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Ethnographic Essay

1612 words - 7 pages


The aim of this essay is to analyze how the tourism sector may have contributed in pushing Batam’s local history to the back. Tourism have been generally accepted as an industry that brings positive changes and benefits, which includes economic growth and structural development if it is looked at from the macro level perspective. However, when looked at the micro level, there are bound to be some costs that these ‘lower levels of participants or stakeholders’ have to bear like for example local exploitation and environmental loss and destruction. One of the key factors in ensuring a destination becomes a successful tourist attraction destination is the destination image (Hunt, 1975). Through this created image, potential and returning tourists will then be able to decide on a suitable place for them to visit (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999). In this essay, the argument to be brought forth is that a destination’s local historical heritage may be hidden and forgotten in the process of marketing or image-making.

Location history

The location went to for the purpose of this essay is the island of Batam, Indonesia. This island roughly the same size as Singapore had a rag-to-riches story when a free trade zone was declared in 1989 and another with Singapore in 2006. Due to the tourists’ experiences as well as the image created by the local tourism promotion board (, 2012), Batam have come to be known as a shoppers’ paradise with its numerous shopping malls and luxury resorts.


The trip taken spanned over 3 days was to the island of Batam. Accomodation was located in the island center Nagoya, where the main bulk of the tourists and locals can be found. On the second day, a visit to the Galang Refugee Camp located in the offshore island Galang was made, where most of the observation and reflections happened.

Literature review

The main concepts that are looked into in this essay are destination image and dark tourism. Destination image is defined by David Gertner and Philip Kotler as being a set information based upon the individual’s ideas, impressions and knowledge on a particular place and that these constructed images are a simplified explanation of all those bits of information (2004). In that article, Gertner and Kotler went further to differentiate image, as being a more individualistic view on a particular location, in turn may be different from another person’s view, from stereotype, as being a general consensus accepted by a wider group of people. John D. Hunt defines destination image as an individual’s attitudes and thought concerning a location not of their residence (1975). Hunt further adds a criteria for destination image creation which is personal experience or patronage. While this addition is logical, destination image may be created even at the pre-visit stage, without having to first be at the destination. Seyhmus Baloglu and Ken W. McCleary had developed a model illustration on the process of destination...

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