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No campers wanted: mass tourism and the discouragement of 'tent cloth vacationing' in Belgium's Trente Glorieuses (1945-'75)
Verhoeven, G. (2020). No campers wanted: mass tourism and the discouragement of 'tent cloth vacationing' in Belgium's Trente Glorieuses (1945-'75). Journal of Tourism History 12(3): 237-253. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/1755182X.2020.1854354
In: Journal of Tourism History. Taylor & Francis: United Kingdom. ISSN 1755-182X; e-ISSN 1755-1838, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Trefwoord
    Marien/Kust
Author keywords
    Camping; democratisation; social tourism; parliamentary discussions; seaside resorts

Auteur  Top 
  • Verhoeven, G., meer

Abstract
    Overtourism is often seen as a modern phenomenon without a history. Drawing on the parliamentary proceedings of the Belgian Chamber of representatives, this paper explores how concerns about crowding and carrying capacity already fuelled a protracted parliamentary debate about camping in Les Trente Glorieuses (1945-'75). Even though 'tent cloth vacationing' was seen as an important tool to democratise tourism, it was not always applauded in the Belgian hemicycle. Urged by the powerful lobby of hotel and restaurant owners, conservative representatives emphasised the many inconveniences of camping - zeroing in on the loose morals, the bad hygiene, the lack of environmental planning, the ecological threats - and pressed for more regulation. At the same time, these arguments were unmasked by social democrats as a smoke screen to curb the 'unruly' proliferation of campsites. In Belgium, the debate was deeply influenced by the limited carrying capacity of the North Sea coast. With barely 40 miles of coastline, Belgium was short of natural resources. It fuelled a policy whereby priority was given to hotels and holiday homes, while camping was curbed or left to its own devices.

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