Birmingham Salon

Good Tourist, Bad Tourist - From "Gringo Trails" to All Inclusive Bans

Thursday 11th February 2016

7.30 pm at The Victoria, John Bright Street, Birmingham

Uppermost on the minds of many planning their 2016 holidays is likely to be the issue of security, given the blowing up of a plane of Russian tourists from Egyptian resort Sharm El-Sheikh and the shootings of British tourists on a Tunisian beach in 2015.  But should we be considering other things?  For a long time the package or all-inclusive holiday maker has been derided for prioritising familiarity and predictable routine, and not wanting to get too culturally involved in the place they were visiting. That has continued with criticism from the likes of Greek Prime Minister Alexander Tsirpas who proposed a ban on all-inclusive packages because their customers don’t leave resorts frequently enough to benefit the local economy.  

The independent backpacker used to be held as morally superior to the package tourist, seeking different and authentic experiences, culturally engaged and genuinely interested in where they are visiting. But the documentary film "Gringo Trails" now points out that many of the places they favour have been subject to the same environmental degradation and overcrowding as the traditional all-inclusive resorts.

So who is the right kind of tourist these days?  Is it the volunteer or the tourist who makes the most sustainable and environmentally friendly holiday choices? And as a quarter of Brits now choose not to have a holiday at all, are the ethics of how best to holiday putting people off?


Dr Chris Stone - Manchester Metropolitan University.  With a background in environmental planning and sustainability, Chris Stone has been teaching and researching tourism development and management in higher education for 25 years and has been consulted by industry and governments. 

Dr Jim Butcher - Canterbury Christ Church University.  Jim Butcher is the co-author of "Volunteer Tourism: the lifestyle politics of international development" and author of "The Moralisation of Tourism" and writes a blog on the politics of tourism.

Chair: Rosie Cuckston