Perspectives on tourism in the Czech Republic: old approaches, new dilemmas
(Metropolitan University Prague)
Paper short abstract:
The paper will outline key ideologies and practices of tourism in „closed“ socialist Czechoslovakia – particularly „weekend-housing and/or cottaging tourism“ - that will be confronted with a new phenomenon of incoming tourism - „Dutch villages“.
Paper long abstract:
The past two decades have been marked by rapid transformations in tourism in ex-socialist countries. The paper attempts to outline key ideologies and practices of tourism in "closed" socialist Czechoslovakia that brought about unique, unparalled forms of domestic tourism. Special attention is paid to one of the most widespread forms- so-called "weekend-housing and/or cottaging tourism" that has expanded in the country since the 1950s. An analysis of its sociocultural, political and geographical aspects will be confronted with the inquiry into the post-socialist period that has been characterized by the unprecedented development of tourism that brought a number of new tourist practices that compete with the older ones. In particular, the paper will focus on a recent tourist project called "Dutch village", i.e. the emergence of closed communities of Dutch tourists that have been built throughout the Czech Republic, mostly within the weekend-house built-up areas. Analytically, one can observe three distinctive social categories in such areas: local residents, domestic weekend/holiday makers, and foreign (Dutch) holidaymakers. Our research that is being conducted in one of the recreational areas (Lake Lipno in Southern Bohemia) aims to explain the following issues concerning this complex encounter: What cultural image do the new tourists have about the Czech Republic as a whole, and about the region in particular? What are the relations between the "guests" and the "hosts"? (How can local population be defined?) How is interculturality produced and reproduced? What is the role of local strategies of mutuality and policies of cultural diversity?
Eastbound: perspectives on tourism in Central and Eastern Europe