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These cases were chosen because they allow an examination of the widest range of geopolitical contexts, patterns of state building, and features of local and global tourism markets while helping to elaborate separate elements of a territorial approach to understanding the political economy of globalization. Chapter 1 explores the incorporation of the small North African state of Tunisia into the Mediterranean mass beach tourism economy dominated by large European tour operators. The Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba viewed international tourism as a means to promote greater openness and closer ties to Europe and other Western states.
To face the challenges of deterritorialization, Tunisia developed institutions for tourism planning, fi nancing, and land management, which allowed the state to establish territorial control over the production and regulation of tourism spaces across its territories.
The result was the establishment of a system of regulation with which the state could better coordinate the local provision of tourism supply to match the patterns and styles of global demand. The erosion of territorial control over economic development and transnational flows helped push the country toward economic and political crisis.
The Tunisian state has used tourism to develop new means Introduction xxxix of extending state control over space, capital, and social transformation while promoting closer economic integration into European markets and transnational flows. Responding to shifts in the global tourism economy, these patterns of development concentrated tourist activity within enclave spaces and relied more heavily on creating place-specific forms of cultural, heritage, and nature tourism. Chapter 3 examines the connections between tourism economies and geopolitics, as well as the role that geopolitical imaginaries can play in reshaping both.
At the center of this study is the signing in of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, the product of a U. Regional tourism development was widely viewed as the fi rst sector in which regional linkages would be formed and economic cooperation would begin. The resulting tourism boom was also expected to jump-start the expansion of the tourism sector and help realize the dividends of peace.
I argue that without the expectation of tourism development, the notion of the New Middle East would not have been imaginable. If it were not for these efforts to promote tourism development, domestic opposition to the treaty, the normalization of relations with Israel, and U. Chapter 4, however, exposes the unexpected consequences of the New Middle East.
State plans to extend centralized control over the tourism development process in an effort to promote economic reterritorialization were met by private- sector entrepreneurs and indigenous communities able to assert local territorial control over these resources. In the end, only a limited number of firms were able to successfully realize the promotion of economic reterritorialization within enclave tourism spaces under their control.
The resulting failure of tourism development to meet popular expectations helped to generate an ideological counterdiscourse of political reterritorialization in reaction to cross-border flows between Israel and Jordan made possible by the peace process.
In this fi nal chapter, I explore the trends that have resulted in the unexpected expansion of Arab tourism economies since These include the resurgence of intraregional tourism, shifting business practices and development strategies, and the impact of petrodollars. More broadly, I suggest that these patterns represent the emergence of economic reterritorialization at the regional scale.
During this period, Dubai became one of the fastestgrowing tourist destinations and established itself as a node within regional and global economic and tourist networks. While showing how these trends reflect the increasing agency of actors in the Arab world to shape the regional and global networks of the tourism economy, the fi nal chapter also notes the limits of this model of globalization and explores emerging alternative styles of travel and strategies of tourism development.
These trends suggest that the region will continue to promote tourism as an engine of economic growth and vehicle for globalization and transnational integration, but these models of globalization are limited to con- Introduction xli necting the new enclave spaces within the Arab world to global economic networks.
Such trends, however, are not the only ones. I conclude by considering alternative modes of tourism development and emergent itineraries and styles of travel, such as Islamic tourism, and the travelogue of the Egyptian playwright Ali Salem about his drive through Israel at the height of hopes for the New Middle East. These itineraries suggest alternative geopolitical imaginaries for the Middle East and show how tourism and cross-border travel can serve as vehicles to connect territories and their populations in ways that generate more pluralist, heterogeneous geographies.
This page intentionally left blank 1. When Tunisia gained independence in , its political elite viewed tourism development as a vehicle to promote modernization and closer economic ties to Europe. In fact, the politics of international tourism development in Tunisia in the s and s prefigured late-twentieth- century debates about the politics of globalization.
Beaches, Ruins, Resorts: The Politics of Tourism in the Arab World
Mass tourism across the Mediterranean became an economic sector where transnational flows of people and capital met few national 1 2 Fordism on the Beach Figure 2. Map of Tunisia, Copyright by World Trade Press. All rights reserved. And in contrast to inward- oriented development strategies, they could not promote tourism development by using protectionist barriers, Keynesian fiscal policies, and price controls.
This is not to say that Third World governments cannot take steps to improve the returns from tourism, but one sometimes wonders if they should be encouraged to be in the industry in the fi rst place. These concerns became more pressing in the early s as Tunisia became the fi rst Arab state to adopt infitah policies and open its economy to more transnational economic flows. Tunisian territory was integrated into this economy based on its ability to supply an increasingly standardized and place-substitutable product.
