New Internationalist

The No-Nonsense Guide to Tourism

NN Guide to TourismThe world is changing. Can you keep up? Globalization, climate change, terrorism, fair trade, human rights, health, poverty… The No-Nonsense Guides help make sense of these vast and complex issues, all in under 150 pages - providing a concise, ‘no-nonsense’ view that you can read anywhere. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting each No-Nonsense Guide in our series with blog posts from the authors concerning the subject of each book. Chapter 1 and the Table of Contents are available for the No-Nonsense Guide to Tourism on our website. 

Whose Paradise?

by Pamela Nowicka

Sitting in the murk and grey of a rich world city, surfing hundreds of TV channels under the watchful eyes of two cats, I’m bombarded by ads for holiday heaven. But Indian documentary channel NDTV shows a different point of view.

It’s the tail end of a programme on rising sea levels in Tamil Nadu, where I shot my documentary ‘Climate Change? No Thanks!’ Locals from coastal areas of the state describe how the sea is encroaching on the shore, in some places by several hundred metres in a few decades. People are worried, but according to travel-promoters, this area of ‘Incredible India’ boasts many ‘paradise’ holiday locations.

Browsing an online publication, I discover that a supermodel is going to ‘paradise’. Closer reading reveals that she is, in fact, traveling to Thailand - ‘Land of Smiles’. An interesting designation for a country which has been struggling for years with mass public demonstration of unrest about the current political situation.

Ros, who’s screening ‘Climate Change? No Thanks!’ in London next week snorts in disbelief when I suggest that locals here might like to create ‘paradise’ in their own neighbourhood instead of flying thousands of miles to discover the paradise in the holiday brochures. Paradise, it seems, is never home.

When I researched The No Nonsense Guide to Tourism, I was fascinated by the way the concept of ‘paradise’ was created by the tourism industry and the way we bought into it, hook, line and sinker. Our holiday paradise is a must-have consumer accessory, an expression of our unique individualism. And Rich World people are outraged by any challenge to their view that their holidays are creating anything other than jobs, prosperity and some kind of multi-cultural melting pot of globalised goodness.   

The tourists in south India in my documentary, were similarly sanguine about their positive impacts. Locals disagree. Their voices are rarely heard.

There are many questions we can ask about a designated paradise. What constitutes a ‘paradise’? Where is it? Who lives there?

But perhaps the biggest question is: who names the paradise? And why we can’t find it at home, in the murk and grey of a rich world city, surfing hundreds of TV channels under the watchful eyes of two purring cats?

‘Climate Change? No Thanks!’ will be screened by Transition Leytonstone at Leytonstone Library on Wednesday 12th January at  6:30 pm with a director Q&A and panel discussion. More information is available on Facebook.

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  1. #1 fourteenofthem 05 Jan 11

    I love the no-nonsense guides and would enjoy reading more about them. But this piece reads as a thinly disguised promo for the author's documentary. If this was a commercial cross-promotion I would be disgusted, as it is I'm just bemused that I learnt so much about the author's documentary and so little about the no-nonsense guide to tourism.

  2. #2 New Internationalist Publications 07 Jan 11

    Hi fourteenofthem,

    Thanks for your comment and concern. I would like to assure you that we aren't attempting any cross-promotions through this blog with our highlighting of the No-Nonsense Guide series. Pamela's Guide to Tourism does consider the issues she writes about in her blog post, including the idea of 'paradise' and the marketing and cultural ideas surrounding it.

    We contacted each author for the series with the idea that the blogs would provide an opportunity for readers to see what projects the authors are working on now and to read some extra information concerning the subject of the book.

    I hope you'll continue reading the blog posts so you can catch up with our authors and see what they have to say on the important and topical issues covered in the Guides. Summaries of the books, table of contents and chapter one are available for each No-Nonsense Guide here: http://www.newint.org/books/no-nonsense-guides/

    Next week's author Jeremy Seabrook will consider his Guide to World Poverty and how poverty is viewed in Western cultures.

    I hope that helps!

    Best wishes,

    Brianna Corbett
    Publications Marketing Assistant

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