SCOTLAND FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
Royal octavo 282 pages
ISBN: 1 86232 121 3
Tourism is now the most important economic activity in the world, ahead even of oil, with scarcely any part of the globe unaffected. Tourists get everywhere, even to quite unsafe locations, and they do so for a variety of reasons. Tourist money powers resort development, and, critics would argue, can corrupt and corrode traditional societies. The temptation is strong to provide tourists with what images they want to find, regardless of whether they are current or genuine. The Scots promotion of Scotland as a land of heather, the kilt and whisky confirms this precisely: a dash of truth, a splash of history and a good deal of manufacture and manipulation!
Yet the study of tourism in Britain has until recently been relatively neglected, and no more so than in Scotland, despite tourismís past and present importance to the country over the last two hundred years and the fascination of the subject itself. And what a tale it is: vast trains nearly three miles long winding their way slowly to the Highlands and the grouse moors, bristling with eager guns from the English cities; skinny dippers from the city scandalising the good matrons of Portobello; drunken daytrippers (nothing changes!), or the newly discovered thrill of the holiday resort as marriage market. Alastair Durie has given us a lively, amusing and thoughtful account of Scottish tourism in all its guises.
Author: Alastair J. Durie has recently retired from the Economic and Social History department at the University of Glasgow. He lives in Stirling.