Tourists and Indigenous Culture as Resources: Lessons from Embera Cultural Tourism in Panama.
Tourism, Power and Culture: Anthropological Insights.
Tourism and Cultural Change
Channel View, Bristol, pp. 115-133.
In the last 15 years, a small number of Embera communities located close to Panama City have succeeded in developing cultural tourism. This recent development has encouraged those Embera who are involved to put their culture at the very centre of their self-presentation and their everyday activities. The particular encounters of the Embera with tourists have enhanced Embera cultural practices, and have demonstrated that Embera culture is desired and admired by Western visitors, who carry hard currency and are citizens of some of the world’s most powerful nations. In this respect, tourism in Panama has played an important role in increasing the visibility of cultural diversity and in shaping the politics of representation. It has also inspired the Embera to re-evaluate their culture, and has provided new opportunities for them to enact and experiment with their indigenous identity and to relate to it in new ways. From their point of view, the new practice of entertaining tourists is an indispensable part of an ‘authentic’ and constantly evolving Embera culture.
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