectors. This state of affairs has been instrumental in condemning travelers to remain always just one step ahead of conventional mass tourism.
White Lotus Press
Size 150 x 210 mm