The place of backpacker enclaves: Exploring the concept towards its temporariness and situational contexts

  • Boštjan Kravanja
Keywords: backpacker enclaves, mobility, travel practices, place-making, Sri Lanka


In the literature on backpacker tourism, the concept of backpacker enclaves has been recognised as a significant type of tourist space for understanding the travel experience of backpackers. The concept refers to specific areas that are distinct from the surroundings and are popular destinations for backpackers, who reproduce their specific milieus in such areas. However, travellers also often find their “place to be” through diverse networks and intermediaries among residents of destinations, either in tourist or non-tourist spaces. In the article, I discuss the processes of creating alternative, backpacker enclave-like spaces based on the ethnographic case of Sri Lanka, where I conducted my fieldwork on travel practices and tourist spaces of backpackers and domestic as well as foreign residents between 2003 and 2006. In the theoretical part of the article, I will rethink the conception of backpacker enclaves and their role in today’s international backpacker tourism and travelling.