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Border Tourism and Border Communities: An Overview

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In examining border tourism and border communities this paper employs a political science definition that demarcates the external limits of a nation state and its exercise of sovereignty. Other types of borders and boundaries, such as those of a national park or cultural heritage reserve, that exist within a country, are referred to only in passing. The way in which advances in the technologies of mobility and modes of transport have influenced the expansion of territorial boundaries over the centuries, from terrestrial to marine to aerial dimensions, is examined and related to contemporary forms of tourism. The focus is therefore on international tourism – visitation involving travel across the borders of sovereign states. To explore the social and cultural spaces of border communities where politics often play a significant role, cultural studies are combined with anthropological and sociological theory. This section of the paper draws in particular upon the social construction of space and place as expounded by Lefebvre and the concept of interstitiality advanced by Homi Bhabha and his ‘halfway populations' occupying ‘Third Space'. With these theoretical foundations outlined, this paper then considers tourism-specific elements of borders, such as principles of human mobility (of which tourism flows are one component), typologies of political relations that affect cross-border tourism flows and tourism partnerships, and particularities of transnational tourism development, with an emphasis on the Greater Mekong SubRegion of South East Asia.

Keywords: Borders; interstitial space; mobility; social space; sovereignty; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Tourism and Leisure Management, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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