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Tourism Studies


This updates the original 1996 film, going back to the original issues and finding out the new ones. The Lake District is one of Britain's most popular tourist honeypots. The basic challenge: how to encourage tourists without spoiling the natural beauty they come to see.

MAN-MADE VERSUS NATURAL The speed limit for power boats on Lake Windermere goes to the heart of whether the Lake District should be preserved in its 'natural' state or allow 'man-made' attractions - such as water skiing. The speed limit has been imposed, but the row rumbles on.

BLOTS ON THE LANDSCAPE Should garden centres and supermarkets be allowed to build and expand in the National Park? And what about pylons and windfarms?

TOO MUCH TRAFFIC? Traffic congestion is as bad as ever, despite efforts to get people out of their cars. Plans for a relief road for Ambleside, proposed over 20 years ago, have still not gone through.

CLIMATE CHANGE The floods of December 2015 highlight how much damage climate change may bring to landscapes as well as communities.

DVD / 2016 / 50 minutes

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Filmed in the honeypot site of Chamonix in the Alps, this DVD looks at the social, economic and environmental opportunities and challenges facing the region. The resource explores the variety of activities in the area, including tourism, HEP and farming. It examines their impact, the conflicts that arise between them and how they can be sustainably managed within the context of a fragile environment. Examples of eco-tourism are provided and the risk from avalanches is assessed.

DVD / 2014 / 40 minutes

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  • Tourism In Egypt
  • Tourism And Civil Unrest
  • Egyptian History

  • Tourism has been vital to the Egyptian economy for decades. Despite setbacks, the 20 years up to 2011 seem like a golden era in the light of subsequent events. Since the revolution of 2011 and the political and social upheavals that followed, tourism numbers and income have nose-dived.

    TOURISM: BLESSING OR CURSE? Egypt was one of the earliest Thomas Cook destinations in the mid 19th Century. Tourists were lured by the ancient pyramids - and they're still coming. But these attractions that made Egypt so popular have also made it vulnerable, as terrorists know well.

    ENVIRONMENT The downturn may be a blessing in disguise -- for the environment. Egypt's waste disposal system is at breaking point: lower tourist numbers will ease the strain. Is there a future in a more sustainable brand of tourism?

    TOURISM: WHO BENEFITS, WHO SUFFERS? The dramatic slump in tourism has affected the tourism companies, but as ever it's the small traders who have suffered most - just as, in the good times, the large business, often foreign-owned, reap the profits. We go behind the scenes of the Nile cruises business, where workers work long hours for low pay - those who can even get a job. Some critics argue that tourism is a new form of colonialism, trading on "commoditised" myths of ancient Egypt.

    Features an interview with Hisham Zaazou, Egyptian minister of tourism.

    DVD / 2014 / 30 minutes

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    Directed by John de Graaf

    This film shows why vacations are important for productivity, happiness, family bonding and especially health.

    Americans have the shortest vacations of any rich country. And they are actually getting even shorter. The US is one of only five countries in the world -- the others are Burma, Nepal, Suriname and Guyana -- which have no law guaranteeing any paid vacation time for workers. The average US vacation is a bit over two weeks, while the median is only about a week and a half, and American workers give back about three vacation days every year. Europeans enjoy five or six weeks of vacation each year and are healthier than Americans.

    Vacations matter -- for productivity, happiness, family bonding and especially, health. Men who don't regularly take vacations are a third more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who do; women are fifty percent more likely, and far more likely to suffer from depression.

    Making the case for more vacation time are: Shelton Johnson, a ranger naturalist in Yosemite; Rick Steves, the world's best-selling travel writer; and Sara Speck, cardiologist and director of a cardio-vascular wellness program, who tells patients to "take two weeks and call me in the morning."

    DVD / 2013 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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    By Pegi Vail

    Are tourists destroying the planet-or saving it? How do travelers change the remote places they visit, and how are they changed? From the Bolivian jungle to the party beaches of Thailand, and from the deserts of Timbuktu, Mali to the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan, GRINGO TRAILS traces stories over 30 years to show the dramatic long-term impact of tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment.

