The Maltese gift : tourist encounters with the self and the other in later life

Avellino, Marie (2016) The Maltese gift : tourist encounters with the self and the other in later life. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

This thesis takes a case study approach of the tourist-host encounter in the Maltese Islands, an ex-British Colony and older British tourists (OBTs). OBTs are an important source market for tourism as this is set to grow in volume and propensity. The research investigates how OBTs negotiate identity and memory through their narratives. It does so by examining what is being transacted at a social, cultural and symbolic level between the Maltese and the OBT. It then enquires as to the extent the previous colonial relationship is influencing the present ex-colonial and neocolonial Anglo-Maltese tourist encounter.

The ethnographic study employs a two-pronged strategy. The first interrogates the terms under which spatial and temporal dimensions of the cultural production of the post colony, and the ongoing representations of specific spaces and experiences, are circulated and interpreted by these tourists. The second examines the relationship through the ‘exchange lens' which is manifested along social and cultural lines within the Maltese tourism landscape context.

The research indicates that older adult British visitors have a ‘love’ for the island, which is reciprocated by the Maltese Anglophiles, in spite of some tensions between the two nations in the past. The relationship extends beyond a simple economic transaction but is based on more of a social, symbolic and cultural exchange.

This research is one of the first to examine the phenomenon of non-economic capital and gift exchange and the role exchange plays in building relationships at the tourist-host interface. The study concludes that the value, which is placed on the gifts, or capital which are generated or exchanged through the tourist encounter, encourages further visits to the island. Much of this value is based on the significance of Empire to the OBTs who re-discover lost traces of Britishness in Malta through experiencing Anglo-Maltese cultural hybridity. It also advances the view that tourism is really about the self rather than the other - or, at least, that the other is in some senses a mirror of the self.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: tourism; Malta; Maltese Islands; older British tourists (OBTs)
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 330 Economics
Department: Guildhall School of Business and Law
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 11:44
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2017 08:30


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