On the Fringe
Prior to the arrival of the tourist industry, the population of Benidorm numbered only 3,000 and its main economy was fishing. In the early 1950s the industry started declining. Faced with an economic struggle the town council approved the ‘Plan General de Ordinacion’, employing all the town’s resources into tourism. A mass building programme was orchestrated to accommodate for the influx of visitors.Tourism was the path to development yet it also contains the danger that development will destroy the very thing people have come to enjoy. With tourism, it is not clear whether rapid development is in the locals’ economic interest.
The proliferation of all-inclusive hotels has been the subject of much debate over the years with local businesses struggling to keep afloat. The infamous catchphrase if you want to get pissed show us your wrist certainly rings true, with the reasoning that if they have already paid why go out.
“The fundamental characteristic of tourist activity is to look upon particular objects or landscapes which are different from the tourist’s everyday experiences.” (Gaffey, 2004)
This series represents the possible effect the all-inclusive package holiday can have on a place whose reliance is almost solely on tourism. In reality, the social relations surrounding tourism are complex and must be negotiated, contested, and resisted.
“Our experience of any landscape through the senses is inseparable from the social and psychological context of the experience.” (Sopher, 1979)