Heritage Tourists and Their Nationalist Sentiment

The aim of this paper is to prove that nationalism is not only felt within a territory, it is defined by culturally similar people with a collective identity. In further detail, nationalism is determined on a basis of similar beliefs, ideals, and common goals. One can feel nationalism for their culture or country regardless if they do or do not retain citizenship or live in a set of boundaries which claim it’s nationhood. Heritage tourism, therefore, directly reflects the ways in which people will return to the motherland they or their ancestors once left. This act of tourism is representative of who those who visit are, connecting themselves back together with their motherland, and therefore defining their nationalist sentiment. This nationalist sentiment directly derives from the feelings of belonging and shared history from those who return for good or through heritage tourism.

A writer known as “Paul” is an American lawyer living in Delhi. In his own words, he has traveled to many parts of the world, especially Muslim countries, for the last five years. In Paul’s writings, he describes the ways in which borders do not represent or define the people who dwell within or outside them:

The lines on which national identity and nationalism are built are often just historical quirks based on some temporary exigency long forgotten… In the way that enclaves and exclaves demonstrate borders yielding to the human reality that no clear lines can truly represent boundaries among people and cultures. (“Panhandles and Quadripoints”)

The truth behind nationalism can be discovered in the writings of Johann Gottfried Herder. Herder talks about a center of gravity in which nations draw in natives from other countries, this center of gravity representing happiness. This happiness can also be regarded as patriotism, a feeling which celebrates who you are and draws upon one’s feelings of nationality:

Every nation must learn to feel that it becomes great, beautiful, noble, rich, well ordered, active, and happy, not in the eyes of others, not in the mouth of posterity, but only in itself, in its own self; and that both foreign and late respect then follows it as the shadow follows the body. (Herder, 406)

Therefore, patriotism is also felt throughout the world and is not confined to a set of boundaries. This almost directly translates to the way in which nationalism is not confined to a set of boundaries. Every nation and its people only need to appreciate itself, they do not need the hate or prejudice of “the eyes of others” because they do not understand what there is to appreciate in the nation. The center of gravity which is happiness draws in a nation’s natives and those who have roots in that nation and compels them to feel nationalist sentiment for their motherland. This happiness further explains why people from outside a nation’s borders feel nationalist sentiment towards a nation which is not theirs by legal means, such as citizenship. Herder also demonstrates how heritage is an ultimate factor when it comes to nationalist tendencies. He says, “Everyone who is on the ship in the flooding waves of the sea feels himself obliged to aid, to preserve, to save the ship” (Herder, 375). Therefore, those removed from their motherland will return to explore their roots whether or not they retain citizenship there. This is due to a duty those people feel towards their motherland, later described by Herder as an ultimate return to the motherland as proof of nationalist sentiment and heritage tourism. In this excerpt it is obvious nationalist sentiment calls upon one in times of struggle and in times of hardship to deliver their support:

The word fatherland brought the ship afloat at the shore; he can, he may, no longer (unless he casts himself overboard and entrusts himself to the sea’s wild waves)stand idly by in the ship and count the waves as though he was on the shore. His duty calls upon him (for all his companions and loved ones are with him in the ship) that if a storm rises up, a danger threatens, the wind changes, or a ship hurtles on threatening to run down his vessel –his duty calls upon him that he should help and call out” (Herder, 375-376).

Before diving into the evidence behind heritage tourism, we must first understand the scope of it. In Eric Zuelow’s book, A History of Modern Tourism, the author explores how heritage tourism attempts to spread a nation’s reach by diving into the roots of its residents. Zuelow continues to explore the way in which tourism impacts heritage, describing how “In the years right after World War II, tourism was an expression of growing affluence and expanding family, but it also hinted at anxiety and unsettling change.” This hints at the way in which an expanding family unsettled by change would like to explore their heritage and settle their discontent and anxiety. Zuelow speaks about heritage tourism’s very large scope in our world:

‘Heritage tourism’ is a case in point. It is rooted in a widespread desire to travel into a simpler past and it accounts for as much as $192 billion in the United States alone. In Great Britain, ‘heritage’ was worth £26.4 billion in 2013. In developing countries, this branch of travel is arguably worth even more.

