Tourism in Cuba - described by Fidel Castro as 'the evil we have to have' - has been regarded both with ambivalence, and as a crucial aspect of development and poverty alleviation. The result is a remarkable approach to tourism, one which often compels tourists to become agents of development through solidarity. Drawing on her experiences of working in an NGO in Cuba, the author uses a multi-sited ethnographic approach to investigate tourism motivations and experiences, and to examine the very nature of development. Her analysis covers a wide range of issues including social change, globalization, social theory, and sustainability. Also discussed is the way in which tourism in Cuba relates to broader debates surrounding transformation, capacity building, social action and solidarity.
Dr Rochelle Spencer is a research fellow at the Centre for Research on Social inclusion. Macquarie University, Australia