Scholars have long viewed travel writing and travel journalism from a postcolonial perspective, based on the history of ‘the West visiting the rest’. Today, however, travel and tourism is multi-directional, with increasing leisure travel among the rising powers of Asia. To counter this western-dominated perspective, this paper uses a grounded-theory approach to assess how travel journalism is done in a non-Western country, Singapore. It proposes that consumerism rather than colonialism is a better framework to explore dominance and subordination. Using content analysis of English and Mandarin newspapers in Singapore, it examines how cultural background affects attitudes towards destinations. We consider how travel journalism creates the destination so that consumption is justified and validated. To do this, we analyse newspaper travel journalism and code three categories of how the journalist recreates a country: the mythologies of country and people that the journalists weave into their articles; the expectations that the journalists carry with them and the way they are guided round a country; and the way journalists behave while in the country. These are three ways they create the country to be consumers within it, and it can be a locus for consumption. Every culture tells a story about other cultures; and in doing so, it tells a story about itself; this study is a step towards counterbalancing the traditional, western-dominated analytical frameworks for looking at travel texts.
Andrew Duffy, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore