On 13 January I went to the Dutch Vakantiebeurs (holiday fair) 2011 with four ISS students – Nadya, Camilla, Khalid and Alonso – to do a try-out event ethnography of this mega-event. The holiday fair presents itself as ‘the start of your holiday’, “where you can discover all the information required for selecting your perfect holiday“.
There were several big halls packed with stands from countries, companies and other organizations trying to sell tourism packages, products, destinations, ideas, paraphernalia and much more. The fair was organized in two parts: the ‘European’ part and the ‘far-away destinations’. I spent most of my time in the latter, but also went through the whole European area. The students split up and concentrated on different sections and tried to get an idea about the organizations, destinations, types of tourism, target groups, product sale strategies (slogans!) and prices of those working specifically on environmental friendly / eco / wildlife / nature-based tourism.
In the afternoon we changed focus-sections of the fair and we all concentrated on asking people about the kind of natures they were selling, how they were trying to get tourists to get in touch with these natures and whether there was anything ‘community-based’ about this tourism. Another objective was to get an idea of the ‘material’ (natural) side of this event itself by looking at the ways many a tree is ‘deformed’ to make such an event possible.
See here for some photo’s of the event: