The British on Holiday: Charter Tourism, Identity and Consumption (2011) by Hazel Andrews is considered to be a unique ethnographic study of tourists in the Palmanova and Magaluf resorts on the island of Mallorca (incidentally a Catalan spelling of Majorca, it’s more popular name), a predominantly British package holiday destination.
Characterised by fast food outlets with a bawdy reputation as a ‘party’ island and 18-30 club activities, the British have exerted massive cultural influence upon Mallorca typified by pub names like ‘Nutters’ and ‘Diana Beach Bar’. Keenly looking beyond impact of previous studies, Andrews (2011) reflects upon the holiday as a search for a more satisfying life and the aspect of tourist motivation. She discusses the ‘sacred’ ritualisation of the holiday experience as though it is a pilgrimage seeking paradise, even regarding souvenirs as sacred relics. Understanding the regressive childlike behaviour displayed by some tourists, Andrews (2011) explains that their lack of inhibition lends itself towards a Freudian interpretation; a theory which is allegedly supported by travel literature. Andrews (2011) also explores the notion that someone’s hedonistic fantasy can be another’s Hell, with some sleep deprived tourists wanting to return home early owing to so much noise on the island.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, particularly in trying to understanding the bizarre, and exclusive, concept of Britishness abroad (the supposedly innate need of some tourists to wave the Union Jack on hotel balconies, etc) and Andrews (2011) mega-theory of consumerism and nationalism, deliberately exploited to produce a sense of belonging in British charter tourists. It is amusing (some tourists were not sure if Mallorca was an island!) and thought-provoking because of her interpretation of a wide range theories underpinning tourism studies.