Post-Communist Transformation of Tourism in Czech Rural Areas: New Dilemmas
The past two decades have been marked by rapid transformations of tourism in postcommunist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Yet, there has been little systematic research on tourism development in this region from the social science perspective, that is to say the anthropology of tourism. This paper attempts to outline key ideologies and practices of tourism in socialist Czechoslovakia and to contrast them with a new phenomenon of post-communist incoming tourism into Czech rural countryside, the emergence of recreational complexes called ‘Dutch villages’ and second homes owned by the Dutch. The main aim is to analyse the changing role of tourism in the process of post-communist transformation. This paper is divided into three parts. First, it aims to review the overall nature of tourism in communist Czechoslovakia, highlighting the most typical features of both domestic and international tourism. The second part is dedicated to a short evaluation of post-communist tourism development in the country. Finally, the heart of the text focuses on Dutch ‘residential tourism’ in two Czech rural areas that have experienced both socialist and post-socialist tourism practices. In general, the attention is focused on the transformation of Czech rural communities due to the diverse impacts of tourism, and on the factors that either facilitate or hinder ‘host’ and ‘guest’ interaction in particular.