    Directed by prominent anthropologist Pegi Vail, the Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University and a Fulbright Scholar, GRINGO TRAILS raises urgent questions about one of the most powerful globalizing forces of our time: tourism. Following stories along the well-worn western travelers' route-the 'gringo trail', through South America and beyond to Africa and Asia-the film reveals the complex relationships between colliding cultures: host countries hungry for financial security and the tourists who provide it in their quest for authentic experiences.

    As dramatically as travelers are altered by new landscapes, values and belief systems, they also alter the people and places they visit. A man getting lost in the Amazon jungle in 1981 has had an unexpected effect on future generations. The original inhabitant of an island on the Salt Flats of Bolivia faces the dilemma of trying to preserve its ecosystem while still allowing outsiders to experience its unique magic. A traveler's search for an "unspoiled" island paradise in Thailand has unintended but devastating consequences and poses ethical quandaries for locals in a position to profit from tourism. A woman's romantic fantasies about "the unknown" meet reality in Timbuktu. Locals worldwide express the desire for visitors to better understand how to respectfully walk on their sacred lands, including an indigenous community that has become a model for sustainable tourism in South America.

    GRINGO TRAILS experts include National Geographic Traveler editor Costas Christ; Jungle author Yossi Ghinsberg; travel essayist and novelist Pico Iyer; Bolivian Chalalan Ecolodge's Freddy Limaco and Guido Mamani; Globe Trekker host Holly Morris; Lonely Planet travel writer Anja Mutic; Vagabonding author Rolf Potts; A Map for Saturday's Brook Silva-Braga; National Museum director Kempo Tashi; travel writer Ernest "Fly Brother" White; and Royal Family of Bhutan member Dasho Sangay Wangchuk.

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2013 / 79 minutes

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    By Jenny Chio

    Tourism in China today signifies many things. To the Chinese government, tourism is a win-win opportunity to promote rural development and modernization and to encourage urban residents to flex their disposable incomes through domestic travel. To tourists - past, present, and future - it is the epitome of middle-class leisure, proof that the country has moved beyond the hardships of the past and toward a prosperous future. And to those who live in the sites that are visited, tourism is a means to an end, a chance to earn a living by turning one's home into a destination.

    In the words of Dr. Stevan Harrell, Prof. of Anthropology at the Univ. of Washington, "This colorful, entertaining, gently ironic documentary presents a vivid and sensitive portrait of a side of China that is little known outside the country: the world of ethnic tourism. In recent years, hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists, mostly city-dwellers, have used their newly increased incomes to travel. And many of the places they visit are ethnic minority villages in China's West and Southwest. They go there for the culture, for the scenery, for the clean air, for something different to see and do."

    Peasant Family Happiness depicts the everyday experience of "doing tourism" in two rural ethnic tourism villages in contemporary China: Ping'an in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Upper Jidao in Guizhou Province. In these villages, residents negotiate between the day-to-day consequences of tourist arrivals and idealized projections of who they are. Questions of "authenticity" are rendered secondary to, yet not entirely subsumed by, market imperatives.

    Culture and identity remain important for sustaining community, but in ways that reveal just how much labor goes into creating leisure experiences. What really matters to the villagers of Ping'an and Upper Jidao are the bigger, more pressing questions confronting modern rural communities across the globe: the possibilities brought about by improved transport networks, the promises and perils of leaving one's home to be a migrant worker elsewhere, and the pleasures of imagining one's own future through the lens of successful, profitable tourism.

    Peasant Family Happiness was produced as part of a larger anthropological research project on tourism and rural development in China today. Various scenes, a rough cut, and the final film were screened in both Ping'an and Upper Jidao villages on multiple occasions.

    With its "deft and intimate camera work," its stunning visuals of spectacular rural landscapes, and its "insightful, vivid, and intelligently humorous" paradoxes and ironies, Peasant Family Happiness will thoroughly engage students and stimulate reflection and discussion in a wide range of courses in cultural anthropology, China and East Asia, development issues, ethnicity and identity, and tourism.

    DVD (Color) / 2013 / 70 minutes

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    By Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers

    The Mursi tribe resides in the basin of the Omo River, in the east African state of Ethiopia. Mursi women are known for placing large plates in their lower lips and wearing enormous, richly decorated earrings, which has become a subject of tourist attraction in recent years.

    Each year, hundreds of Western tourists come to see the unusually adorned natives; posing for camera-toting visitors has become the main source of income for the Mursi. To make more money, they embellish their "costumes" and finery to appear more exotic to the outsiders. However, by exaggerating their habits and lifestyle in such a manner they are beginning to cause their original, authentic culture to disintegrate.

