|Capitalness is contingent: tourism and national capitals in a globalised world
National capitals play a central role in tourism in a globalised world, but their special qualities – their capitalness – can be elusive. This article argues that tourism representation is at the heart of capitalness and shapes the ways in which capitals and nations are seen. Capitals appeal to visitors with accumulations of heritage and cultural assets, as centres of power and as symbols of national identity, presenting the nation to itself and the outside world. Globalisation, territorial change and the rise of sub-state nationalisms have seen new cities becoming national capitals and established capitals significantly changing their roles. Cities may acquire or aspire to capital status, or have to adapt to a role as a lesser capital – or have to abandon capital status altogether. In doing so, they revise buildings, spaces and cultural assets to emphasise their new status and negotiate contested identities. Tourism is integral to this process as new national symbols are created, existing sites are reinterpreted and revalorised for visitors, and choices are made about how the nation should be represented to the outside world and to itself. Tourism representation reveals how tensions between capitals’ cosmopolitan and distinct national roles are played out, how new versions of the national story are developed and how capitalness is contingent on particular national experiences.
|Current Issues in Tourism
|15 (1-2), pp. 3-17
|Taylor & Francis
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