In a world where heritage tourism is worth so much money, it is impossible to say that it does not exist, nor does it reflect nationalist sentiment. This directly reflects the popularity and broad scope of heritage tourism, and does not narrowly represent one group of people who visit these countries. These numbers reflect the way in which one will travel to their motherland in order to relive “a simpler past” and explore their heritage through their ancestral roots.

According to some, using the word “heritage” was just a ploy for countries to get rich quick. In one specific case, heritage tourism is employed as a tactic to draw in more customs:

Questions concerning the way such symbols are used are of particular salience for countries, like England, that rely upon them as the means of attracting tourists to their shores. Heritage, the ‘buzz’ word of the 1990’s, is employed to promote tourism to a variety of different destinations. Its main aim is thus the packaging of an identity for sale to 7 tourists; or, as Horne (1984: 166) argues, nationality is ‘…one of the principle colourings of the tourist vision’. (Palmer, 6)

While it is evident this may be true in some cases, this does not discount the fact that heritage tourism exists. It may be exploited by some means, but it does not make it any less real to those who feel nationalist sentiment towards the country from which they are visiting. A point Catherine Palmer brings up in her writings about “Tourism and the Symbols of Identity” states:

The key point about such signs is their ability to convey meaning, to transmit very particular messages about a nation, it’s culture. As Graham Dann (1996: 218) argues, nostalgia tourism aims to answer the question ‘who am I?’ in terms of ‘who was I’. Thus, the tourism industry relies upon a form of nationalistic rhetoric as a way of conveying images and meanings about what it considers to be the nation’s communal heritage. (Palmer, 9)

Although some may argue the tactic of symbolism through monuments and historic sites may only be used to traffic tourist sentiment in order to increase revenue, it is obvious that tourists are not affected negatively by this. Aside from the manipulation by countries making money off of tourists, tourists themselves feel the need to link themselves to their past, and therefore explore their roots. The use of symbols links the heart of the people to the country, and therefore, “serves to define their cultural identity” (Palmer, 10).

During the spring break of my sophomore year of college, my friends and I travelled to Florida and stayed for 5 days. One of those days, we visited St. Augustine, which is esteemed to be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the U.S. which was established by Europe. This city houses many beautiful Spanish relics, one of which being Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. While my friends and I visited St. Augustine, we walked through the fort of Castillo de San Marcos.

Pictured Above: Tourists Observing Cannons Firing at Castillo De San Marcos

While weaving through the fort’s rooms and walking alongside the mortars and cannons, I became more and more aware of the Spanish-speaking tourists visiting the fort as well. It was touching to see these tourists exploring the history of their mother country, Spain, in relation with their country of residence, the U.S. Every Spanish-speaking tourist I encountered seemed extremely excited to explore the connections to their history. There was one family, a father with a camera leading his children around, speaking enthusiastically to each other about the fort. A tour guide would be giving his spiel about what was what, and how the place came to be as it is, and the father of the family would take a few pictures and then turn to his children and speak to them in his native tongue with a prideful tone. There were many more tourists exploring the fort and the town who seemed very excited as well. There is no doubt in my mind that these tourists felt prideful for their motherland and were very excited about exploring their roots and history.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) serve as another example of this profound tourist nationalism. Local articles declare the BVI have the best standards of living with a thriving robust economy ”with friendly people, a warm climate and pristine islands in a tropical sea, the success story looks set to continue” (Cohen, 94). This serves as an example of the way in which the British natives explore their heritage and the untouched land of the BVI. The BVI serves as a vacation area for the British, as well as a relished area of tourist culture. Past imperialism of Britain over other countries lures those originating from former colonies, allowing tourists to return to their motherland to explore their roots. The BVI utilizes the slogan, “‘Take me to my paradise,’ calls forth images of a premodern Eden fixed in time, the first two lines reference modernity and mobility“ (Cohen, 15). This historical nature of tourism informs the idea that nationalism is felt anywhere, not only within a set of boundaries. Tourists visit places they feel kinship towards in order to explore their history, and therefore their roots.

