Small towns, mass tourism : the role of “local gaze” in the management of UNESCO-related tourism

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Rok publikování 2021
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Popis Even though the negative effects of mass tourism are gaining increasing attention, the label of UNESCO World Heritage Site still implies promises of economic gains for the locality. Small towns may especially be vulnerable to an entire range of effects due to predominant orientation towards tourism and services, the size of the community, etc. Conditions specific for the rural context, e.g. informal communication and personal relations, non-urban forms of governance, and obduracy of local habits and tastes can further enact how the incoming tourism and its impacts will look like. Our presentation is based on interdisciplinary fieldwork (sociology, architecture, media studies), interviews, media and strategic document analysis (2019-2020) in Telč, a UNESCO-listed small Czech town with circa 5000 inhabitants. The main aim of the presentation is to focus on different types of narration about tourism. First, we will show how the particular narratives dis/enable the possible activities of the municipality or other participants, and second, how they involve not only the practices but also the self-understanding of the local identity in a social milieu of the small town. We will (1) explore how the local self-perceptions and perceptions of tourism (“locals’ gaze”) influence the decision-making and meaning-making of the local actors; (2) raise the questions of translation and transfer of expert knowledge towards the local stakeholders and (3) suggest that the ways how the city copes with the tourist narratives are essential to the small town as the whole and not just for the particular segment of the tourist industry.
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