Dispatches from the Resistance
Season Zero: Episode 0.1 Dispatches From The Resistance
In this mini-episode, I touch on the nature of tourism resistance worldwide, its context and culture, its scope and scale. This is a brief introduction to the kinds of people I will be interviewing for the podcast and why their voices are so important, and yet so often unheard. Welcome to "Dispatches from the Resistance." Hosted by Chris Christou.
Anti-Tourism Movements, Campaigners
Chris' unpublished book on tourism
The local nature of anti-tourism movements
The displacement/undoing of local culture as a consequence of tourism
The podcast as a place for solidarity
The podcast refusing xenophobia
Searching for imagination and sanctuary
Chris: Welcome friends to Season Zero of the End of Tourism podcast. In these mini-episodes, you'll hear short transmissions speaking to the principles of the pod. We'll introduce you, our listeners to the themes and questions that will be woven into our conversations, a kind of primer on our politics.
This episode is entitled "Dispatches from the Resistance."
On the pod, we will be meeting people from all over the world who have or continue to work in anti-tourism campaigns, largely in order to ensure the continued livelihood and nourishment of their local lands and neighborhoods.
They come from different political, cultural, and spiritual backgrounds, but they have all recognized the consequences that tourism has unleashed on their homes. Their diverse work includes creating protest movements, political campaigns, writing books, forming alliances, protecting sacred sites and leading neighborhood organizations.
It might be strange to come to the resistance first in such a podcast, but we start where we are and when we are and go from there. May it be that we honor the place in time in which we live and the circumstances that swirl around it, and us. May this be a way to firmly plant each of us in the positions and perspectives of people displaced and continually threatened with displacement by tourism. By venturing further into the past and into other places, we might remember where we came from. We might remember the old threads tightening around the whorls of our fingers as we reach for cause and consequence.
Some years ago, I started writing a book on tourism and at the time I wasn't really sure what that book was going to be about. I just started researching and over time, after many long months and years of investigating, I came to understand that there was no such thing as anti-tourism.
So I kept writing and as time went on, murmurs of movements began to emerge from the ether. I began to hear the distant den of pots and chants ringing in the far distance. The resistance.
Although many people would be hard pressed to believe such things, the people at the helms of these insurrections in the countless cities and counties are grandmothers, school teachers, tradespeople, bus drivers, bakers, community leaders, environmental scientists, mechanics, and local business owners.
They sit on all sides of the political spectrum. This is who they are, people perhaps not unlike you, perhaps not unlike me. They are the salt of the local earth from which they spring and they are most often the unconsidered reasons that people travel from all over the world to visit their towns and cities. Such people are the living embodiment of local culture.
They are what makes a place itself. They are the inherited expression of hundreds, if not thousands of years of myriad movements through a single place. And they're being evicted.
Not just those people, but everything that makes that place theirs, everything that arises as local is slowly swept off the plane of existence as tourists steal in and sail away. Gentrification commodification, displacement, development, exile, selling out, buying in you name it. Tourism is all of these things and it is the Trojan horse of globalization.
The very presence of tourists on the scene compromises the capacity for local people to create or cultivate culture in the place they call home. Surging rents drive local residents and businesses out, inviting in foreign chain restaurants that replaced not only local cuisine and staff, but the deep lineages that proceeded them. Not just the bread, but the secrets of the recipe, the oil from hundreds of generations of grandmother's hands, and every last crumb of what that means is forgotten and possibly lost.
Not just the men smoking in the park during the golden hour, not just the women gossiping nearby, but the park itself is displaced by parking lots and foreign entitlement. You see there's little room anymore for locals at the beach, for locals in the restaurants, for locals in the street.
They have become agents of tourism, often using it as a worthy excuse to keep up with the Joneses, to assume that a better life is necessary. They have become beholden to seasons in which their lives and their own leisure have come to evolve around the wills and whims of tourists. This is all to say that local people, urban or indigenous or otherwise are not immune to tourism's reach.
In tourist lands, local time is cut in two, in to two seasons: high and low. The high season is reserved for tourists and the low, well, if there are no tourists then might be reserved for locals, albeit people who can often no longer afford to live as their foreign counterparts do in their own home.
This podcast is a clarion call to tourists and the places they visit. It is for tourists that they might begin to understand what the enduring and often debilitating consequences of their wanderlust has on the places they're all too willing to leave. The podcast is also for local people living under the immense weight and wanton destruction of tourism in their own homes. It is so they might know that there are many others all over the world who are also bearing these consequences and what can, and probably will happen to their neighborhoods if nothing is done about it.
This is not a podcast against tourists or even tourism, but a podcast about both. While there are endless and countless reasons and instances to disregard tourists and tourism as a whole, while we might even find some kind of relief and honorable change that could come from banning tourists, such a thing is simply not enough.
Half measures such as these are simple and short-sighted. They leave us with the hostility that tourists brought with them and with none of the hospitality that they sought out. To blame the foreigner hides the fear of what is happening in the neighborhood and often because of neighbors. So, with each interview with each question, with each dialogue and discernment, may we find ourselves centered in local hearts, ones that remember ways of being in the world that nourish the world and don't condemn it for being itself.
Other worlds are possible, but they only become likely once our demands for change are braided into the imagination required for that change to happen. We don't do that alone. In fact, we can't. So, this is what this podcast is for: breathing life into new worlds, creating communities of solidarity, conviviality, humility, and imagination.
As we proceed, we will do so, remembering you, the listener, the precious time you've given over to these hours, these hours that have lost their clock. May these transmissions be some kind of sanctuary for you, for those working for the neighborhood, for home, in the face of every unintended attempt to undermine it. May these hours be ones where you can secretly acknowledge the way the world is without abandoning it.
May it bring you closer to that place that you too inhabit as home, as the local, and the place that, all willing, will carry you well in your days. May those places hear you listening to this and in doing so provide sanctuary for them as well.
May this be sanctuary for the people who imagine raging rivers or majestic mountains as a reason to find themselves. May it be a place they can see what finding themselves elsewhere means for people abroad, for people who might have to bear the brunt of that search, maybe like those left behind, at home.
Instead of finding ourselves, maybe we can find each other here in the neighborhood, remembering a way home, remembering the skill of home and all those who continued to do so in our absence. These are dispatches from the resistance.