    Framing the Other portrays the complex relationship between tourism and indigenous communities by revealing the intimate and intriguing thoughts of a Mursi woman from Southern Ethiopia and a Dutch tourist as they prepare to meet each other. This humorous, yet simultaneously chilling film shows the destructive impact tourism has on traditional communities.

    DVD (Color, English and Murs with English subtitles) / 2011 / 25 minutes

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    Tourism is Kenya's third largest source of income. Last year alone, more than half a million tourists spent their holidays here. But what don't the tourists see?

    MASAI MARA: The Masai Mara is one of the best-known game parks in the world. All around the game park, mock villages have been built. Laden with baubles, the Masai embark on an aggressive sales pitch to the tourists. These fake villages are all that most tourists see while on safari. Meanwhile other Masai still live on their farms trying to maintain their traditional lifestyles, but are barely able to survive.

    SAFARIS: Safari tourism is highly popular. Tourists come by the thousands in their 4x4 vehicles to take pictures in the game reserves. When a leopard is spotted tourists take part in a photographic feeding frenzy - a traffic jam forms in the bush. Meanwhile Lewa is a 5-star private game reserve unknown to the general public - a luxury safari park, frequented by American millionaires.

    WINNING BACK RIGHTS: A few hundred miles away to the north are the ancestral lands of the Endoroi tribe - lands which the Kenyan authorities confiscated more than 30 years ago, to make way for a game park for tourists. Like the Masai, the Endorois want to be recognized as the rightful owners of the territory. And now they are - but only after a lengthy court case against the government.

    DVD / 2011 / 29 minutes

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    By Christian Suhr and Ton Otto

    Soanin Kilangit is determined to unite the people and attract international tourism through the revival of culture on Baluan Island in the South Pacific. He organizes the largest cultural festival ever held on the island, but some traditional leaders argue that Baluan never had culture and that culture comes from the white man and is now destroying their old tradition. Others, however, take the festival as a welcome opportunity to revolt against '70 years of cultural oppression' by Christianity. A struggle to define the past, present and future of Baluan culture erupts to the sound of thundering log drum rhythms.

    DVD (Color, Tok Pisin, Tok Baluan, and English with English subtitles) / 2011 / 59 minutes

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    By Joaquin Zuniga

    Tourism has traditionally been presented as a factor of modernization and economic growth for poor nations. But tourism is often developed at the expense of indigenous populations and this is a growing problem all over the world. This film looks at this issue in five countries: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Honduras.

    In Nicaragua several developers of luxurious hotels on beachfront property purchased four kilometers of land but are actually using over sixty kilometers. The local community is protesting but the national government is actively encouraging developers from abroad to build on the unpurchased land. Small farmers in Costa Rica complain that new resorts being built are environmentally unsound and using up the scarce water supply.

    The Dominican Republic has beachfront property that is being developed to resemble Cancun, Mexico. Many of the workers hired are Haitian immigrants who will work for lower wages than the Dominicans. People from this area sold their land cheaply and have now been forced into poverty. In Cancun, hotel workers are given 28-day contracts and no benefits; income from these lucrative resorts has not trickled down to the workers. Prof. Celina Izquierdo, Universidad del Caribe, Mexico, says that two distinct styles of life have developed there, that of the tourists and that of the locals. The local people have no economic opportunity and are losing their cultural identity to the encroachment of large international hotels.

    DVD / 2009 / 34 minutes

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    This is a film about the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. It's a beautiful place but is its beauty also its biggest threat, attracting more tourists than it can sustain?

    NATIONAL PARKS: Snowdonia is the second largest of Britain's national parks. The national parks were established after years of campaigning by an act of parliament in 1949. The basic idea was to protect the countryside so everyone could enjoy it.

    THE VISITOR CENTRE: The jewel in Snowdonia's crown is Mount Snowdon - the biggest mountain in England and Wales. On top of the mountain is a brand new visitor centre. Some people think it's wonderful. Others think it has ruined the mountain.

    TOURISM: Tourism is vital to the economy of Snowdonia. It once had a slate industry but this is now mostly defunct. Agriculture is the only other significant industry in Snowdonia, but it provides few jobs.

