Free «The Enclave and the Backpackers» Essay Sample

Back packer enclaves are customized spaces catering for visitors as well as provide home comfort and a point of contact with home for those on travel. The meaning of the term enclave has been applied in a wide range of tourism phenomena such as backpacker destination to conventional tourism places to cruise ships to tourist bubble. The commonality of the various concepts of enclaves is their role as homogenous tourist space and the idea of relative uniformity. The main difference between backpacker enclaves and more traditional concepts of enclaves is tending to be their permeability. Backpacker enclaves have come to be vital arenas for cultural and social as well as for identity formation. They are centrally located near transport and major tourist attractions.

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According to Wilson and Richards (2004), tourists use them for convenience and inexpensive accommodation, to collect travel information, to relax and to socialize. Some enclaves are nightlife centers for locals and are tourist attractions where foreigners come to party while the locals visit to see the strange foreigners. Here,tourists experiences a new environment mixed with the familiarity of home even in the remotest destinations. They argue that enclaves act as safe havens for travelers to retreat to in order to increase their level of control and counter the culture shock that reigns outside. It is the pressure of the host culture that forces backpackers to congregate in enclaves that provide support and information from fellow travelers (p.191). Therefore, the neutral space of the enclave becomes a tool of mediating cultures, so that culture confusion is avoided on both sides and true reversal is avoided by the familiarity of the enclave. However, the travelers often do not find a fulfilling experience the local culture due to the great problems involved in making real contact with the local people. Fellow travelers in the enclave provide surrogate cultural experience closer to the home culture of the traveler.

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The desire of the traveler is to have the enclave provide a new cultural and social experience, while acting as points of contact with home. However there is a difference between this expectation and the real experience. In this case, reality is said to have been suspended. This is because the travelers defer culture shock and reversal by taking refuge in the enclave, thus only provides a difference without seriously affecting the basic cultural and social norms of the visitor. The suspended experience of the traveler is neither here nor there- not here because the real experience is outside the enclave, and not there because of the familiar environment of the enclave.  The backpacker in fact has to choose to be suspended between local and global culture, between totally tourist culture and totally local culture in a space that is neither homogenous nor totally heterogeneous. This position is better than being isolated or be totally immersed in local culture.

The people that supply both the exotic and the familiar are effectively suspended together with their guests.  The various types of suspension that a backpacker may encounter are: spatial suspension; temporal suspension; behavioral suspension which involves hybrid identities and adaptive behavior. This difference between ideology and practice creates tension in the backpackers and on the enclaves as well.

In conclusion, the motives of travel of most backpackers could be to explore cultural differences, learning, excitement or relaxation. However the expectations and desires of the traveler may not be met in that, choosing to be in backpack enclaves he will neither fully experience the local culture nor fully experience their home environment thus both the exotic and the familiar are effectively suspended. This situation creates tension to both the backpacker and the enclave.

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