In Lu-Kang, Taiwan, it is increasingly apparent of the impact of heritage tourism. Defined in the study, “Heritage Tourism in Taiwan’s Desinicized Nationalism,” heritage tourism is a “form of tourism allows individuals to gaze and experience selected symbols of identity” (Duarte B. et al., 279). This study ultimately demonstrates the collective allegiance of heritage tourists and the way Taiwan’s “national identity is intimately connected with Taiwan’s colonial heritage” (Duarte B. et al., 280). Throughout the study, it is more and more apparent how local heritage is felt by domestic visitors. Stated in the study, “Today Lu-Kang has several sites officially designated as national heritage attracting between .4 to 1.2 million visitors in 2003” (Duarte B. et al, 281)

Pictured Right: Lu-Kang Longshan Temple, Heritage Tourism Site

This is evidence of the way in which postmodern consumption of national symbols influences the national sentiment of Taiwan’s visitors, specifically the way in which it reinforces beliefs of being at home in the motherland. In this study, tourists and residents of Lu-Kang were interviewed in order to provide evidence of nationalist sentiment. This study ultimately demonstrated “the way in which those legacy tourists declared their personal roots to the destination suggested that they considered this characteristic as proof of their true Taiwaneseness” (Duarte B. et al., 285). Discovered by this study, tourists referred to Lu-Kang’s culture as their own “and as their country’s” (Duarte B. et al., 285) which suggested heritage tourism allows visitors to experience nationalism and to rediscover their national identity. Concluding, one can feel nationalism for a country whether or not they retain citizenship there, and whether or not they live in a set of boundaries which claim its’ nationhood.

In a similar account, Hyung II Pai describes the way in which ruins and tourist landmarks in Korea inform a shared history between tourists and residents which positively impacts their shared nationalist identity. He says:

The CGK’s ultimate political goal was directed at reclaiming the art and archaeological treasures discovered in Korea as the part of their long lost shared body of imperial cultural and racial patrimony. These registered treasures and preserved monuments were also promoted as material “proof,” of shared cultural heritage designed to foster a sense of belonging, pride, and nostalgia conveyed to millions of Japanese settlers, colonized subjects, and arriving tourists. (Pai, 19).

Pictured Left: South Gate After Reconstruction, Heritage Tourism Site

Pai’s writings in this journal, “Gateway to Korea: Colonialism, Nationalism, And Reconstructing Ruins As Tourist Landmarks,” also demonstrate how tangible symbols of shared history and culture preserves the nationalist identity of tourists and residents. These tangible symbols foster a sense of belonging, pride, and nostalgia towards the motherland. Not only this, but tourists also feel welcome to their motherland because of the values and pride they share with its citizens. Pai describes the way in which ancestral achievements provide proof for domestics and tourists of their nationality:

…according to the cultural committee’s criteria, the properties’ current preservation state, artistic execution, technological achievements, and craftsmanship should be representative of “our country’s past historical epochs and therefore, can be regarded as superior examples of our ancestral achievements. (20)

Stephen Jaye is an American who currently resides in Denver, Colorado, and makes a hobby out of travelling the Western U.S. Jaye believes that through his travels, he embraces his humanity and individuality, and hopes others will find purpose in his writings. In Jaye’s blog post “Happy Independence Day,” Jaye admits to believing his country, being on “the wrong track.” He says:

However, on this Fourth of July, I would like to show some appreciation for what we do have, and how fortunate we are to have enjoy the freedom and prosperity that we do enjoy.  And, while I do not believe there are no other great places to live in this world, I am still proud of the one that I call home. (“Happy Independence Day”)

While Jaye may believe this, he expresses his passionate pride in his country earlier on in the blog post, he says:

The breadth of the travel opportunities is quite possibly our greatest asset.  Within the borders of the United States, you can find everything from the frozen tundra of Alaska to tropical Hawaii.  We have the peaks of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, as well as the perfectly flat regions of Northern Illinois and Indiana.  From the Grand Canyon in Arizona to Isle Royal National Park in Michigan, many different types of natural scenery can be found right here in the United States. (“Happy Independence Day”)

While these passages demonstrate how Jaye may not be entirely prideful for his country, he expresses his grievances and later, clarifies his love for his country. It may be said that tourists can not truly feel nationalism towards a country which they do not retain citizenship because they don’t understand that country’s hardships. However, Jaye demonstrates the truth of a nationalist citizen of the U.S. expressing sentiments toward his country, even with the belief that his country is on “the wrong track.”

