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Prophet or Profit? Emotional Reflections on Indonesian Tourism

  • Dini Mariska
  • Eric Jacob Shelton
Chapter
Part of the Perspectives on Asian Tourism book series (PAT)

Abstract

Tourism may be viewed either as primarily an industry fitting well into late capitalism and acting as an exemplar of neoliberal economics or “(t)ourism is in fact a powerful social force that can achieve many important ends when its capacities are unfettered from the market fundamentalism of neoliberalism and instead are harnessed to meet human development imperatives and the wider public good” (Higgins-Desbiolles F: Tour Manag 27:1192–1208, 2006: 1). Each of these postulates requires tourism being situated within multiple contexts, and here we focus on examining these contexts. For example, contemporary Indonesia is a country which well illustrates, and subverts, this exploitation/public-good binary. One economic context is that, since the 1990s, “(i)n an effort to replace oil revenues, Indonesia has accorded international tourism high priority in its development plans” (Wall G, Nuryanti W: J Travel Tour Market 6(1):69–84, 1997). A purely economic argument, though, is insufficient, since Henderson (2010: 75) points out “Islam is shown to exercise considerable influence over social and political systems (in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia) in addition to affecting the tourism industry. It gives rise also to a series of particular demands from adherents, reflected in a movement termed ‘Islamic tourism’ (Scott N, Jafari J: Conclusion. In Scott N, Jafari J (eds) Tourism in the Muslim world: Bridging tourism theory and practice. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp 331–335, 2010) that encompasses product development and marketing efforts designed for and directed at Muslims” (in contrast with, for example, “disaster tourism” in Banda Aceh, designed for Westerners). Henderson offers also “an appreciation of the volume and value of Muslim markets (although) there are challenges to overcome if the prospects for future growth are to be fully realized.” Top of mind for Western inbound tourists, ontologically distant from Islam, is hedonist Bali, while an Islamic concept of tourism accentuates the spiritual goal of submission to the ways of God (Din KH: Annal Tour Res 16(4):542–563, 1989). Here, Dini Mariska argues against Scott and Jafari (Conclusion. In Scott N, Jafari J (eds) Tourism in the Muslim world: Bridging tourism theory and practice. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp 331–335, 2010), claiming that, in Indonesia, producing the Muslim Tourist as an aspirational subject position is a misguided strategy, and a more useful aspirational strategy, given how tourism in Indonesia is practiced, should be the production of the subject position of Halal Tourist.

Keywords

Prophet or profit Emotional reflections Tourism Indonesia Civil servant 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dini Mariska
    • 1
  • Eric Jacob Shelton
    • 2
  1. 1.Ministry of TourismJakartaRepublic of Indonesia
  2. 2.Independent ScholarJakartaRepublic of Indonesia

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