Eric Luo's response
In “The trouble with tourism and travel theory”, Adrian Franklin and Mike Crang classify the troubles with tourism theory into three categories, the research object of tourist studies, tourism as an economic thing, and the frame of tourist studies(2001: 5-6). In my opinion, this article reveals what we might encounter with while we doing tourism as a study.
Moreover, they also raise the question of embodying tourism (2001: 12-14) which matches my interest of the intersection of tourism and sexuality. In addition to this, the issue of tourism and sexuality always comes with the economic and postcolonial questions. Taking Thailand as example, it is one of the famous tourist sites due to its scenery, food and low-price in the world. Furthermore, the booming sensual and erotic industry is also considered as another factor which attracts tourists no matter what his/her sexuality is. My first trip to Thailand is in 2003, when my friends and I walk in the Patpong Night Market (the most famous night market in Bangkok which attracts thousands of tourists a day), there were always some pimps came to us and ask us that do we want hot girls in falteringly English. In fact, Patpong is not only famous for it cheap and various products, but also the booming sensual and erotic industry (sex here is another kind of various products). In 2005, I went to Bangkok again to present my paper at first Asia Queer Studies International Conference, and I went shopping at Patpong with my friends. There were still pimps ask the same question, “Do you want hot girls”, to us. But while we say “no”, they immediately say “we also have cute boys”. In the mean time, I was totally shocked. That’s right, as being a queer studies researcher and cultural worker; I should not be shocked by this. However, I am wondering to ask myself that did I have a great development of gay-appearance or did they have a dramatic change of erotic consumption and travel industry in only two years?
Thus, doing tourist studies in the age of globalization, I think that the trouble with tourism and travel theory will face more complicated questions. At least for me, traveling is no longer a leisure activity. In my own opinion, a tourist is someone who only enjoys the spectaculars, delicacy and great service without considering anything more. We nowadays might be a semi-ethnographer tourist or a semi-anthropologist tourist due to our reflexive thinking of what we experience during the trip. Hence, there should be more and more dimensions of tourist studies in my personal viewpoint.
Here is the website of Boyz Town in Pattaya, the famous beach near Bangkok. http://www.boyztown-pattaya.com/