Tourism, romance, love, and sex have been relaxed bedfellows for a long time. People travel away from home and they have required the unusual, extraordinary, and different. Apart from seeking to view exciting natural landscapes and visiting manifestations of exotic cultures, the tourists urge to experience uniqueness quiet naturally includes seeking out romantic and sexual opportunities that may not be available to them at home. (Cliff and Carter, 2000).
There are some positive and negative aspects of sex tourism. For the most part, the relationship between sex and tourism it is positive, involving consenting adults engaging in an equally gratifying, and often relationship - reinforcing activity. But there is also a dark side to sex and tourism as tourism- related sexual activities can be exploitative and damaging. (Bauer and McKercher, 2003).
Relationship between sex and tourism.
There are a three dimensional model of the relationship between tourism and sex. The first dimension it is the concentricity of the pursuit of sex or romance, be it to join a commercial sex tour, or to participate in singles cruise. The second dimension is the nature of the relationship. At the end it can be commonly satisfying, and relationship building, while at the other extreme it can be exploitative and damaging. The third dimension is the role that tourism plays as a facilitator of sex, love, or romance. (Bauer and McKercher, 2003).
According to Pearce, (2005) the most important role that tourists, as a phenomenon, plays in the sexual relationship is that it offers a liminal environment away from the constraints of home, which reduces inhibitions and provides increased opportunities for sex. Liminality is a condition that allows people to escape from their normal day to day lifestyle and let them to break down their boundaries. During holiday periods tourist meet the settings and conditions which encourage liminal and bohemian style behaviour, encourage an escape from one's strangled life, a chance to become another person temporarily, or engage in another lifestyle (Bauer and McKercher, 2003).
Behaviour of young tourist on Club 18-30 holidays has come under much debate in the last decade with the 'excess of youth tourism'. Liminal behaviour on these types of holidays can mean an excessive amount of drinking and drug abuse, fighting in the streets and vomiting. All of these are forms of antisocial behaviour which cause the trouble not only to other tourist but to local residents. (Ryan and Kinder, 1996).
As a good example of sex tourism and antisocial behaviour of young people it can be stag party. According to Simon Boazman (2008) the British stag party has changed in the past 10 years. The drink down the pub with the parents or friends it is gone. It has been replaced with three or four nights in a foreign city. And that is often much more than a visit to a strip club. For a large number of stags, visiting a prostitute has also become part of the ultimate lads' weekend.
One of good examples of stag parties place it is Prague, which has 70 brothels and numerous strip clubs. Another very popular destination for stag party it is Amsterdam. It is estimated that more than 3 million British people go on stag and hen parties each year, with more than 70% of them going overseas. Amsterdam is the most popular British stag party venue. (Simon Boazman, 2008).
Club 18-30 holidays to sun, sea, and sand destinations turns to sex holidays. However, not only club 18- 30 have access to sex tourism. Also older men's and women's participate in sex tourism. Even though male sex tourists massively outnumber the female counterparts and are more visible (Herold et al. 2001)
Usually term sex tourism evokes the image of Western man, often older and less than perfect shape travelling to Thailand or the Philippines in order to pay for sex with local prostitutes. As sex tourism refers to prostitute-use, and usually prostitutes are assumed to be females, it is difficult to imagine female sex tourism (Sánches Taylor, 2006)
Female sex tourism is described to be more about the feelings than sex itself. This can be explained with the fact that the system of prostitution only exists for men. Male sex tourism is based mainly on older men going to brothels and choosing the woman they want to have sex with, tourist women are picked up by the beach boys. (Jeffreys, 2003)
In the 70s and 80s beach boys in the Caribbean were mainly having sex with male tourists for money. This has changed as there has been such an increase on arrivals of older women tourists in the 90s who are willing to give money. Further, they receive more money from female tourist than from male tourist (Herold et al. 2001).
Women's are enjoying "romance" with local beach boys while men are having only physical sex with local prostitutes. Previously this kind of behaviour was called purely prostitution, whereas sex tourism was more about other tourists engaging sex with other tourists in a holiday destination. In today's world the term sex tourism seems to describe all this behaviour. (Herold et al. 2001).
Bauer, T. and McKercher, B. (2003) Sex and Tourism: Journeys of Romance, Love, and Lust. London: Haworth Hospitality Press.
Herold, E. Garcia, R. DeMoya, T. (2001) Female Tourists and Beach Boys Romance or Sex Tourism? Annals of Tourism Research, 28(4), pp.978-997.
Jeffreys, S. (2003) Sex Tourism: Do Women Do It Too? [online][Accessed 19Apr 2010].Available at :< http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=106&sid=b0dfd524-b5ca-43f6-a30b-0956e6a195cf%40sessionmgr103>.
Pearce, P.L. (2005) Tourist Behaviour. Themes & Conceptual Schemes. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.
Ryan, C and Kinder, R (1996) Sex, tourism and sex tourism - fulfilling similar needs? Journal of Tourism Management, 17(7), pp.507-518.
Sánches Taylor, J. (2006) Female Sex Tourism: a Contradiction in Terms. Feminist Review, 83, pp. 42-59.
Simon Boazman (2008) Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets.[online][Accessed 19 Apr 2010]. Available at:<www.bbc.co.uk>.
Stephen Clift and Simon Carter (2000) Tourism and Sex - Culture, Commerce and Coercion. London, Wellington House.