Volume: 36, No: 2, Year: 2011  

Small can be Beautiful, but Big can be Beautiful Too – And Complementary: Towards Mass / Alternative Tourism Synergy


The ‘small is beautiful’ school of tourism, inspired at least indirectly by Schumacher, has a long pedigree rooted in the Grand Tour and some forms of pilgrimage, but found compelling contemporary expression since the early 1980s under the guise of ‘alternative tourism’ (AT) (Dernoi 1981; Gonsalves 1987; Holden 1984). Perhaps it was the rapidity with which conventional mass tourism appeared to conquer large swaths of the global coastline after World War Two, and the shock of realizing that the promised economic benefits were often accompanied or superseded by a bevy of unwelcomed costs, but the supporters of AT were for the most part subsequently and unfortunately inclined to view the constructs of AT and mass tourism in sharply conflicted black and white terms (Weaver 2006). As an ideal type contrasted with mass tourism, AT emphasized small scales of engagement presumably more appropriate for the small and marginalized communities that were beginning to be incorporated into the global pleasure periphery.

Keywords: Research probe; tourism; mass tourism; .

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