Sex Tourism! For most people these two words conjure up an image of red light districts in places like Amsterdam and Bangkok, or seedy images of men in raincoats boarding buses for massage parlours away from home. Sex Tourism , however, argues that these images are only part of a wider social context. Tourists are socially condoned, feted, temporary people, free from the normal constraints of work and family. The sex worker is historically a socially condemned person, who challenges the norms of society. Sex Tourism examines the issues which emerge from sex worker-client interactions and from tourists visiting 'sex-destinations'. It is a comprehensive summary of past research by academics and original primary and secondary research by the authors and has examples from asia, australasia and the USA. It looks at male and female roles as sex workers and sex tourists and discusses the implications for a sense of identity, for both hetero- and homosexuals.
It examines the emergence of tourism products and destinations based on sexuality, such as the major gay events in Sydney and San Francisco and child prostitution, sex slavery and mail order brides are also discussed - situations wherein, arguably, senses of positive self-identity are denied. The authors have generated new models to show different dimensions of sex tourism. These normalise at least some components of the sex industry and represent a new way of looking at sex tourism. They may challenge the preconceived perceptions that some people have of sex tourism or confirm the impression of others. Sex tourism looks at issues of importance to those working in tourism, women's studies, gender studies and social change.
Professor Chris Ryan is Professor of Tourism at the Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, New Zealand and Professor Colin Michael Hall is Professor and Head of the Centre for Tourism, University of Otago, New Zealand.