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Utopian tourists — cruising is not just about sailing

Macbeth, J. (2000) Utopian tourists — cruising is not just about sailing. Current Issues in Tourism, 3 (1). pp. 20-34.

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Arguably, all tourists are looking to fulfil dreams that involve some sense of a 'utopian' ideal, whether in the 'arms' of an ancient civilisation or relaxing on a beach, free of work-a-day worries. Similarly, the growth of ecotourism and adventure tourism represents touristic attempts to fulfil utopian dreams denied the urban resident. For most tourists, these utopian dreams are played out in the year's annual holiday. Other tourists move beyond the confines of this time capsule because they have no intention of going 'home' - their 'escape attempts' become a whole way of life. This paper brings together the sociology of tourism and of alter native lifestyles to understand the nature of a utopian subculture, long-term ocean yacht cruising. While by most definitions these people are tourists, in relation to other sociological concepts they are a utopian 'community' which espouses not only an explicit social critique but also utopian lifestyle goals. While our notions of 'utopian' thinking tend to a collective, not all those who seek utopian alternatives to mainstream society do so within the 'collective' community. A social critique and a vision of a better lifestyle can be expressed in more individuated action. This paper shows how a traveller subculture expresses these issues.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Channel View
Copyright: © 2000 J. Macbeth
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