The ORE of American History will be available for subscription in late September. Speak to your Oxford representative or contact us to find out more.

Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, AMERICAN HISTORY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 21 August 2017

Tourism in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations

Summary and Keywords

Tourism is so deep-seated in the history of U.S. foreign relations we seem to have taken its presence for granted. Millions of American tourists have traveled abroad, yet one can count with just two hands the number of scholarly monographs analyzing the relationship between U.S. foreign relations and tourism. What explains this lack of historical reflection about one of the most quotidian forms of U.S. influence abroad?

In an influential essay about wilderness and the American frontier, the environmental historian William Cronon argues, “one of the most striking proofs of the cultural invention of wilderness is its thoroughgoing erasure of the history from which it sprang.” Historians and the American public, perhaps in modern fashion, have overlooked tourism’s role in the nation’s international affairs. Only a culture and a people so intimately familiar with tourism’s practices could naturalize them out of history.

The history of international tourism is profoundly entangled with the history of U.S. foreign policy. This entanglement has involved, among other things, science and technology, military intervention, diplomacy, and the promotion of consumer spending abroad. U.S. expansion created the structure (the social stability, medical safety, and transportation infrastructure) for globetrotting travel in the 20th century. As this essay shows, U.S. foreign policy was crucial in transforming foreign travel into a middle-class consumer experience.

Keywords: tourism, U.S. foreign relations, science and technology, conquest of nature, U.S. military intervention, consumer spending as diplomacy, tourism as development, tourism as pleasure, tourism as escape, tourism versus travel, defining tourism

Tourism’s Entangled History

Woodrow Wilson, before becoming president of the United States, insisted that U.S. intervention overseas was necessary for the nation’s progress. In 1907, he argued, “Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down.”1 Wilson’s words capture a key tenet guiding U.S. foreign relations. Gaining access to international markets would be state policy. In the early 20th century, political leaders—both Republicans and Democrats—agreed: “Americans must now begin to look outward. The growing production of the country demands it.”2 This effort to expand overseas, however, did more than increase domestic manufacturing. It also came to reshape how everyday Americans understood and experienced “abroad.”

Tourism in the History of U.S. Foreign RelationsClick to view larger

Figure 1. The Hotel Tivoli, a U.S. government-owned hotel in the Panama Canal Zone, circa 1914.

Courtesy of Doug Allen, Personal Collection of Postcards.

International tourism, in its embryonic stage, emerged from the same wars, diplomatic initiatives, and foreign interventions traditionally studied by scholars of U.S. foreign policy. Soldiers and diplomats were not the only Americans who followed their flag overseas. Tourism lies at a historical intersection where political economy and diplomacy merge with American travel culture. “Whether the subject is world war, Cold War, decolonization, revolution, nation building, development, terms of trade, property disputes, military assistance, military bases, or any other number of topics identified with the history of U.S. foreign relations,” as historian Dennis Merrill explains, “tourism injects itself into the discussion.”3 Tourism’s international history, in this sense, travels from the battlefields and smoky rooms of diplomacy to the streets and bars of foreign nations.

As the United States expanded its power overseas, it also supported the growth of tourism—in destinations like Havana, Honolulu, Bangkok, and Paris. “State support,” in the words of historian Christopher Endy, “was indispensable in tourism’s rise.”4 At the beginning of the 20th century, American administrators “conquered” tropical diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, creating new business opportunities but also encouraging tourists to reimagine the tropics as “paradise.” State infrastructure projects (ports, roads, even hotels) linking the continental United States with its new international commercial and military interests also reduced travel times and made the cost of mobility accessible to middle-class travelers. The expansionist state also sent millions of military personnel overseas—to Latin America, Asia, and Europe. On leave or R&R, soldiers pushed the geographic and ethical boundaries of touristic consumption. Aware of the economic and cultural power of tourist activities, policymakers mobilized American consumption into a form of soft power.