Developing what I call a new regime of regulation, Tunisian officials built a centralized system to govern capital, labor, and space within the tourism sector. Tunisia improved its ability to exploit transnational flows of people and capital and promote tourism development as a key element of state building and national economic development.
Establishing a Position in the Mediterranean Tourism Economy, —73 Tunisia gained independence from France in after an anticolonial struggle waged through episodes of popular mobilization organized by the nationalist Neo- Destour New Constitution party. The policy failed. The economy suffered massive capital flight and the departure of its French bourgeoisie. Soon the Tunisian government moved to create a national currency, exchange controls, and an indigenous banking system.
For most Third World nationalists concerned with decolonization and industrialization, the international tourism economy of- Fordism on the Beach 5 fered little of what they desired. More critically, while British and German travelers also visited Tunisia, in the early twentieth century, tourism was organized under French rule as a means to advance its colonial project.
The French protectorate government created institutions to promote tourism, such as the Office du Tourisme Tunisien. Not only did these tourist itineraries help promote exoticized images of Tunisian peoples and landscapes, but French efforts to promote heritage preservation and teach young Tunisians to produce traditional crafts worked as a vehicle to traditionalize indigenous culture while highlighting the identification of French colonial forms with modernity.
The colonial tourism economy, however, declined by the late s owing to economic crises and political turmoil in Europe. Several leading international tourism experts visited Tunisia in the years after independence, and most supported the idea of using state planning to develop a tourism industry. When one visiting French economist advised against it, warning that tourism development would draw capital away from other sectors, the government organized a panel that rejected his fi ndings. While the SHTT began by building a few large luxury hotels such as the Miramar in Hammamet southwest of Nabeul and Ulysse Palace in Jerba, many hotel construction projects were meant to illustrate the new prestige of the regime and serve as symbols of modernity by catering to party and trade union officials and their conferences.
On the tree-lined main boulevard of the French-built section of the capital, the government built a twenty- story glass- clad skyscraper. The SHTT never planned to build and manage the entire sector but only to create a model for profitable investments that would then attract local private capital.
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The challenge for early tourism developers in Tunisia was to create supply with little control over the size and shape of demand. The task was complicated by the uncertain condition of infrastructure for water, communications, and power, the availability of skilled labor, and the nature of amenities and attractions.
Standardizing the Product While previous forms of tourism development in Tunisia may be faulted for serving the colonial project, they nevertheless were built around territorially specific experiences of place. In the s, visitors could explore the ruins of Carthage, the nearly intact Roman coliseum at El Jem, and the Grand Mosque and carpet factories at Kairouan.
Some did, but these sites had yet to be developed and commercialized. The trouble is that most are rather expensive— prices are almost as high as in France— and as yet there are few cheaper hotels suitable for tourists. The rise of the international mass tourism economy was a product of the economic boom across Western Europe from to 8 Fordism on the Beach that led to the rise and expansion of mass consumerism.
Fordism was also responsible for the homogenization of consumer tastes around standardized products like mass beach tourism. In the s, beaches across the Mediterranean became sites of mass production. Driven by increasingly homogenized consumer tastes, cheaper mass-produced building materials, and the business strategies of international hotel chains, beach resorts took advantage of economies of scale and could be built in a wide range of coastal locations.
The architecture of beach hotels was relatively cheap to design and easy to replicate. As beach tourism became increasingly standardized— a white concrete hotel along the beach with buffet meal and optional leisure activities— it also became increasingly substitutable from place to place. As developments in hotel architecture, airline capacity, and labor legislation were decreasing the price of tourism supply while increasing the volume of tourism demand, the expanding markets needed to be coordinated, as in Fordist mass production.
European tour operators accelerated the development of mass tourism by aggregating ever-larger numbers of tourists and negotiating contracts for the large-scale supply of charter fl ights, lodging, and other services by local providers. The result was to reduce the overall cost of tourism and to increase the demand for it.
As mass beach tourism locations were highly interchangeable, tour operators could book holidays at whatever location could offer them the lowest rate, thus creating more pressure on hotel developers and managers to supply more volume at cheaper cost.
As these developments were taking place around the Mediterranean, the SHTT transformed Tunisia into a major beach resort destination for tourists from advanced industrial economies. This program started off modestly in with preliminary tourism studies commissioned under the office for national economic development. During the first comprehensive four-year development plan —68 , state authorities began planning and managing the tourist sector by setting growth targets for both the public and private sectors. Another 14 percent bought inclusive air and hotel packages Figure 3.
