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the place realize that sound planning and man-
agement are needed to retain the essence of the
attraction and will try to manage and mitigate
the impacts of change. Some locals and visitors
will embrace the changes as a more upmarket
and entertaining place is developed, and the
unpleasant features of the past (such as smelly
swamps, poor infrastructure and dangerous
wildlife) disappear. Those who choose to aban-
don the locality perhaps move on to more ame-
nable places as change brings opportunities to
access jobs, education and experiences not
available in their former locality.
But my reaction is to ask: what is lost? My
place, my culture and my habitat no longer
exist. Like the alligator and the loggerhead sea
turtle, I must adjust myself to changes beyond
my control and to my detriment. But it is not
just the three of us who are out of kilter with the
profound changes upon us. Nor is this simply a
personal lament, but possibly an inexorable
outcome of present circumstances, for my Island
is only one among a multitude of places experi-
encing the same dynamics around the globe. At
the time that my swamp was being slowly stifl ed
by encroaching development, the swamps and
mangroves of Cancun, Mexico, were being fi lled
in to create a resort destination in a formerly
pristine area.
I must emphasize that I am not a 'knee-
jerk' anti-tourist of the mould described earlier.
As stated, my family were originally tourist
encroachers on my Island and we made our
enjoyable living from selling shells to the tour-
ists. Members of my family, including myself,
have also been frequent tourists over the years,
enjoying the habitats of others and perhaps
contributing unwittingly to similar profound
changes in other places. It was, in fact, a volun-
teer tourism experience with the US Peace
Corps in my early twenties that set me on my
activist trajectory.
The intuition seeded in my youth has
sparked my interest in visualizing contemporary
tourism in the context of globalization. The
research agenda I plan to follow moves beyond
this personal narrative to examine the dynamics
of contemporary tourism under the dominant
capitalist system driven by the economic imper-
atives of unrestrained economic growth and
development. It is becoming increasingly evi-
dent that such dynamics hold grave implications
I do not know when it was that I realized
that the island I loved no longer existed. Per-
haps it was the secret joy that hurricanes brought
as potential sources of cleansing the coastline
that made me aware that my relationship to
this place had altered as dramatically as the
place itself.
What is this Island (no longer my Island)
like now? The marshes have given way to elite
coastal properties vying for that elusive 'water
view'. What place is there now for the alligators
and egrets whose habitat no longer exists? Bears
and mountain lions have long since gone. Pos-
sums still turn up on people's doorsteps, rum-
maging through rubbish or pet food, or feature
as road kill on ever-busy streets. Loggerhead
turtles are endangered, but some tourist facili-
ties have fostered conservation projects to pro-
tect their nests for the numerous tourists who
wish to view them in the egg-laying and hatch-
ing periods. What peace can laying mothers or
hatchlings fi nd on a beach where most of the
coastline is now privatized and developed,
where human activity has increased dramati-
cally and safe habitat has receded? Seashells
can no longer be seen in much of these coastal
waters because of habitat destruction through
repeated dredging to deepen boating channels,
and the over-exploitation of shell-collectors,
both tourists and professionals. And what about
the locals with whom I grew up? They are mov-
ing away, inland, leaving the Island to the new-
comers. There are a multitude of reasons,
including: the loss of social amenity as noise
and congestion disrupt well-being; increased
costs of living, which come from infl ation, higher
taxes and more costly insurance rates; and per-
haps most ironically, a loss of 'place attachment'
as what they had loved about their island no
longer exists and is unlikely to return.
This true, anecdotal story of my childhood
is iconic of the tourism phenomenon. There is
an inherent tendency for tourism to lay the
'seeds of its own destruction' (Crick, 1989,
p. 338). As it seeks to capitalize on the attrac-
tions of place, people and lifestyle, it inevitably
changes the assets that were the original attrac-
tion. Numerous reactions can fl ow from a real-
ization of such dynamics. Developers attuned to
a globalized world know that replacement desti-
nations for their investments abound. Local
government and others interested in maintaining
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