Université Libre de Bruxelles, Institut de sociologie
Civilisations vol:57 issue:1-2 pages:207-222
Local tour guides are key players in mediating tensions between concurrent processes of localization and globalization. Drawing on fieldwork in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, this paper explores how Javanese guides adapt their practices to better serve and please Asian clients. By way of an anthropological examination of Yogyakarta’s tourism sector in general and the guiding scene in particular, the paper illustrates how the surge in tourists of Asian origin is redefining the roles commonly assigned to guides in the scientific literature. The empirical data illustrate that while the Javanese guides are fine-tuning their routines to accommodate what they perceive as Asian cultural sensibilities and interests, broader structural dynamics frame the encounter. This reaffirms that tourism of Asian origin is both shaped by and shaping the currently dominant models, discourses, and imaginaries of international tourism.