    TRAFFIC: But with tourism comes traffic, congested narrow roads and the pressure to build more car parks. Buses ease the problems, but the Welsh assembly government has actually axed services. Some people argue for a radical approach - closing the park to all traffic.

    WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY: The Welsh Highland Railway is one of Snowdonia's outstanding new tourist attractions. Steam enthusiasts love it, but residents in the village of Beddgelert, one of the main stops along the line, are up in arms. It's too noisy and dirty, and instead of easing traffic problems, it actually increases them, by attracting more visitors.

    HOLIDAY HOMES: Another problem in Beddgelert and across Snowdonia is the growing numbers of holiday homes. Around 50% of Beddgelert's houses are owned by people from outside. Local people can't afford to live in the area any more and are moving away.

    WELSH LANGUAGE: A major knock-on effect is the threat to the Welsh language. Snowdonia is the heart of Welsh-speaking Wales, but as more young people move away, the language is bound to suffer

    THE BIGGEST THREAT OF ALL? But the National Park's ex-ecology officer, Rod Gritten, says there is a much bigger problem facing Snowdonia: climate change. Hundreds of years of intensive grazing has robbed the mountains of their trees and soil erosion is releasing carbon into the atmosphere, increasing global warming. Radical action is needed now, argues Gritten, before it's too late.

    DVD / 2009 / Approx. 27 minutes

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    What a novel idea, getting up close and personal with plants, animals and the environment and then leaving it just as it was found. Without impact, or damage! Sometimes that means bypassing that once in a lifetime experience or forsaking the urge for a take-home souvenir. It's important to remind ourselves that we're not alone in this world and to also understand, it's not fair to treat the rest of the world as if we are all that matters.

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2008 / (Intermediate or above) / 23 minutes

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    Tourism is a huge global industry. It's having a major impact on the economy, culture and environment of many different countries. These four films explore important examples from across the world.

    CHINA: High up in the Himalayas, a poor Chinese community has called itself "Shangri-La" and is looking to tourism to boost its economy. Visitor numbers are climbing as people from all over the world come in search of the fictional utopia -- but both the wildlife and culture of the region are under threat.

    USA: Alaska's sleepy fishing villages all but died when the gold rush ended 100 years ago. Now they're being overwhelmed by hordes of cruise ship tourists. Tourism has revived the economy of the area, but critics fear the impact on Alaska's environment and culture.

    NEPAL: Every year 300,000 people come to Nepal to trek in the famous mountaineering country of the Everest National Park.

    But with them come deforestation, soil erosion and piles of rubbish. The government is imposing bigger fees on the mountaineers - but will this solve the problem?

    AFRICA: Gorillas are under threat - and many of their problems are caused by humans. But in the heart of Central Africa, ironically, tourism is helping to keep them alive. Eco-tourists pay high prices for expeditions to see this endangered species. Visitor numbers and the time spent with the gorillas are tightly controlled.

    DUBAI: Dubai once depended on income from its oil. Now tourism in this desert kingdom is booming. But what about the cultural price and the impact on the environment? Developers have built a ski-resort in the desert, complete with 6,000 tons of real snow. Is this the face of modern tourism?

    DVD / 2008 / 62 minutes

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    By Dafna Kory

    Bodh Gaya, the world's most popular destination of Buddhist pilgrimage, is located in one of India's poorest states. Visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage site are typically shocked by the extreme poverty there, and the Buddhist tradition of alms-giving motivates them to donate money. As a result, Bodh Gaya has developed a sophisticated charity "industry" which caters to and depends on tourists and tourism.

    This thought-provoking documentary explores the complex, interconnected effects of tourism, globalization, culture, philanthropy, and religion in Bodh Gaya. Destination: Tourism provides a deeply perceptive and incisive ethnographic case study as well as a poignant illustration of the overwhelming challenges facing many of the world's poor as they struggle to eke out a living in a seasonal economy almost completely dependent on foreign tourists.

    As the film illuminates, the tourism economy's volatile nature provides only seasonal and temporary work for local residents: time in Bodh Gaya is measured by the coming and going of strangers. For four winter months there are tourists, and therefore work. The rest of the year is marked by desperate unemployment. In addition, dozens of foreign-owned and foreign-operated monasteries function like all-inclusive resorts, monopolizing tourism services. The monasteries also inflate real-estate values: when farmlands become monasteries, farmers must find a new livelihood. Survival has become a challenge for Bodh Gaya's residents.

