31 DECEMBER 1994, Page 36





Easy chair


IN COMPETITION NO. 1861 you were invited to provide an extract from the inau- gural lecture of the only Professor of Tourism in this country.

Chris Tingley's professional opening stuck the right tone: 'The main efforts of this chair, given the growing need to com- bine scholarship with entrepreneurial skills and a contribution to the national budget, will be devoted to promotion of the "lot- tery holiday" recently conceived by myself.' Peter Norman's man had an equally neat finish: 'With non-disembarkatory cross- Channel day-trips already a reality, we face an intriguing conceptual challenge: the destination-free package tour.'

The prizewinners, printed below, get £20 each, and the bonus bottle of Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch whisky goes to Keith Norman.

Imagine, if you will, that someone has drawn a moustache and beard on the Mona Lisa. Can anyone who sees it with these embellishments be truly said to have seen the Mona Lisa? Imagine, too, that this desecration occurs at frequent intervals, requiring the painting to be regularly cleaned and, eventually, restored. Do those who see it after the cleaning and restoration truly see the Mona Lisa? It has been asserted that the

tourist's presence at the site is in itself a form of desecration; by his being there he alters what he has come to see. Those who take his view argue, that a site is something more than latitude and longitude, stone and masonry, or landscape. Its essence is inextricably linked to the lives that are lived there. This essence will always elude the tourist; it will retreat at his approach. Therein lies what is known as the Fallacy of Tourism. s It would ill become a Professor o( complacently in the ivory tower of Academe when. the global village beckons. Tourism is a fKTeoituhrNismormtoasni: practical discipline. Expect no learned papers from me, ladies and gentlemen. As Goethe s° memorably put it: Grau is! alle Theorie. I shall be out in the field, exploring the world's heache. s and time-shares and ski slopes and marinas in pursuit of knowledge. God may be everywhere: I shall be everywhere but here — but not, I assure you, inaccessible. You may contact me through Sabena or Lufthansa or the public address sys- tem at Heathrow, or, in extremis, the Palace Hotel, Gstaad. I shall travel hopefully — and frequently — on your behalf. You will not there- fore be surprised to learn that this is both my inaugural and valedictory lecture. The rest is silence.

And now I must conclude, for I have a plane to catch. (Watson Weeks)

The precise date at which the consumption of lager first exceeded that of bitter among British tourists at Benidorm depends on whether one is to classify Spanish beer as lager or sui generis. On that controversial question, I can do no bet- ter than to refer to the paper by Vijayalakshimi Rajgopalachari and others in the Journal of British Touristic Studies, Vol. 13, p 94. On any sustainable view, however, the date cannot he earlier than 1983 or later than 1988. How, then, are we to analyse the phenomenon of the lager lout, for which I have elsewhere proposed the term `zuthopanurgism', from the Greek zuthos, beer, and panourgos, a scoundrel or ne'er-do- Well? Surely as a cry for help from a generation alienated and traumatised by the insistence of

Thatcherism upon confining even the leisure and recreation within the parameters of the profit nexus. (A. P. O'Dowd) And so, let me close by summarising the sixteen truths of tourism: 1. It's easier to buy a foreigner than to rent one 2. Speaking a foreign language only encourages familiarity 3. Foreign objects make better souvenirs than foreign people 4. Foreign history is very petty 5. The hotter the climate the less English the person 6. Historic buildings last longer in England 7. Foreigners take religion much too seriously 8.Sunshine cooks the brains 9. Foreign medicine doesn't work 10. Diarrhoea begins at Dover 11. Every foreign doctor wants to undress an Englishwoman 12. A cruise ship is a prison 13. All foreign animals are wild 14. Foreign currencies fluctuate, which means foreign prices are unreliable 15. Every foreigner secretly wishes he were English 16. Everyone in a foreign town is related (Richard Hayes)

In this new, exciting, modular course — Leisure, Tourism and Travel — we shall explore our material as much on the ground as before the keyboard: for, though our range is catholic, it is eclectic: indeed rigorous. We should neglect nei- ther the beaches of Marbella nor the yak-tours of Tadzhikis; the one offering ample scope for a profound, in-depth study of social mores trans- lated to an unfamiliar milieu, the other a living example of an obsolescent concept — that trav- el's intrinsic value varies in inverse ratio with its ease, even its sanity.

Semantics, too, come under our umbrella, if I may deploy so homely a metaphor: the differ- ences between being a tourist and a traveller form a rewarding icon of our on-going class structure, while 'leisure' itself — in view of the current maldistribution of job-opportunity — is acquir- ing a whole new subtext, which, in our lively seminars, we shall deconstruct.

(John E. Cunningham)