Sunday Stills: Who Are #Tourists?

The last week in June finds the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge exploring the theme “tourist.”

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere sees an abundance of tourists.

We all think we know who tourists are, but did you know that YOU are a tourist? Any time you step out of your locale, you become a tourist.

“Stop hating the tourist—after all, tourists are just us in other locations.” Dr. Greg Shaw

Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation, and the provision of services for this act.

In two of the classes I teach, we discuss the idea of tourism. In fact, the major in which I teach is called Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration. Adding “tourism” and changing the major from Recreation and Leisure Studies brought hundreds more students seeking courses in this major which include 14 career tracks beside the traditional public recreation services, parks & natural resources management, and therapeutic recreation.

Future students touring the university
Future students tour the Sacramento State Campus

Tourism and hospitality play a huge role in this major which opens doors for careers in event planning, professional and collegiate sports management, and theme park management, to name a few. One of our class discussions includes these questions:

  • What would you say are your hometown’s best tourist attractions or special features worthy of tourist visits?
  • What special places in your town would tourists ruin?

Food for thought!

“Move to a new country and you quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good, are two very different things.”
― Tahir Shah, Travels With Myself

Photographer reflected in the mirror

Are you a tourist this summer? When we went to the Big Island of Hawaii last winter, I KNEW I was a tourist and was very happy to be one. How else can one learn about the places they travel?

Did I mention I have been to Yosemite National Park 25 times in my life so far? I do not feel like a tourist there at all, more like a local who has chased a few bears away, camped in tents in the frigid alpine nights, and enjoyed countless ranger-led hikes and campfires.

It’s all in our perspective.

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Where was the last place you felt like a tourist?

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74 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Who Are #Tourists?

  1. When did tourism get such a bad name? Sometimes we ARE tourists. I am heading to New York this week, and although I have been there many times, I am a tourist. I will enjoy being in new places and experiencing all the things the city has to offer while knowing that I do NOT want to live there, just visit occasionally.

    P.S. That hotel ( San Diego, right? ) is on my bucket list!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such a good question, Michele! I always try to learn about the places I visit and blend in a little. Yes, that is the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. I think that is part of the reason I didn’t travel much because we lived in the tourist destination that is San Diego 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. The description and discussion of being a tourist is an interesting one, Terri. I love the quotes you used in this blog. When I was backpacking for a couple of years in SE Asia, us youngsters hated being called tourists. We preferred to be called travelers. The idea being that travelers are more immersed in the culture, move around like the locals, eat the same foods, and try to blend in more. In general, that’s how I always travel – never swinging my camera around, wearing Hawaiian shirts, acting obnoxious or waving dollar bills – yet, I am still a tourist in a new country, no matter how I want to look at it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. I have found the difference between being a tourist and a resident in holiday destinations interesting. It is easy to become blase about the local tourist attractions and amazing how many residents don’t even visit them out of season! Anyway the last time I felt like a tourist was last June at the Blogger’s Bash in London.. a place that I had lived and worked in for 9 years… 22 years prevously. It was changed beyond recognition.. all the same landmarks but transport, number of people, energy was completely different.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LOL Terri – love the “just us in another place” quote. Our little island is home to so many tourists in the summer that most of the residents (present company included) take off for cooler climes. We’re going to spend time in the NY Hudson Valley this year. Tourist I shall be!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. I love the Hotel del Coronado. It always reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. That’s a great shot of the hotel and its foreground Terri.
    Here in Swansea, we’re just a 30-40 minute walk into The Mumbles. A place that attracts lots of tourists, especially during the Spring and Summer months. It has its own land train and plenty of restaurants, cafes and quaint shops. It’s also known for Joe’s Ice Cream, a Welsh Ice cream that tops all the rest in the UK (as far as I’m concerned).
    The only downside of some (not all) of the tourists, is the litter they leave behind. Often left on the beach because they think somebody else will deal with it. Unfortunately, much of it ends up in the sea instead of the bins the local authority provides.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. I forgot how damn beautiful Coronado Island was, when I was out west last year I definitely felt like a tourist seeing the Pacific for the first time. Now if you get bored and want to go to Outer Banks, NC pick me up along the way and I’ll show you all the “non” touristy places to go on the islands :).

    Liked by 2 people

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  16. The last place I felt like a tourist was in New York City last May! Definitely was ogling at all the impressive buildings and tourist sights and scouring maps for subway stops and tourist destination alike!