Highlighted in John K. Walton’s Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity And Conflict is an argument against my claim and for my claim that I would now like to address. To begin, Chapter 7, written by Shelley Baranowski, points out how tourism does not have anything to do with heritage. She says, the Nazi Party “promised a ‘national community’ united by racial purity, rather than divided by social conflict; one in which all racially acceptable Germans, regardless of class or region, would share in a prosperous future” (Walton, 127). Demonstrated by this passage, it is apparent Baranowski believes tourism is an expression of dreams and fantasies that can not be achieved because tourists are not “pure” and do not belong. This however, is not true. Tourists do not have to fulfill the makeup of an ideal citizen in the country they visit in order to feel belonging. Heritage tourists, for example, feel belonging in exploring their heritage whether or not they belong or retain citizenship in that location. Furthermore, Baranowski believes tourists observe alien culture and attempt to adopt it as their own but can not because they are not the same, and do not belong. She says:

Tourism is the expression of dreams, fantasies and the imagination played out in ‘reality,’ i.e., the aesthetic experiences that readers tourism less like a commodity than other, more tangible, consumer goods. (Walton, 131)

This belief is contingent that tourists can not truly be part of the community because they do not reside in the motherland, and therefore they are not the same and do not share the nationalist identity of a country’s residents. However, no one residing in one nation is truly homogeneous in the way that a nation can be “pure.” This idea is completely outlandish and wrong. “Purity” does not solely justify “belonging” and neither does a symmetrical belief system with that of the community’s. Everyone is subject to differ from everyone else. If this idea was true there would be no concept of nation at all. Nonetheless, Baranowski describes the ways in which residents and tourists can not intermingle due to their differences:

Domestic tours provided opportunities for travellers from one district to appreciate the panoramic landscapes of others, while their housing and socialising- private lodgings and ‘community’ evenings with residents- encouraged tourists to ‘get acquainted with’ other regions of Germany. (Walton, 133)


On the other hand, in Chapter 8, written by Kristin Semmens, tourism is a tactic used to cultivate nationalist sentiment (Walton, 145). Semmens speaks of the Volk, the unity of people and nation, in the way that “leisure travel served the physical rejuvenation of the Volk and the restoration of its capability to work, thereby strengthening the German people for coming struggles” (Walton, 145). This definition of the Volk directly translates to my own beliefs of nationalism, in the way the nationalism unites a people with their nation, no matter how far  apart they may be or whether or not they retain residents within that nation’s boundaries. Semmens continues to describe heritage tourism as the “physical rejuvenation of the Volk” which suggests heritage tourism creates a greater unity between the motherland and its children. The national identity, or Volk, is restored and utilized, and therefore “the political purposes of domestic tourism were openly and bluntly declared: an increase in nationalist sentiment and greater unity within the ‘national community’” (Walton, 146). This increase of nationalist sentiment ultimately does not define tourists as an “other” to the natives of that nation. Ultimately, this increases creates a greater sense of unity between the natives and the tourists, because they understand the means of their shared history and belonging. Therefore, Semmens counters Baranowski’s outrageous claims and proves that nationalism is not only felt within a territory. Nationalism is linked by roots to the motherland, whether or not you remain within its boundaries.

In conclusion, tourists feel nationalism for the places in which their roots outstretch to. Not only this, but nationality is therefore not defined by the purity of a group of people. Just as people who live in America feel nationalist sentiment to their history derived from Spain, people can feel their nationalist identity belongs with a nation that does not claim them as their own. Therefore, people coming from imperialized cultures can feel nationalism towards their motherland.

Annotated Bibliography

Castillo De San Marcos. Digital image. Orlando Family Magazine. Orlando Family Magazine, 2017. Web. 8 May 2017. <http://www.orlandofamilymagazine.com/family-fun/out-and-about/time-out-for-fun-6-easy-family-road-trips-from-orlando/>.

