Dante’s Inferno provides us with what is perhaps the most apt picture of tourism to date. More specifically, it is in the first layer of Hell, Limbo, that Dante depicts the circumstances that contextualize tourism and the individual who undertakes it, i.e. the tourist.
Like the unbaptized and virtuous Pagans whose torture is the inability to imagine something greater than their rational minds can conceive, the tourist never ventures beyond the predetermined image of the places they visit. The tourist deals only in images, whether it is the image of the Grand Canyon that was promised to him by the travel agent, or the image he must make of it (by snapping a picture) in order for it to become real. The tourist cannot know the mystery or grandeur of the Grand Canyon as it stretches across the horizon, she can only seen it in comparison to the image she was promised.… Read the rest