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A luggage sticker from a beach hotel at Hammamet. The vast majority were northern Europeans, with the bulk being French, German, and British. Mobilizing Private Capital, Expanding the Tourism Sector As the tourism product was increasingly being standardized and global demand for mass tourism continued to rise, tourism officials needed to mobilize more capital in the sector to expand national hotel capacity. In , under the auspices of the United Nations, the Tunisian state commissioned a Czechoslovak fi rm to design a private-sector planning model for tourism.
At the same time, the new SHTT hotels provided the model for future developments in terms of both the type of hotels and their location, thereby initiating mass tourism development in three zones. Tourism development would remain focused nearly exclusively on these zones until the s. The share of bed capacity across the country in these three zones expanded from 46 percent in to 74 percent in While the SHTT controlled over 90 percent of national bed capacity in , with Fordism on the Beach 11 the expansion of private-sector investment, by about 83 percent was privately owned.
While the state continued to control and invest in heavy industry, the lighter industrial sectors, such as textiles, were given generous tax breaks, easy credit, and protection. As each tour operator sought to expand its volume to gain economies of scale and lower its prices, operators sought access to more supply. Meanwhile, in Tunisia, the expansion of supply required the mobilization of state as well as local and international private capital. As the tourism product became increasingly standardized, mass produced, and rigidly packaged, these changes were reflected in hotel architecture.
The share of hotel capacity in nonluxury midrange hotels expanded from 29 percent in to 68 percent in The average hotel size grew from 55 beds per hotel in to by Between and , 12 Fordism on the Beach the average capacity of new hotels each year was between and , but by the early s it ranged from to beds. Between and , the average real investment per hotel nearly doubled while the cost per bed dropped. Meanwhile, tourism resorts along the northern shores of the Mediterranean were becoming more crowded. The crowding decreased their attractiveness just as labor costs were rising because of economic growth in these regions.
At the same time, increased competition between European tour operators squeezed profit margins, leading them to search for new destinations that could be developed at lower building and labor costs. These forces led to the international division of leisure. This reorganization of production left fi rms in the advanced industrial economies to specialize in production with higher skill, capital, and technological requirements.
In the s, with the expansion of the tourism market and the low cost of entry into the tour operator business, competition increased and drove prices lower. Profit margins by the early s became razor thin, which encouraged the development of even larger economies of scale, often accomplished through mergers with failing fi rms. In many destinations, multinational hotel chains emerged to provide accommodation services. Many began offering cash advances to local hotels interested in expanding their bed capacity and bought ownership stakes in hotels.
Tunisian authorities recognized the need to expand local capacity to meet the needs of tour operators. In the state incentives given to the local private sector were extended to foreign capitalists. By the early s, the share of investment in the tourism sector from foreign sources expanded to 10 percent. The impact of international capital was most visible along the Hammamet-Nabeul shoreline, a fifty-kilometer drive south from Tunis. This situation raised suspicions of transfer pricing and other techniques to limit the local economic benefit.
The sector grew from covering 10 percent of the gap between merchandised exports and imports in to covering 95 percent of the much larger gap in In contrast, Tunisia generally surpassed its tourism targets. From to , capacity grew from 30, to 46, beds, the number of visitors grew from , to ,, and investment expanded from TD These numbers also suggest how the Tunisian economy lacked any institutional mechanism to regulate the supply and demand of tourism or to coordinate the balance between them.
In arrivals and real receipts both fell for the first time since the launching of the sector. A year after witnessing a 16 percent increase in tourist nights, the sector suffered a 13 percent drop, and occupancy rates fell from 58 percent to 44 percent.
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Additionally, though not necessarily clear at the time, this period also marks the peak maturity of the product cycle for mass beach resort tourism as demand became saturated in the traditional European markets. I discuss these longer-term consequences in chapter 2. The crisis of —74 was caused by many factors. To explain the initial drop during the season beginning in the summer of , we must look elsewhere. The report noted that prices were being defined by external conditions and did not reflect in any direct way local market costs.
As prices held steady, costs for many hotel operators were rising almost 10 percent a year. Tunisian officials had inserted the country into the global tourism economy by offering a less- expensive standard commodity. The process of planning, development, and marketing was still unorganized, and the state brought limited skills and tools to the massive coordination efforts needed to plan, finance, and promote the sector. Local hotel development was being impeded by the lack of order and coordination. For example, in the lack of cement and other difficulties encountered by developers prevented the completion of an additional 8, beds.
