Travel and Tourism in Society

TOU102 Introduction to Travel and Tourism in Society

Topic 2 – Travel writing and the history of travel

Learning Outcomes

1. To outline the history travel writing from different perspectives.

2. To examine the values and roles of various forms of travel writing including, travel books, travel brochures, travel journals, and emerging online travel writings.

Sources of historical data (in travel writing)

1. Statistical records • Tourism related statistics began in 1920s (in the UK)

2. Personal documents • E.g., The diaries, letters, and journals of travellers • Advantages: Abundance of resources, many survived as old as

from the late 16th century • Disadvantage: inherent bias (mostly written by elite male)

3. Mass communication • E.g., magazines, journals and newspapers • Can reveal much about the culture of a period / link with

literature studies

4. Other sources • E.g., literary records, inscriptions, graffiti, archaeological

remains, diplomatic records, the archive records of tourism firms

(Towner, 1988)

Trends in travel writing (Blanton, 1997)

The central issues in travel reportage has always been the relationship between self and world (p.29).

First Trend (5th century (BCE) -17th


Second Trend (18th – 19th century)

Third Trend (Late 19th to early 20th


Fourth Trend (Mid 20th century)

Trends in travel writing (Blanton, 1997) continued

• Physical world > Traveller

• The dangerous East

• Heroic travel

• Style: Descriptive (and judgemental)

• Purpose: Pre-scientific and ecclesiastical (religious)

Notable figures

• Herodotus

• Marco Polo

• Richard Hakluyt

• Travel as the stimuli for the development of intellectual power (e.g., the grand tour)

• Purpose: Secular, scientific educational and sentimental travel

Notable figures

• Isaac Newton

• Carl Linne

• Tobias Smollett

First Trend

(5th century (BCE) -17th century)

Second Trend

(18th-19th century)

Trends in travel writing (Blanton, 1997) continued

• Travel writing for bourgeois travellers (romantic and optimistic)

• American narratives: travel as a symbolic act, with promises of new life

Notable figures

• Charles Dickens

• Robert Louis Stevenson

• Mark Twain

• Travel writing for mass leisure tourists (post- tourism and postmodernism)

• Search of ‘authenticity’ by anthropologists

• Cultural sensitivity and awareness

• Metaphorical connection to the world

• Personal values, cultural expressions, fictions

Third Trend

(Late 19th to early 20th century)

Fourth Trend

(Mid 20th century – now?)

Different forms of travel writing today

• Travel books

• Travel brochures

• Websites (inc. blogs and social media)

• Journalist articles (e.g., West Australian, Straits Times, magazines)

• Guide books

In the end, do you believe what you read?


Traditional ‘journalistic’ ideas of independent, un-biased and critical reporting


Blending of information with advice and guidance as well as entertainment and relaxation

Travel Journalism

• Nature?

• A form of ‘lifestyle’ or ‘soft’ journalism

• Built on personal experience (uncritical?)

• Heavily reliant on the funding from the tourism industry and public relation (competing interest?)

• Rarely based on unplanned events (news?)

• Both textual and visual

• Aim?

• To entertain and provide a service to the travelling public (Haunsch, 2010)

• To influence our collective imagination of the world

• To exhort the readers to ‘buy into’ travel experiences

A taxonomy of ‘news values’ of travel journalism

1. Appeal – Drawing on readers in by appealing to broadly leisure values

2. Cultural Frames – contextualising a destination or holiday experience.

3. Identification – enabling the reader to image themselves participating in a particular holiday experience

4. Positivity – the holiday experience has to be presented in positive terms

5. “At home/out there” – blending senses of sameness and difference

6. History – historical details of a destination

7. Timeliness – event-based, season based or in the form of rising popularity, style or fashion (Cocking, 2018)

Writing a critique: what to look for

1. Goals

2. Topics

3. Presentation

4. Use

A Written Critique is a form of assessment requiring constructive criticism of a

professional work. Evaluation of the work’s effectiveness includes making judgments

about the appropriateness of the choices made by the original author or creator of the


Workshop Activity - Review of a book review (Read/Pair/Share)

Read a book review and analyse it in terms of:

1. Goals

2. Topics

3. Presentation

4. Use

Using a Book Review Worksheet, Evaluate the review:

1. Overall, is this a good review / bad review. Why? Why not?

2. Does the review make you want to read the book? Why? Why not?

3. Does the review contain meaningful information? Why? Why not?


• Blanton, C. (1997). Narrating Self and Other: an Historical Overview. In Travel Writing: the Self and the World (pp. 2– 29). London: Prentice Hall International, Twayne Publishers. doi:10.1080/09S02380110107S62

• Cocking, B. (2018). News Values Go on Holiday: The ideological values of travel journalism. Journalism Studies, 19(9), 1349–1365. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2016.1272066

• Hanusch, F. (2014). The geography of travel journalism: Mapping the flow of travel stories about foreign countries. International Communication Gazette, 76(1), 47–66. doi:10.1177/1748048513504045

• Towner, J. (1988). Approaches to tourism history. Annals of Tourism Research, 15(1).