Places, not destinationsPosted: April 13, 2012
After several years of reading and thinking about tourism, I’ve decided I dislike the term “destination”.
I don’t mind “you will reach your final destination by early evening”, i.e. point of arrival. But when applied to villages, towns, cities, islands, parks and other protected areas, peninsulas, and whole countries… urgh!
OK, the word is widely-used because it is useful to us, but therein lies my niggling discomfort with “destinations” in academia and business parlance: it reflects the generally industrial use of places by travel, tourism and associated industries, otherwise described as commodification.
You’ve probably enjoyed visiting many destinations, but ask yourself this, “would I want to live in a destination?”.
Maybe I’m being quirky or just plain semantic-pedantic, but just as most genuinely happy holidaymakers come back from their travels talking about experiences and not travel products–I think most people are interested in places and not destinations. And while we’re on the topic, they are also interested in the people that help make those places come alive, not the professionals that planned some well-integrated destination infrastructure.
In short, people live in places, tourists go to destinations, and I, like many other visitors to places, would prefer to be treated as a person and not identified as a tourist.
Let’s talk more about places and less about the other.