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Tourism in Spain - Individual Report

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Tourism in Spain - Individual Report

For our oral presentation, myself and my group decided to research and discuss the tourism industry in Spain. It was a topic we found highly interesting and particularly relevant to us as students of Spanish. We discussed the history and early years of the industry within the nation, and how it helped generate prosperity and wealth over the 1980's and 1990's; we also discussed the topic of mass and urban tourism and its relevance and importance today; and then we talked a little bit about the many impacts the nation has to deal with and combat against due to the growth of the industry over the past few years.

In relation to the history of the industry within Spain, we discussed its early years as a somewhat developing industry, its various roles that it played during early times such as the time of the 'grand tour' and the 'romantic era' and how the industry very much took off from the 1950's onwards.

With regards Spain and the 'grand tour' we found that Spain wasn't very known for attracting students and scholars etc... due to their studies and fields of expertise being linked towards countries such as Italy, Greece and France. Classical studies was the main area of studies for the elite leisured classes of Europe at the time, and the main destinations that enticed these people were countries that had links with the Renaissance such as France and Italy. The only recorded visitors to Spain were people involved primarily with trade or due to political issues. (Barke, Towner, Newton 1996 pg7)

However, during the 'romantic era' people's views on the country began to change slightly. We found that during this time travelers began to develop this new desire to witness and explore cultures that had links with the wilderness, exoticism and romantic scenery; and for this, Spain seemed to become that destination that had all these things to offer. Spain's remote landscapes, it's medieval and Moorish heritages began to entice travelers from all over Europe. The very characteristics that put people off visiting the region in the eighteenth century were the very characteristics that had travelers coming into the country at this time. Perhaps these new attitudes that the tourists had, were due to other destinations in Europe, such as France and Italy becoming tiring and boring for the travelers; and Spain's wilderness and remoteness were viewed in a much better light because of this sudden boredom.

One aspect that was very much linked in with this era in Spain was the aspect of the tourists desires to see 'the sublime'. People wanted to experience contact with the raw elements of nature and wanted to experience landscapes that filled the mind and body with awe and wonderment. For this, Spain had many exotic regions, landscapes and sceneries that attracted travelers from near and far, all with the desire to be intoxicated with the environment that they were visiting. Regions such as Andalusia and the Sierra Navada mountain range became key attractions to visitors with these mindsets and desires.

From the late nineteenth and early twentieth century's Spain had begun to establish itself as a main tourist destination within Europe. However it was still only ranked third along with Greece, due to the major pull that Italy and France still had throughout the winter and summer months.

Another aspect of Spain that enticed travelers throughout the twentieth century was the aspect of viewing destinations linked with 'Dark Tourism'. After the world wars that had left Europe in ruins, people wanted to go and visit places that had been affected either directly or indirectly by the wars. People began visiting places where bombings had taken place, places that had seen mass devastation and genocide. Spain enticed people that wanted to experience this type of tourism through its own troubled history with the 'Spanish civil war' and the 'Franco Dictatorship'. People came to the country to really see firsthand what had taken place within the nation under the rule of General Franco. Spain before this time wasn't well known for letting many visitors in, and many people before this time never really knew much about this country due to the censorship on what was being released about Spain to the rest of the world. We found that due to the borders of Spain being opened up to travelers by Franco, people began to enter Spain for many reasons; one of these could be perhaps linked to the curiosity travelers had towards the history of this country.

The 1960's were a turning-point in the evolution of mass tourism, when the industry effectively became internationalized. The most characteristic and developed product of this new form of tourism supply and demand was the Mediterranean sun and beach holiday, and one country more than any other - Spain - symbolized this new phase. (Barke, Towner, Newton 1996 pg119)

The above quotation sets up the next type of tourism that the nation of Spain experienced, and the next point in our presentation that we discussed. This type of tourism is known as 'Fordist Tourism' whereby people started



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