In the early s, many other destinations around the Mediterranean were developing mass beach tourism facilities. When excess capacity of a similar product existed at other resort destinations, tour operators gained additional leverage over Tunisian hotels. The Tunisian authorities had secured a position in the market by defi ning and marketing the country as a competitive destination in negotiations between international tour operators, charter airline companies, and local hotels. These contracts made large- scale mass tourism development in Tunisia possible because they reduced the risks of building hotels with large capacities.
Hotels could not rely on the local market or reservations made by local travel agents with independent travelers to secure a profitable hotel occupancy rate. With downward pressures on price, the ability of hotels to cover their expenses and loan payments declined. The power of the European tour operators only increased as they grew in size and developed more vertical and horizontal integration across the global tourism industry. While Turner and Ash launched a broad and lasting indictment of all forms of tourism, viewed in retrospect, their book came out just as the international tourism economy was beginning an era of transition.
Little or no concern is shown about the country in which the resort is situated, and it may be inferred that the international tourism passenger is quite indifferent to the nature or status of that country. To the degree that the tourism product featured an exotic element, it represented a minimal variation on a highly standardized product.
Tourists on package tours to the Mediterranean were generally not looking to experience indigenous culture and heritage. The exotic fl avoring added little to the ability of Tunisia to bargain with tour operators for higher prices. Moreover, marketing Tunisia as an exotic destination may have had drawbacks. While travelers to Tunisia interested in fi nding examples of artisan crafts, the product of both long tradition and individual creativity, could search them out, most visitors on package tours could not afford such items.
If they bought souvenirs, they made do with poor- quality crafts often mass-produced in state-managed factories. As mass beach tourism became the dominant cultural and economic model for tourism in the developing world, the experience of international tourism likely played a role in erasing the specificity of cultures and locations in the non-Western world.
To an increasing number of tourists from Europe and North America, these diverse local cultures became simply members of a larger geocultural grouping of the nonmodern developing world. In the wake of such rapid, unplanned hotel growth, the water, power, and transportation infrastructures of these regions were stretched to the point of exhaustion. These factors not only threatened to diminish the attractiveness of the Tunisian tourism product to potential tourists but also hampered the ability of hotel developers and hotel managers 20 Fordism on the Beach to expand capacity and thus improve the product by creating more amenities and a more-appealing built environment.
Meanwhile the costs of inputs were often higher than anticipated by hotel managers, exacerbated by infl ation caused by the increased demand in tourism material, supplies, and labor. Tourism officials thus developed new mechanisms to more efficiently mass-produce tourism space and created more stable conditions for entrepreneurs in the sector.
As a result, the state could plan the growth of the sector more successfully while coordinating the supply of tourism in Tunisia with global demand. Organizing the Mass Production of Tourism Space The crisis of —74 made it apparent to tourism offi cials that they had limited power to influence price negotiations with international tour operators and needed to develop alternative means to expand their regulatory power over the tourism economy. This lack of relative power can be understood in part as a product of the deterritorialized nature of tourism development in this era.
States, however, can encourage more sunk-asset investment by foreign capital by making such investment a condition for special access to profitable opportunities in the local market. The more certain these opportunities are, the more likely a fi rm will be to commit to making fi xed-asset investments. In the early s, under its infitah program, Tunisia sought to encourage private and foreign investment in sectors such as light manufacturing and textile subcontracting. The ONTT was formally created in with the purpose of elaborating and executing state tourism policy in the context of national development planning.
Its functions were further defi ned and elaborated in in regard to planning, financing, and regulating hotel building and the development of tourism complexes. As James C. Scott observes, states must rely on representations of society, the economy, and territory to monitor and direct social and economic transformations.
Organizational charts, balance sheets, and gross national product flows all help states monitor and govern fi rms and their national economy as a discrete system. For example, measuring visitor bed nights and hotel capacities generates hotel occupancy figures, a good index of the profitability of hotels in the sector.
Now we need a new promotional approach. Tourism has to be sold and marketed like any other product and people have to be trained to market that product. The state established planning codes for the use of space and resources to avoid further beach erosion. In the various zones, target densities were established to keep beaches from becoming too crowded as well as to control the total amount of additional coastal territory consumed by hotel development. The ItalConsult plan also established a network of roads, additional water resources, electrical connections, and telecommunications lines.
Not only did these zones help guide tourism planning, but the tourism spaces they defined became marked-off enclaves, centrally managed by the state but also tightly integrated into global economic and cultural flows. These included one at Tunis serving the Tunis and Hammamet regions , one on the island of Jerba built in , and one at Monastir built in As the share of tourists arriving by air expanded to 80 percent in , a new terminal was built at the Tunis- Carthage airport.
