Accepted paper:

Male tour guides tracking along ethnic and gender boundaries in Peruvian tourism


Annelou Ypeij (CEDLA)

Paper short abstract:

In Peru, male mestizo guides take a powerful position towards the communities they visit with tourists. They negotiate with the locals about commissions and notions of authenticity. They may take a paternalistic, even disdainful, attitude towards the locals even when tourists are around.

Paper long abstract:

In Peru, tourism is often organized through guided excursions. Though female guides work on these excursions, male guides form the majority. This paper deals with the contacts that urban male mestizo guides from Cusco and Puno create between local, often Quechua speaking, populations and - national and international - tourists. It is based on frequent field work and visits during a ten years' time span. Guides are in the potent position to decide to which community, shop, workshop or restaurant the tourists should go to. They search for those sites and places that offer in their view an authentic experience. Needless to say that commissions also play an important role and the guides negotiate these issues constantly with the local tourism workers. As an expression of their powerful position, the guides may take a paternalistic, and even disdainful, attitude towards the locals even when tourists are around. The tourists are shown an authenticity and ethnic and gender performances that are convenient to the guides, but which are not necessarily in accordance with how the locals wish to present themselves. The locals develop strategies to become more independent from guides from outside their communities. As income from tourism is increasing and a growing number of communities are sending their youngsters to study and specialize in tourism, more and more indigenous guides are being trained. This may improve the relationships between guides, tourists and locals and offer more freedom to the latter to represent themselves as they wish.

panel P088
The technologies and techniques of guiding: tour guides as cultural mediators