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Enclave tourism – definition and characteristics

Enclave tourism – definitions and characteristics

Enclave tourism has recently become an important topic of discussion and drawn a lot of interests from students, teachers, and tourists alike. A number of writers have attempted to define it and come up with some interesting ideas. This article focuses on what enclave tourism is and some of its characteristics.


What is enclave tourism?

According to Cambridge Dictionary (2022) the term enclave refers to a part of a country that is surrounded by another country, or a group of people who are different from the people living in the surrounding area.


While the term ‘enclave’ refers to a small territory surrounded by a larger territory, the concept of enclave tourism suggests the development of all-inclusive closed-off resorts in a destination. According to BBC (2022) enclave tourism refers to all activities that are planned within the same area, providing tourists with diverse entertainment and excursions, so that they do not have to travel farther afield.


Enclave tourism implies a conscious decision to segregate tourists from the general population. It is the concept of creating a self-contained tourist destination that offers a variety of services and facilities within its fence. This form of development aims to attain the benefit of foreign exchange without the overwhelming of indigenous cultures by foreign tourists.


Enclave tourism is a buzzing concept in the travel and tourism industry of today. This concept has emerged as a result of the rising demand for convenience among tourists. It is a great way to enjoy a vacation without being dependent on outside services. This concept is particularly popular among families and large groups of people, who can enjoy the best of the destination without being interrupted by external disturbance.


Characteristics of enclave tourism

What does make a destination or system an enclave? In order to find answers to this question, this article looks into some of the characteristics of enclave tourism. The main characteristics are as follows:


Enclaves usually depend on foreign tourists. An example of enclave tourism is cruise ship industry. It is not difficult to imagine how many tourists are local and how many of them are foreign who go cruising.


Enclaves are enclosed and self-contained (physically, socially, and economically). Therefore, tourists have hardly any reasons to go out of the enclaves. On many ships, particularly in the Caribbean, guests are highly encouraged to spend their time and money on board.


Enclaves are generally separate from local communities. Therefore, tourists hardly have any opportunities to communicate with local people. In fact, contact with indigenous people is practically non-existent.


According to Freitag (n.d.) the main characteristics of enclave tourism are inclusiveness and the totally controlled tourism environment by management. Saarinen and Wall-Reinius (2021) state that tourism enclaves can have diverse features and scales of operations; however, they usually involve standardised ‘non-local’ themes or appeal in their design, activities and economies.


Lifestyle in enclaves is very different from that in the surroundings. For example, tourists in some enclaves at Goa in India enjoy a lifestyle which is absolutely different from local Indian lifestyle and culture.


Examples of enclave tourism

Tourism enclaves are available around the world. Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, Bawah, Nihi Sumba and other private beaches in Indonesia, Baros, Makunudu, Voavah and other private islands in the Maldives, Bungalows Key Largo in Key Largo in Florida, Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, Woodloch Pines Resort in Hawley (Pennsylvania), Kokomo in Fiji, and Thanda Island in Tanzania are some of the examples of enclave tourism.


Advantages of enclave tourism

As enclaves are safer than many other tourist destinations, tourists do not need to worry about their safety. For many tourists, selecting an enclave model of tourist resorts is better as this saves them a lot of time. Likewise, enclave tourism is better for service providers too as the tourists spend their money in the enclaves only.


One of the biggest reasons behind the rapid popularity of enclave tourism is the convenience it provides to tourists. When tourists visit a new place, they might have a long list of things they want to do there. They may have to take care of a lot of things as well. They have to figure out how to get there, where to stay, and how to get around.


However, when they visit a place as part of an enclave, all these things are taken care of by the organisers of their trip. All they have to do is sit back and enjoy the vacation. This is one of the reasons why many tourists prefer visiting an enclave over going to a place on their own.


Disadvantages of enclave tourism

Local businesses and people do not much benefit from enclave tourism as tourists have hardly any opportunities to come into contact with them. Likewise, exclusive tours may sometimes be very expensive as well.


For instance, some of the private islands in Indonesia are developed and owned by millionaires and billionaires, and they are expensive. In fact, some of the private islands may charge tourists thousands of dollars a night.


Concluding statement

To sum-up, enclaves can exist in any destination. Edensor (n.d.) opines that an enclave is any destination or resort that provides tourists with everything they need for the length of their stay. Enclaves may not automatically come up in tourist destinations. In fact, tourism managers make conscious decisions to design and develop them for a variety of reasons.


We hope the article  ‘Enclave tourism – definitions and characteristics’ has been helpful. If you have liked it, please feel free to share it with others on social media. You may also like reading:

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Last update: 18 June 2022


BBC (2022) Changing pattern and nature of tourism, available at: (accessed 17 June 2022)

Cambridge Dictionary (2022) Enclave, available at: (accessed 18 June 2022)

Saarinen, J. & Wall-Reinius, S. (2021) Tourism Enclaves: Geographies of exclusive spaces in tourism 1st Edition,  Routledge: New York

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Author: Joe David

Joe David has years of teaching experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality, and tourism management. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.

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