Something that really interests me is how different forms of media are used to create certain ideas, ideals, and understandings of places. This kind of thing is especially relevant in any study of tourism, since the only way that people can decide to visit a particular place is by looking through guidebooks, websites, history books, photographs, etc. That is, unless they just book a random ticket or start driving somewhere. In much the same way that media helps to inscribe and maintain the "imagined communities" of Benedict Anderson, it is also a part of creating imagined destinations that tourists seek out all around the world. And things get really interesting (and complicated) when the imagined destinations and experiences don't align with the realities on the ground.
Since I am doing work in on the Baja California peninsula, here is an example of the ways in which Los Cabos is represented through tourist media:
Baja California Sur is indeed an amazing place, and there is plenty of beauty to be seen. No doubt about that. But the tourism zone--and the way that it is imagined, sold, and represented in tourism media--only tells part of the story. I am not even sure if it's possible to tell "the whole story," but I do know that these media discourses cover up as much as they explain. There is always a lot more. Of course, tourism media is all about selling a product, which in this case consists of idealized landscapes, leisure, relaxation, luxury, and adventure.
The cracks start to show up, however, when you look a little closer (or when you spend a little more time away from the golf courses and high end hotels in the hotel zone). There is a reason why many vacation packages encourage an all-inclusive experience that basically shields guests from the less than ideal realities of development and expansion along the cape.
Cross posted here