"Where Asia Smiles is a most impressive book and certainly the best I have ever read on tourism because it finds the right mix of precise description, empathic documentation, and judicious theoretical analysis."—Jean Paul Dumont, George Mason UniversityWhere Asia Smiles offers an understanding of tourism and its cultural consequences that is neither a lament at the arrival of tourists nor an endorsement of the industry as a blanket resolution of social ills in "underdeveloped" places. Examining the relationship of tourism to cultural identity and practice in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines, Sally Ness observes and documents what is at stake for various actors who have entirely different objectives in the creation of a new cultural landscape. Ness takes an approach that emphasizes the relationship of tourism to the idea of home and the cultivation of all that home supports. Without forcing an interpretation, she draws from her own remembrances and hesitations to explore the ways one is obliged to live within the presence of this geocultural reality.
"A timely and delightful new book. . . . Ness thoughtfully explores the social, cultural, and economic implications of the localization of global tourism in Davao. . . . Where Asia Smiles: An Ethnography of Philippine Tourism will appeal to a wide range of audiences. It offers a richly textured and informative account of the development of Philippine tourism at the microscopic level. It is a book for all those interested in learning more about the local ramifications of global tourism."—Journal of Asian Studies
"Anyone who has been to Manila, Bali, or Bangkok is aware of the plight of the locals who despise and yet want the presence of tourists. . . . Ness focuses on the Philippines . . . to examine the delicate balance between preserving one's way of life while being open to the increasing demands of tourism."—Choice
Based on twelve months of research conducted in the 1990s, the study tracks the development of tourism during a time when the industry was growing faster in the Asian and Pacific Islands than anywhere else in the world. Ness focuses on individuals and families engaged in three types of tourism development: family-owned beach resorts, urban economy hotels, and a government-developed tourism estate. With great sensitivity to detail, she records the insights of those dealing with tourism in their home territories, observing closely the cultural consequences of tourism's particular way of operating at one unique developing location.
Sally A. Ness is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Body, Movement, and Culture: Kinesthetic and Visual Symbolism in a Philippine Community, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.