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Traveller vs. Tourist

Travel Forums General Talk Traveller vs. Tourist


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51. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Quoting GregW

Why do we need to classify what we do when we travel as tourism or travelling (or wandering or nomading or eco-tourising or anything else)? And why do we need to classify how other people travel, and pass judgement on it?

Perhaps the subject was brought up simply for general discussion in a travel forum ... to read different points of view from different people from different parts of the world

52. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting GregW

"There are two types of people in the world, those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You, dig."
Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The world, in my mind, can't be so easily split into two groups.

Nor can it be so easily split in our minds either, Greg. Wocca is correct in the interpretation of this thread. People tend to make quick or snap decisions about other people they see/meet while on their own adventure. It's human nature to catagorize someone - unintentionally most of the time - but we do it just the same. As time passes (whether minutes or months), we either change our first opinion or it is reinforced. This thread has given TPers pause for thought on how they view others. And, some have surprised themselves with their own answers. What looks black and white rarely is...

It's been an interesting discussion piece so far. I hope it will continue to get responses.

53. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

I think I tend to label people who annoy me as "tourists" - which makes me think that "tourist" has become a rather dirty word.

But it's true - sometimes we "tour" (observe) and other times we "travel" (participate). What am I, though, if I sit for hours at a cafe watching people go by? Or if I stop to work somewhere for a few months to make some money and get to know the place and the people better? I'm neither touring nor travelling - cause I'm not moving anymore.

54. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

My point in asking the questions was not to ask why the thread was started, I understood that. But rather, as a push for us all to think about why we need to categorize people into the tourist / traveller dyad in the first place.

I know that we do categorize and that it is human nature to - makes it much easier to process and retrieve later. But as Tway says, tourist has become a dirty word. The tourist / traveller debate often comes down to an exercise in proving how other people are travelling improperly and that we are travelling properly.

The key arguement of the "travellers" is an accusation against the "tourists" that they ignore the local culture and thus aren't experiencing the place they are in. But it's a never ending spiral to argue that. For I can then turn around and say that staying in that hostel isn't experiencing the local culture, you need to stay with a local family. And then I can say that being in one place for 2 weeks isn't enough to really understand it, you need to stay there for a longer period. And how long is really long enough to "understand" a place, to appreciate the local culture? (That's a rhetorical question).

The key question in my mind is are people having a good time, enjoying themselves and taking something from the process of travel? If so, then who is anyone else to judge them as not travelling correctly?

55. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

(^ Gawd, that GregW poster is a bit of a wanker, isn't he?)

Re-read the post and I think it might come off a little high and mighty. I try and make an arguement that judging other people is wrong, and really people only do it to make themselves look superior, and in the process end up basically arguing that by not judging others, I am superior, and judging all the people trying to judge others as being inferior.

This, my friends, is why I am not a politican. I'd be likely to come off as a complete and utter snob to my consituents.

Anyway, no offense was meant, even if it does offend. Apoligies all around.


56. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Quoting GregW

This, my friends, is why I am not a politican. I'd be likely to come off as a complete and utter snob to my consituents.

Dear Greg,

Where do we send your sponsorship cheque?


57. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

Greg Wesson's General Travel Fund, RBC Transit # 00002 - Account # 1234567. If everyone in Canada can send me $1.00, I will promise that Quebec will stay in Canada.

Small print: promise is not binding.

Okay, let me take one last kick at the can on this issue.

I first bristled when I read the Traveller vs. Tourist question, because so often when I have had this debate before in hostels and hotels and on other on-line travel forums, the debate ends up being about exclusion. Travellers are those we want in our group, and the tourists are those we don't.

I'd rather see us try and be about inclusion. I prefer to think in terms of who I would want to talk to about travel. Who, if you will, would be welcome to post here on travellerspoint. I'd like to think that anyone who is excited by the possibility of getting on a plane, a train, a bus, a car, or even on foot, and going somewhere they haven't been before, whether it is half-way around the world or just to a new neighbourhood in their hometown would be a welcome addition here. As long as they are excited about travel and seeing new places, welcome aboard.

Even the drunken yobs from Ibiza and Cancun, because I started out as drunken yob.

58. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Okay, so you salvaged your comments- -good show man! And, do you take US $1 bills?

The thread, as we posted it, was not for exclusion/inclusion debate, but rather to stimulate the thought process. And, we have (personally) heard so many times in our travels about good and bad tourists, that we just wanted to find out what y'all thought.

There are a lot of people on TP that we enjoy talking to about travel. Mostly because we have been to so few places, and learning from them allows us to travel vicariously and plan new places to visit.

Sorry I can't vote for you - but I don't care much for politicians to begin with... American (brown shirts) much less Canukistanis (ask Brendan!).

59. Posted by Peter (Admin 5845 posts) 11y

I was reminded by this thread again last night while watching an episode of one of my favourite series "Black Books". This particular episode involves a travel writer coming into the bookstore for a talk.

Guy from the bookstore: "You know where you should really go, Venezuela"
Writer: "Ah, old Vene, ay? You've been have you? Where did you go?"
Bookstore: "The swamps"
Writer: "Oh yes, the swamps are nice, did you go to the Northern or Southern swamps?"
Bookstore: "Northern"
Writer: "Oh, the touristy Northern swamps. You need to go to the south to see the real swamps!"

It cracked me up.

60. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

The tourist vs traveller definition is simply a snob thing.

Somehow people think that putting a backpack on your back suddenly means you're a "real" traveller, and not just some nancy-boy on a bus tour.