Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
them would have conditioned the visitors' gaze.
Inevitably, this disappeared with the indepen-
dence of India but it could be argued that the
domestic leisure tourist's capacity to ascend one
set of hills, take in the scenery, descend to the
plains and move on swiftly to conquer another
destination is, in itself, used as a form of cultural
capital. There is a hunger for seeing as much
as possible, for consuming environments by
glimpsing and glancing, capturing them on
camera rather than engaging more deeply with
them (Chaney, 2002; Larsen, 2001). Bell and
Lyall (2002, p. 21) argue that 'today's technolo-
gies of movement, from aircraft to video cam-
era, both inspire and facilitate new forms of
Perhaps one could argue that with modern
leisure tourism still relatively new, the experi-
ence of travel or travelling hopefully is just as
important to India's domestic tourists as arriv-
ing at destinations. Perhaps one could go on to
advocate that in much the same way as a desti-
nation develops and matures (Butler, 2006), a
similar progression can be found in the nature
of demand by tourists. Initially, the experience
of travel itself is of paramount importance; next,
a variety of entertainment at destinations is
demanded; then the tourist seeks quality of
experience at each; this is followed by an overt
desire to appear to be learning, benefi ting from
the experience of being a tourist. The next stage
is where, in this age of environmental and social
concern, the self-deluding tourist still wishes to
continue to consume the environment and its
occupants but in a manner that marks them out
as being environmentally friendly, not socially
destructive, and of benefi t to the destination.
At the moment, though they might dispute
it, evidence from the fi eld visit showed little
depth of interest of domestic tourists in their
destinations but far more interest in where they
had been, and their travel plans for the immediate
future. Does this perhaps show some similarities
with tourists at the time of the Grand Tour?
Engagement with space has clearly changed,
and as factors such as technology now have a
major infl uence on the gaze, it is no surprise
that the nature of the leisure visitor gaze on
the hill stations has changed markedly over a
Escapism is always important in tourism
(Ryan, 2002) and that is common to the moti-
vation of visitors to the hills past and present.
However, the above analysis does show that
while the gaze of the European visitor to the
hills was driven by the obsession to escape to
the staged authenticity of a replacement for
'home', that of the modern visitor is driven by
the headiness of travel and of escape from the
growing pressures associated with India's
increased participation in the global economy.
Perhaps the greatest difference is that the ele-
ment of staged authenticity is no longer critical
to the modern tourist gaze.
Grateful thanks are due to many people who
helped me with the preparation of this chapter.
My thanks, go to many Europeans formerly
residents of the hills for providing me with con-
siderable background information, many of
whom are no longer alive; to current offi cials in
the Departments of Tourism and Forestry in
Ooty; to coffee planters and residents of Yer-
caud, in particular, Peter and Caroline Wilson,
and Mohan Rajes; and to Mother Bernard of
the Sacred Heart Convent, Yercaud. I am also
grateful to the many tourists who were kind
enough to speak to me in Ooty and Yercaud,
and to Derek Gurr whose technical help has
been invaluable.
Arnold, D. (2004) Race, place and bodily difference in early nineteenth-century India. Historical Research 77,
Bell, C. and Lyall, J. (2002) The place of nature, Section 1. In: Coleman, S. and Crang, M. (eds) Tourism:
Between Place and Performance . Berghahn Books, New York.
Bhardwaj, D.S., Kandari, O.P., Chaudhary, M. and Kamra, K.K. (eds) (1999) Domestic Tourism in India. Indus
Publishing, New Delhi.
Search WWH ::

Custom Search