Enclave tourism – definition and characteristics

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Enclave tourism – definitions and characteristics

Enclave tourism has recently become an important topic of discussion and drawn a lot of interests from students, teachers, and tourists alike. A number of writers have attempted to define it and come up with some interesting ideas. This article focuses on what enclave tourism is and some of its characteristics.

What is enclave tourism?

While the term ‘enclave’ refers to a small territory surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are of a different culture or nationality (Soanes, 2002), the concept of enclave tourism suggests development of all inclusive closed-off resorts in a destination with all required facilities for tourists (Lengyel, 1980). According to Cambridge Dictionary (2021) the term enclave refers to a part of a country that is surrounded by another country, or a group of people who are different from the people living in the surrounding area.

According to Anand (1997) enclave tourism implies a conscious decision to segregate tourists from the general population. This form of development aims to attain the benefit of foreign exchange without the overwhelming of indigenous cultures by foreign tourists.

Characteristics of enclave tourism

So, what does it make a destination or system an enclave? In order to find answers to this question, we will look into some of the characteristics of enclave tourism. The main characteristics of enclave tourism are as follows:

Enclaves usually depend on foreign tourists. An example of enclave tourism is cruise ship industry. So, it is not difficult to imagine how many tourists are local and how many of them are foreign who go cruising.

Enclaves are enclosed and self-contained (physically, socially, and economically). Therefore, tourists have hardly any reasons to go out of the enclaves. On many ships, particularly in the Caribbean, guests are highly encouraged to spend their time and money on board.

Enclaves are generally separate from local communities. Therefore, tourists hardly have any opportunities to communicate with local people.  In fact, contact with indigenous people is practically nonexistent.

According to Freitag (1994) the main characteristics of enclave tourism are inclusiveness and the totally controlled tourism environment by management.

Lifestyle in enclaves is very different from that in the surroundings. For example, tourists in some enclaves at Goa in India enjoy a life style which is absolutely different from local Indian lifestyle and culture.

Examples of enclave tourism

Tourism enclaves are available around the world. Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, Bawah, Nihi Sumba and other private beaches in Indonesia, Baros, Makunudu, Voavah and other private islands in the Maldives, Bungalows Key Largo in Key Largo in Florida, Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, Woodloch Pines Resort in Hawley (Pennsylvania), Kokomo in Fiji, and Thanda Island in Tanzania are some of the examples of enclave tourism.

Advantages of enclave tourism

As enclaves are safer than many other tourist destinations, tourists do not need to worry about their safety. For many tourists, selecting an enclave model of tourist resorts is better as this saves them a lot time. Likewise, enclave tourism is better for service providers too as the tourists spend their money in the enclaves only.

Disadvantages of enclave tourism

Local businesses and people do not much benefit from enclave tourism as tourists have hardly any opportunities to come into contact with them. Likewise, exclusive tours may sometimes be very expensive as well. Springer (2019) reports that some of the private islands in Indonesia are developed and owned by millionaires and billionaires, and they are expensive.

Concluding statement

To sum-up, enclaves can exist in any destination. Edensor (1998) opines that an enclave is any destination or resort that provides tourists with everything they need for the length of their stay. Enclaves may not automatically come up in tourist destinations. In fact, tourism managers make conscious decisions to design and develop them for a variety of reasons.

We hope the article  ‘Enclave tourism – definitions and characteristics’ has been helpful. You may also like reading What is sustainable tourism? Impact of tourism, and Factors affecting tourism demand. Other relevant articles for you are:

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Last update: 13 January 2021

Further reading/references

Anand, A. (1997) Advanced Dictionary of Tourism, Delhi: Sarup & Sons

Cambridge Dictionary (2021) Enclave, available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/enclave (accessed 12 January 2021)

Soanese, K. (2002) Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, 9th edition, New York: OUP

Springer, K. (2019) Meet the millionaires (and billionaires) behind Indonesia’s best island hotels, available at: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/indonesia-islands-millionaires/index.html (accessed 10 January 2021)

Author: Joe David

Joe David has years of teaching experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality, and tourism management. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.