    In the search for sustainable employment, entrepreneurial locals have established hundreds of charity schools for destitute children. These village schools are entirely funded by tourist donations and have become a not-to-be-missed point on the Bodh Gaya tourist itinerary. The mud-hut schools and their slate-and-chalk students have become a "Kodak moment" for the visiting Buddhist pilgrims, and a means of livelihood for local residents.

    Destination: Tourism will generate thought and discussion in any course dealing with international development and globalization, as well as a variety of courses in cultural anthropology, Asian and Indian studies, tourist studies, and religious studies.

    DVD (Color) / 2007 / 20 minutes

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    By Anya Bernstein

    Long suppressed by missionaries and then by Soviet anti-religious campaigns, Siberian shamanism has experienced an unprecedented revival following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the number of shamans continues to rise. But who are these new shamans? Are they tricksters, magicians, businessmen, or cultural activists? This film takes a behind-the-scenes look at a Buryat shaman living on an island in the Lake Baikal as he moves between intimate shamanic rituals performed for local clientele and shows performed at various resorts for Western tourists in search of "primitive" cultures. The film captures cross-cultural miscommunication as the shaman and tourists misunderstand one another, usually comically, sometimes disturbingly, made all the more poignant by the conflict between the dominant Russian Orthodox Church and the local shamanic tradition. Juxtaposing 1920s archival footage of a shamanic performance with its contemporary counterparts, the film grapples with the long-standing tension between the "indigenous" and the "cosmopolitan" in a rapidly transnational world.

    DVD (Color) / 2006 / 72 minutes

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    Since the former Portuguese colony Macao was ceded to China in 1999, it has become China's "Empire of Gambling." It derives all its income from tourism, thanks to its sleek new casinos and shopping malls. It's a short ferry ride for Hong Kongers, who visit on weekends in droves. Prostitution is illegal in the People's Republic of China, but here tourists can go to "girly" bars with no worries.

    Thousands are employed by the casinos, with 80% of the population indirectly making their living from them. Incredibly, all of the casinos belong to the same person: Stanley Ho, an elderly man who remains invisible and untouchable. We meet Silveira Machado who describes how cosmopolitan and lively the city was throughout the twentieth century, with Portuguese, English, French, Italians, Russians and Chinese mixing easily. The film also traces the history and special status of the city from its early days as a Portuguese settlement in the 16th century, through its development as the largest Chinese commercial port for the rest of the world. Then in the 19th century, the large ships preferred the deep-water port of Hong Kong and that ended Macao's prosperity. Until now...

    DVD / 2006 / 26 minutes

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    Directed by Emily Marlow

    After 11 years of civil war, can Sierra Leone expect tourism to improve the economy?

    Eleven years of civil war between 1991 and 2002 has left Sierra Leone in ruins. According to the United Nations it's the second poorest country in the world. Tens of thousands of people were killed and many more injured and displaced during the war. In May 2002, stability was restored when the former ruling party was returned to power in democratic elections.

    Now, after three years of peace, the rebuilding has begun, and Sierra Leone is looking for outside investment to kick-start its economy. Until now, most of Sierra Leone's foreign earnings have come from exporting diamonds. But it's rich in other natural resources. Apart from diamonds, there is titanium ore, gold and fisheries. Tourism, on the other hand, offers the promise of revenue with a far quicker turnaround time. Sierra Leone has miles of beautiful beaches. In a country that was once a war-zone, could tourism be one of the new industries that moves the country into the future?

    DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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    Lucia, a farming community on the slopes of the Andes, were forced to abandon their traditional way of life because of laws brought in to protect the cloud forest where they live.

    THE ECO LODGE. Before, they were destroyers of the forest. Now, they have learned the skills of conservation and sustainability. They have built a lodge for tourists. It is a stunning place, a treasurehouse of bio-diversity.

    MARKETING. But ecotourism is also a business. This is perhaps their biggest challenge, to MARKET themselves in a competitive tourism business.

    A DROP IN THE OCEAN? Eco-tourism is seen as the model for sustainable tourism, but how can projects like this make a difference when so much of the rain forests are still being destroyed?

    DVD / 2005 / 26 minutes

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