All land transfers concerning tourist facilities would now be conducted through AFT authorities. The agency set out to buy up the land in the tourist zones. Between and , the AFT made 1, acquisitions amounting to hectares 1 hectare equals 10, square meters of land at an average price of TD 0. A developer chose a desired plot from those designated by the AFT for tourist development, then requested the rights from the ONTT to develop the lot at an approved quality rating and bed capacity.
These parameters were guided by the ONTT development plans. Beginning in , the ONTT established a five-star hotel classification scheme that specified detailed requirements for each level, including features such as room size, hallway layout, and restaurant capacity. A employment survey found a drastic lack of trained personnel staffi ng the hotels, which by employed Fordism on the Beach 25 over eighteen thousand.
One-fi fth of all employees had no formal education, and only one- third had attended secondary school. Training was needed to efficiently and effectively run the hotels as well as to maintain their value, improve their quality, and eventually reshape the tourism product. Each planning zone included space for a tourism school with an eventual capacity of about In the total capacity of these schools was only nine hundred, and plans were established to expand the Monastir school and build new ones in Nabeul and Jerba.
From to alone, the total value of direct state support to hotel developers in the form of tax breaks on duties, interest payments, subsidies for architectural costs, and infrastructure spending amounted to TD 9. Tourism and the National Economy The new regime of centralized policy formation, extensive infrastructure outlays, and regulatory institutions laid the foundations for transforming the tourism development process in Tunisia.
According to Ahmed Smaoui, a leading tourism official: Tourism in Tunisia has helped to create and strengthen a clearly defi ned class of entrepreneurs. Many of these were originally merchants, farmers, and owners of small handicrafts factories who have initiated tourism projects. They had a little capital to start with, but thanks to the system of credit and state aid and the facilities granted for land purchase they have found themselves catapulted into the position of heads of large-scale businesses. The success of tourism development in the s hinged on the formation of a quasi-Fordist mode of mass production.
After recovering from the dip in , arrivals from France, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia increased. To continue this growth, Tunisia had to offer cut-rate prices to draw increased demand. The average capacity of new hotels rapidly increased from beds in to in Tourism development had become a cookie- cutter- style operation churning out huge, nearly identical white boxes with blue trim along the sandy coastlines, all guided by a series of government institutions.
However, the development of large-scale hotel projects would progressively require larger sums of capital. In the fi rst wave of mass tourism hotel development —71 , the average additional bed cost TD 10, all figures in dinars. In the decade between and , it rose to TD 13,, and between and it reached TD 22, The new scale and style of development thus required more concerted efforts by the state to solicit external investment.
Petrodollars and the Beginnings of the Economic Reterritorialization of Tourism Development In the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli war, the oil boycott led to a rapid rise in prices, resulting in a massive expansion of income for the oil- exporting states of the Middle East that lasted into the s.
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This oil price shock followed by another in the early s contributed to the disruption of the postwar era of economic expansion across the North Atlantic. It destabilized the existing Fordist systems of mass production and set in motion a transformation of international tourism markets.
While economic recession and higher transportation costs weakened the growth in demand for international tourism in the North Atlantic markets, 28 Fordism on the Beach the oil crisis had a profound impact on reshaping the political economy of tourism development in the Arab world. Transnational tourism companies retreated from direct ownership of foreign assets such as hotels and limited their activities to tour operations and hotel management.
While it took another three decades before a few of the smaller Gulf states developed their own large-scale tourism and airline sectors, in the mid- and late s they began recycling a significant portion of their petrodollars through tourism development around the Arab world. This new source of capital provided funding for much larger, more luxurious hotel and resort projects. While small compared to the size of the mass tourism market, the possibilities for luxury-oriented development across the region expanded with a new wave of business travelers and tourists from the oil-rich states.
Coming just as the Tunisian state had established a new regime for tourism development, these new projects channeled capital through a system highly regulated by state and public-sector officials. The new infrastructure works, policy-making institution, and hotel planning system gave the state new bargaining powers when it came to foreign investment. Real estate was a favored sector for Arab investors and stateowned development funds from the Gulf. It was able to mobilize TD million for the construction of projects in Gammarth and Monastir. Beginning in as petrodollar-financed investments came online, the share of external investment in the tourism sector rapidly climbed see Figure 4.
While tourism growth rates would never again match the sustained rapid climbs of the s and early s, the mature Tunisian market continued to grow significantly after As noted earlier, this growth was achieved by a deliberate pricing policy that sought to hold down rates. The real value of the average receipt per bed night would not regain its level until but then sank back down during the decline of global demand caused by the second oil shock see Table 3.
Foreign investment in the tourism sector. Note: Receipts are expressed in constant TDs. The Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Studies. Read More. Subscriber sign in. Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within Afterword Index.