Modernism, post-modernism and the decline of British seaside resorts as long holiday destinations: A case study of Rhyl, North Wales
Gale, T. print (2005) Modernism, post-modernism and the decline of British seaside resorts as long holiday destinations: A case study of Rhyl, North Wales. Tourism Geographies, 7 (1). pp. 86-112. ISSN 1461-6688
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461668042000324076
This paper premises that late twentieth century changes to culture impacted upon the demand for and supply of the constituent tourism resources of British seaside resorts in such a way as to facilitate their decline as mass market, long holiday destinations. It begins by reviewing the current state of knowledge pertaining to seaside resort development, noting the tendency to present this as an evolutionary process and the corresponding emphasis placed on competition and resource depletion as reasons for decline, factors that are synonymous with the consolidation, stagnation and post-stagnation phases of the tourist area life cycle. Accordingly, it contends that academics have been slow to engage with the root causes underpinning the diminished popularity of traditional tourist destinations, notably the recent and revolutionary transformations associated with economic restructuring and, especially, cultural change. Using a case study of Rhyl, a traditional cold-water resort on the North Wales coast, the paper demonstrates the influence of the latter by associating significant and unfavourable modifications to (and attitudes towards) the resort’s built environment since the 1960s with characteristics salient to the emergent cultural formation of postmodernism, and its predecessor modernism, as explained in a review of relevant literature. The social theory used to inform this analysis, and the empirical evidence of Rhyl’s decline presented in the paper, together represent an attempt to move beyond simplistic notions of a resort lifecycle.
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