Tourism brochures:
Fact or fiction?

You will need:

a) Wide range of holiday brochures covering East Africa, including Uganda.

b) Wide range of brochures for the United Kingdom, concentrating on an area well known to the Venture Scout Unit.

c) Blank sheets headed:

  • United Kingdom selected area - what the brochures left out.
  • United Kingdom selected area - what the brochures showed you.
  • East Africa - what the brochures left out.
  • East Africa - what the brochures showed you.

d) Flipchart and pens.


Give out the brochures to small groups of members of the Unit. Ask them to list on the blank sheets items that the brochures tell you about. Then ask everyone to write down what they imagine has been left out. For the United Kingdom selected area, this should be quite easy as they will already have some knowledge of the area. For East Africa, they will have to write down what they think has been left out. Explore why this is the case. Check whether the East African list stereotypes Africa in a traditional way (such as hunger and poverty) or does it include modern images such as cars or factories? What images are given on the TV screen?

Points to bring out

Brochures only show one side of the picture, the 'glossy' side. It is important to question images, whether in tourist brochures or in the media generally.

There is a need to find out more for ourselves and to look beyond stereotypical images.

Charter for tourists
Having discovered some of the issues surrounding tourism and some of the effects on the host communities ask the Unit to devise a charter for tourists. One is printed below for you to refer to and perhaps prompt the discussion. Brainstorming is maybe the best way to do this.

* Travel in a spirit of humility and with a genuine desire to learn more about the people of your host country. Be sensitively aware of the feelings of other people, thus preventing what might be offensive behaviour on' our part. This applies very
much to photography.

* Cultivate the habit of listening and observing, rather than merely hearing and seeing.

* Realise that often the people in the country you visit have time concepts and thought patterns different from your own. This does not make them inferior, only different.

* Instead of looking for that 'beach paradise' discover the enrichment of seeing a different way of life, through other eyes.

* Acquaint yourself with local customs. What is courteous in one country may be quite the reverse in another. People will be happy to help you.

* Instead of the Western practice of 'knowing all the answers', cultivate the habit of asking questions.

* Remember that you are only one of thousands of tourists visiting this country and do not expect special privileges.

* If you really want your experience to be a 'home away from home', it is foolish to waste money on travelling.

* When you are shopping, remember that the 'bargain' you obtained was possible only because of the low wages paid to the maker.

* Do not make promises to people in your host country unless you can carry them through.

* Spend time reflecting on your daily experiences in an attempt to deepen your understanding. It has been said that 'what enriches you, may rob and violate others'.

Ideas in this 'tourism' section are taken from 'Questioning Tourism' produced by the Commonwealth Institute, Focus for Change and Oxfam Education.

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