    I agree that tourism is overall, a good thing, but it also saddens me when I seem some places so bogged down by tourism that they lose their local charm. I don’t see this a such a huge problem in the west, but I definitely noticed it while in Thailand. Some tourist destinations in Thailand felt so westernized that I felt I could easily be in America. I always preferred getting off the main tourist track in Thailand, because that was often the only way I could get a real flavor of what the culture was like. I think tourism can do wonders for a local economy, and I love traveling and seeing new places, but I’m more aware of the damage tourism can do to a local culture now after my time in Thailand. I’d be interested to hear your perspective on this as someone who teaches course in Recreation, Leisure, and Tourism!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your lovely (and experienced) comment, Britta!! I remember reading about your teaching and living experiences while you were there. Ironically, the very attraction(s) people see in a destination are often ruined by the act of tourism as more people visit. The little town of La Ventana in Baja is a windsurf mecca from November to April. The locals rely on the influx of Canadians and Americans who live/camp there during that time and cater to them with a variety of services. I asked my friend who own a house there, and what happens to the locals when everyone leaves. She said simply, “they starve.” 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! I always try to me a more mindful tourist after my time in Thailand. I think traveling is so important for gaining new perspectives, but I also like to be aware of what my presence is potentially doing to a local area.

        So interesting about your friend! That doesn’t sound good! Tourism really is a necessary industry in some places.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Terri! I’m being a tourist right now staying at the beach for a couple of months instead of our home in the desert where it is HOT! And yes, even though we both still work here from the house, it “feels” like we are on vacation because we get to explore new locations that are mostly unfamiliar. Even going to the local Costco feels like an adventure because it is so different from home. I am a big fan of being a tourist and try to be kind when tourists visit my home town–even when the traffic swells because of them. Traveling opens up my world and I think it makes us more open and accepting of other people and how they live. Thanks for the reminder. ~Kathy

    Liked by 2 people

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  19. Thanks for reminding me of your challenge. What a happy coincidence to be able to join this time. I enjoyed reading your post and learning more from your perspective. Living in Amsterdam makes me tired of tourists at times; your observations will make me more patient. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. It’s true, we’re all tourists at different times in our lives. Nonetheless, there are tourists and travellers. The ones I have difficulty with are the ones who turn their back on the site (or sight), get out their selfie stick to snap themselves in front of it, then walk away. Brings out my (not very inner) snob!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Interesting thoughts here 🙂 We are all tourists – and I also agree with the quote saying it’s a completely different experience to live/work/study somewhere foreign than just visit. (Done that, too!)
    Contrary to what you were saying in the comment section, I always loved working with tourists – did that for a decade in different places. I try to look beyond the walking in the middle of the street with a map to the excitement or worries in their eyes. We all walk in the wrong places sometimes. (Sure, it can be dangerous to walk on the road, that’s a whole other issue!) 🙂 Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Tourism is a great way to tear down walls and make friends, to jettison that idea of “other.” You don’t even have to know the language when getting to know the other person is the real goal.

    And of course, photos of places can be gorgeous. We should take hundreds as memories. But there is nothing like the experience of going to a place like the Grand Canyon, walking about 200 feet, and finding you are staring into a chasm one mile deep and one mile wide, and sharing the breathtaking sight with a few hundred other people, all of them also gasping at the vision.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Love the pic of the Del! You can’t usually see the mountains behind it. I also love the quote from Dr. Greg Shaw… it’s a good reminder that we are all tourists (unless we never leave our house). I’ll see if I can get something posted for this theme… it shouldn’t be hard, considering where we are 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Janis, the pic turned out great–winter sun, etc. Dr Shaw happens to be my boss, one of his quotes in a chapter of a textbook I’ve used. He has really brought the RPTA major into the 21st century and I’m grateful to be a part of it! Look forward to something from you soon! Hope you are enjoying your travels!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You can publish a post for “tourist” on your blog and I have the link-up for those who want to do it. I was thinking the summer IG challenge was just something extra since many bloggers don’t have Instagram accounts. Do you need ideas for the summer IG challenge themes?

      Like

    1. Hi Graham, Thanks, the Hotel del Coronado is quite spectacular! For Sunday Stills it’s OK to do either or both…create the pingback in your post, then optional to link-up. I like the link-ups to be able to meet other bloggers, that’s how I grew my blog. I just read that post and it’s an amazing coincidence that we both posted similar ideas about tourists. I decided it wasn’t necessary to link my SS post since I’m hosting anyway. I share all the posts on social media whether they link up or just connect to my blog.

      Like

  24. Well, my hometown (not where i live,) is in Sweden. It is a tourist town, a ski resort https://www.skistar.com/en/ski-destinations/are/. I loved growing up there, and felt very fortunate being able to ski and snowboard so much during winter/spring, and hike in the summer/fall. Tourism is a bitter sweet thing. I became a baker after college, and worked with all the tourists two years in my hometown. I moved away form my hometown because I felt uncomfortable constantly being around people who came only to party (it seemed like.) I still think my hometown is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but I have never been a party girl. I love the recent focus on eco tourism. I’m all in for a more conscious form of tourism.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I can imagine that was terrible, working in an office dealing with tourists. One of my friends had a job answering the phone at a big visitor center when we were younger, she had the best, most unbelievable stories about tourists to entertain us with!

        Liked by 1 person

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  27. Jodie

    What an interesting perspective, Terri! It’s not bad to be a tourist because I think you are more open to trying new places and exploring. And that’s always good!!
    Heck, just taking photos for the blog has introduced us to new areas in our own town that we never knew were there!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    Liked by 2 people

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