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Contrasting coldwater and warmwater island tourist destinations

Butler, R. (2006) Contrasting coldwater and warmwater island tourist destinations. In: Extreme Tourism: Lessons from the Worlds' Cold Water Islands. Advances in Tourism Research . McMillan. ISBN 978-0-08-044656-1

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Abstract

The dominance of the physical setting is one of the strongest images that emerges when tourism on cold water islands is examined. Ignoring for the moment the often dramatised relationship between humankind and climate, it is clear, either implicitly or explicitly, that human existence, let alone tourism, on these islands is continuously vulnerable to physical conditions. While the 'cocooning' of tourists on tropical islands is almost over-discussed (Dann, this volume), such shielding of the pleasure seekers from the physical (and sometimes human) elements there is essentially for comfort, rather than survival. On at least some of the coldwater islands discussed here, it is survival which necessitates such sheltering from the elements, not just of tourists, but of locals also. Such conditions, along with other factors, have inevitably kept numbers of visitors to low levels, even where the islands may have many, often unique, attractions. Thus one can deduce from even a brief examination of the chapters in this volume, the fact that to be a tourist to such destinations means that one must have a specific motivation to visit the particular island or island group. None of these islands, or their equivalents in other cold water areas, can be visited 'by accident' and none of them represent a generic form of tourism except in a very broad way. Each is unique, and grouping them into categories, other than by such adjectives as 'coldwater' or 'extreme', is not convincing. To draw together some common themes and issues, therefore, is somewhat difficult and inevitably subject to personal bias and interpretation.