Cohen, Colleen Ballerino. Take Me To My Paradise : Tourism And Nationalism In The British Virgin Islands. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2010. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

The author explores the ways in which the British Virgin Islands employ tourism of an untouched and seemingly undiscovered Eden to sustain its society. Passages from this book are used to show the ways in which residents of the area which is typically a tourist site do not differ in from those who visit the country for the purposes of heritage tourism.

Herder, Johann Gottfried, and Michael N. Forster. Herder: Philosophical Writings. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

This vast book includes all of the known writings of Johann Gottfried Herder. The passages in which are derived from this book are used to demonstrate how those who immigrate from their motherland will continue to feel nationalist sentiment towards the country they left.

Jaye, Stephen. “Happy Independence Day.” Stephen Jaye’s Travel Writing. WordPress, 4 July 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

This author expresses his thoughts about his country, the United States of America, on Independence Day. This source will be used to analyze the nationalism of a travelling tourist to his own country, besides his beliefs that his country is on the wrong track.

LuKang Longshan Temple. Digital image. Travel in Changhua County. Changhua Gov., 2010. Web. 8 May 2017. <http://tourism.chcg.gov.tw/EN/hopSpotInfo.aspx?id=274&chk=96dc7c52-1ad1-499f-8d47-a30c8b0a3c8b¶m=pn%3d2%26dpClass%3d2%26dpArea%3d505>.

Morais, Duarte B., Su-Hsin Lee, Jing-Shoung Hou, Chung-Hsien Lin, Careen M. Yarnal, and Garry Chick. “Heritage Tourism in Taiwan’s Desinicized Nationalism.” Heritage Tourism in Taiwan’s Desinicized Nationalism 8 (2010): 277-92. Pasos Online. PASOS. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

The authors of this journal intend to prove how those who visit Taiwan, visit Taiwan for the purposes of exploring their heritage and personal roots. Passages from this journal will be used to dissect the nature of heritage tourism and demonstrate proof to the reader that tourists have provided evidence of their intent to explore their roots.

Pai, Hyung Il. “Gateway To Korea: Colonialism, Nationalism, And Reconstructing Ruins As Tourist Landmarks.” Journal of Indo-Pacific Archaeology 35 (2015): 15-25. Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies. University of California, 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

The author of this journal intends to explore the importance of reconstruction and preservation of ruins and other landmarks for the purposes of heritage tourism. The author explains how these treasures and monuments are promoted as proof of shared culture with the tourists in which observe them.

Palmer, C. “Tourism and the Symbols of Identity.” Tourism Management, 20 (1999): 1-27..

“Panhandles and Quadripoints.” Paul’s Travel Blog. WordPress, 20 Dec. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

This source will be used to provide evidence that there are other people other than myself who believe that nationalism is not contained in a set of boundaries. One specific quote will be drawn from this entry in Paul’s blog.

South Gate After Reconstruction. Digital image. The History Blog. The History Blog, 2017. Web. 8 May 2017. <http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/25008>.

Walton, John K. Histories Of Tourism : Representation, Identity And Conflict. Clevedon: Channel View Publications, 2005. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

Two chapters from this book are taken and pitted against each other to demonstrate the different perspectives of domestic tourism. On one hand, tourism is seen as a tactic to exploit alien culture, meaning the Germans saw tourists as fantasizing and impure. On the other hand, tourism is seen as a driving force to cultivate national sentiment.

Zuelow, Eric. A History of Modern Tourism. N.p.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Google Books. Google, 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

This book recalls the history of tourism in modern times. Passages pulled from this book demonstrate how heritage tourism attempts to spread a nation’s outreach and pull people in, to increase their nationalist sentiment.

2014 Inbound Visitor Arrivals in Taiwan by Purpose of Visit. Digital image. Taiwan: Executive Information System. Tourism Bureau, 2011. Web. 8 May 2017. <http://admin.taiwan.net.tw/upload/contentFile/auser/b/annual_2014_htm/English/chapter1_2.html>.