Slow Tourism VS Enclave Tourism

Slow Tourism VS Enclave Tourism

Slow tourism vs enclave tourism, what exactly is the difference?

Slow tourism, encourages you to spend quality time in one location to really get to know a destination. It’s rapidly gaining momentum as a niche tourism sector and promotes responsible travel to minimise negative impacts on local communities and the environment.

The idea is to slow down the pace at which you travel, ditch the guidebooks, and adopt a ‘go with the flow’ itinerary.

Enclave tourism, more commonly known as the ‘all-inclusive package holiday’, also encourages you to spend quality time in one location. But that one location is usually cut off from local communities and can have a negative impact on the local area.

The idea of all inclusive holidays also referred to as resorts, lets you relax without ever having to leave the enclosed area. The resort provides your accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping, and activities.

Some may argue slow tourism and all inclusive holidays are similar in that you stay in one area for the duration of your trip. This may be true in one respect. However, the impact each of these vacations types has on a destination is what widely divides the two.

Impact on local communities

Slow Tourism impacts on local communities

Enclave Tourism (All-Inclusive Holidays)

At a resort, you have no real need to venture into the local town or surrounding area unless you are perhaps sightseeing. Everything you need is readily available in the comfort of the resort.

International resorts pay for local services, cheap labour, and taxes. However, what they don’t do is reinvest profits into the local destination where they operate. Instead, they send profits back to a foreign head office location. Sometimes they also bring in foreign management and employees to work in the resorts, instead of hiring or training locally.

This poses a few issues.

The first is the local community are missing out on visitors spend. Yes, the resort may have brought tourism to the area, but it is only the resort who reaps the benefits. Tourists aren’t spending their money in local shops, food markets or restaurants. Without tourists spend, local communities are less able to develop economically.

Secondly, employment opportunities for local people are reduced if international hotels bring in external workers. These employees tend not to remain or settle down in the area either. Most take their earnings back to their home country to spend. Local people who are employed by resorts can also find themselves at the lower end of the pay scale. So they may have a job but they will still struggle to support themselves.

Finally, resentment can sometimes (understandably) grow from local communities who may feel the resorts are stealing business and opportunities from them. Anti-social issues of crime and prostitution can also develop as local people desperately try to gain some economic advantage from tourism activity.

Slow Tourism

Slow tourism champions you to ‘live like a local’ as much as possible. This means staying in local accommodation, shopping at local food markets, dining in local eateries and using local transport. It encourages you to integrate with local communities responsibly and respectfully.

Using local services and facilities means it is the locals who pocket the benefits of tourism. It gives people employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. They are given a chance to provide for their families without having to turn to destructive means of income.

Local communities recognise the benefits of tourism, but only when they experience the prosperity. When this happens the resentment and cultural barriers between residents and visitors break down.

Impact on the Environment

Slow Tourism impact on the environment

Enclave Tourism (All-Inclusive Holidays)

Resorts and international hotel chains provide a luxurious and comfortable environment. A place to escape the daily grind and recoup from life’s challenges. However, some resorts import much of the materials, furnishings, linens, towels, toiletries and western style food and drink to accommodate tourist’s luxurious tastes. This not only creates an extensive carbon footprint for each and every item that is transported thousands of miles. It also, once again, cuts out the host country’s income potential.

Slow Tourism

The essence of slow tourism is to ‘stay and buy local’. Many of the accommodation types include local guesthouses and hotels, private homes, rural homestays and self-catered apartments or houses. And because these places are local, they are more likely to be furnished and facilitated with local goods. Not only does this ensure the local economy profits, and reduces carbon footprints. It also gives you an insight into the host community’s culture.


For me, the positive impacts of slow tourism on local communities and the environment, far outweigh enclave tourism. I also believe the cultural experience you get with slow tourism is another benefit enclave tourism can’t offer.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for people wanting a ‘resort’ style holiday. It just means you may have to do some homework to seek out resorts which take a sustainable and responsible stance on their tourism activities.


All Inclusives –

Tourists’ Preferences for the All-Inclusive System and its Impacts on the Local Economy –

Enclave Tourism –

Planning for Tourism: Towards a Sustainable Future – Morpeth, N. and Yan, H. (2015)