My tourism

Kertajaya Indah, Surabaya (00.15)

“Never be fooled by what you see on the outside because on the inside it’s often a different story” ~ Anonymous.

The quote above is fit with what’s on my mind when I was enrolled in my college 21 years ago. I thought I know something, yet once I step into the classroom and listening what my lecturer said, it’s clearly explained that I have no idea about what is tourism all about.

The simple word of tourism I knew previously somehow come up with eight semesters of my study. The more I learn about this thing; the more my understanding of tourism is void. At least that’s what I honestly believed. From the original idea of people traveling from one point to another for recreational purpose, it turns out that tourism is much more than that.

It’s true that probably the first recorded history about tourism could be found in the most selling books in the world. The books what I mean are all religious text of the most significant religions in the world. You name it, from the Holy Book of Jews, the Holy Bible, and the Holy Qur’an all are recording the story about Adam and Eve.

It’s believed that once they cast out of the paradise to the world, we live in, Adam and Eve separated on the far distance. One source even mentioned that Adam was in Africa while Eve in India. They’re roaming around until after several hundred years later meet together somewhere in the area what becoming what we said the Middle East today. And that’s what I believed as a first-ever recorded activity of tourism which turn to be also an original history of tourism.

You, of course, may argue with that, but you couldn’t justify the fact that their activity considered as tourism according to the popular definition of tourism issued by UNWTO, which said that:

“Tourism is the activities of people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for leisure, business or other purposes for not more than one consecutive year.” ~ UNWTO, 2010

I know there are specific words “not more than one consecutive year,” but again it’s a matter of perspective. From my understanding, since both Adam and Eve have no actual environment (read: home) prior they arrive in the world, so the time restriction is not valid.

To define only the original history of tourism alone is already complicated. To describe the complexity of tourism is as complicated as explaining the leading actor of the tourism itself which is human.

As an interdisciplinary concept, we can see tourism from various perspectives. Geography, anthropology, economy, management, philosophy, history, ecology, statistics, and other relevant subjects can be fuse with tourism. I might say that tourism is a ‘female’ concept. It can fit perfectly well with almost any theories or approaches. And it will become a new subject to discuss with different perspectives and different ideas to explore. Some person prefers to see the tourism from the standpoint of economy, while others might see it from the ecology standpoint. There is no whose more right, and whose are wrong. It’s merely the nature of tourism as an interdisciplinary concept.

I have involved in the tourism industry for almost 25 years now. And to be honest, I still have no clue about how in-depth is the tourism knowledge. The more I submerge to its understanding, the more I was unable to grasp everything. It’s probably only because of my limitation in understanding something, but I believed it’s the nature of the tourism itself.

Some people love to have different experiences while others opt to focus on one deep expertise. I believe this can match what you can do with tourism well. If you’re the kind of person who is outgoing personality, typically you’d like to have more experiences in a different setting, on the other hand, the introverted person usually will fit on the later. What I’m trying to say that as part of the services industry, tourism has plenty of branches. To name a few, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, tour guides, etc. are some examples of different settings where people can make a contribution. You can try to work in the hotel, then jump in to become a tour guide on the later time. It’s acceptable due to the nature of the service industry. However, to become an expert in one field, it means that you have to become a specialist instead of a generalist. Delve more profound and deeper into one subject to be an expert in that field. You can’t be a generalist and specialist at the same time.

To be honest, I’m currently on the crossroad regarding my career path in tourism. As an entrepreneur, it requires a lot of resources which it seems impossible to realize at the time being. As an academician, however, I have to consider to start from the beginning, to continue my study again in tourism so I can reach the target what I have in mind. Those are difficult choices, but I have to pick the best one which I believe will become the turning point in my future career. That’s the reason why I’m applying for my Ph.D. scholarship now.

In the end, talking about tourism is talking about the very subjective matter. It depends on a lot of aspects, a lot of criteria, a lot of ideas. But again it also depends on who is talking and their intention. For me, at least some part of tourism is already becoming my life story, and I wouldn’t dare to think to dump tourism, shortly soon.