Mega Luxury Tourist Destinations


Recently we wrote about Dubai's goals for Inclusive Tourism. The destination's massive infusion of cash and development into ultra-high end tourism has begun to attract imitators. What we are not hearing are concomitant policies of inclusion. This may signal continuation of current trends of class-marked exclusion goes hand in hand with exclusion through design where, for example, top tier rooms, villas, or cabins in a resort or on a cruise ship will not accommodate travelers with disabilities and low-end spaces are made minimally compliant.

Below the Taipei Times reprints a piece examining the luxury tourism trend written by Leo Hickman of the Guardian.

Small is beautiful. This has been the prevailing mood in tourism over the past decade. We want boutique hotels, cozy bed-and-breakfasts, family-run restaurants serving local fare, city breaks, modest rental cottages, cycling holidays. We shun the sweeping all-you-can-eat hotel buffets, multinational hotel chains, giant cruise ships, carpets of sun loungers on the beach. We seek the isolated and unspoiled and we reject the overdeveloped and congested.

But there is growing evidence that the "big is best" model - typified by the skylines of Cancun, Benidorm and Las Vegas - is fast making a comeback. Across the world, major tourism developments are now planned or under construction that defy the fashion for modesty over brashness. Not since the 1970s have we seen such epical tourism projects.

The spark for much of this about-turn is the success of Dubai, the holiday jewel of the Middle East that has risen rapidly out of the deserts of the eastern Arabian peninsula and which, in just over a decade, has become one of the world's highest-profile tourist destinations. This is a place that is building indoor ski runs in the desert, a theme park twice as large as Florida's Disney World, three skyscrapers vying to be the tallest in the world, hundreds of man-made islands in the sea and a six-runway airport. It's a formula that has been a huge success: from a standing start in the early 1990s, Dubai now attracts 6 million visitors a year. And the infrastructure that is currently under construction aims to attract a staggering 15 million by 2010.


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