Private citizens and businesses, of course, also developed tourism. Planters in Hawaii, for example, became tourism boosters in the age of steamship travel, bar owners became international cabaret kings during the era of prohibition, missionaries and independent-minded writers became de-facto guides, and an untold number of local leaders and business owners learned English and catered their services to American visitors. This multitude of labor was crucial to making a global industry. These individual and often small-scale efforts, however, depended on the interventionist hand of the state.

The modern routes of international tourism can be traced back to the history of empire building. Other expansionist states, such as the British, Dutch, and French, also introduced leisure travel into new territories. Traveling from Europe to the tropics or the “Orient,” tourists followed the rise of European empires. This is evident in Indonesia’s history (especially Bali) with the Dutch, in East Africa and the Caribbean with the British, and in Indochina and the South Pacific with the French. American history is no exception. Without dismissing the importance of European expansion or the role(s) of non-state actors, this essay focuses specifically on tourism’s entangled history with U.S. foreign relations in the 20th century. But, before discussing this relationship in more detail, it is necessary to understand how modern tourism evolved from older forms of mobility.

Defining Tourism

The first official appearance of the word tourism, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, occurred in 1811. At its root, tourism derives from the Greek word tornos, describing a tool that makes a circular motion. Its etymology differs dramatically, and in a revealing way, from the linguistic history of travel, which comes from travail, an ancient instrument of torture. To be a traveler, in theory, is riskier than being a tourist. Travel offers no guarantee of return and, as its genealogy highlights, offers no guarantee of pleasure or even survival. Tourism, in contrast, implies a “circular” itinerary—that is, leaving one place for another and then comfortably returning to one’s original point of departure.5

The historian Eric Zuelow explains, in its simplest and most contemporary form, that tourism refers to “travel in pursuit of pleasure and an escape from everyday realities.”6 In short, it is a pleasure tour. Scholar Ascem Anand complements this definition, describing tourism “as a composite phenomenon which embraces the incidence of [a] mobile population of travelers who are strangers to the places they visit. It is essentially a pleasure activity in which money earned in one’s normal domicile is spent in the place visited.”7 The tourist, in this sense, is a specialized and privileged traveler, someone who leaves home and becomes a stranger on the move spending money in search of escape and comfort.

The varieties of tourism are impossible to account for comprehensively. Myriad identities, desires, and histories shape tourism in the modern era. There is ecotourism, sex tourism, gastronomic tourism, religious tourism, “battlefield” tourism, luxury tourism, educational tourism, and so on. There is also an important distinction between domestic tourists, people who travel within the bounds of their own nation-state, and international tourists, vacationers transcending national borders. Moreover, differences among these social categories are not always easy to delineate. A Chinese family on holiday visiting the Malaysian town of Malacca is just as much a tourist as an American couple on a beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Their consumer habits, their spending power, and their citizenship status are not the same, yet they are all tourists. The deeper one looks into the subject, the blurrier the boundaries of identity get.

Travel—for work, for food, for curiosity, for spirituality—is as old as human history. But tourism on a mass international scale is something clearly new. John Urry and Dean MacCannell, two of the most influential scholars on the subject, characterize tourism as a modern phenomenon arising only in the last two hundred years. “Acting as a tourist,” Urry famously argued, “is one of the defining characteristics of being modern.”8 The scholarly community continues to debate, though, when tourism as a social practice began. Some scholars argue that tourism as an experience of escape-pleasure dates back to the Romans (and before them, the Greeks) when the wealthy sought “rest, meditation, and pleasure” in coastal and mountain villas like Pompeii and Tivoli. Other scholars such as Zuelow date tourism’s modern origins to the era of the European Grand Tour. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as wealth accumulated in Europe’s metropolitan cities, elites sent their sons and occasionally daughters to seek “enlightenment” and social status studying and touring the European continent. “According to the law of custom, and perhaps of reason,” a young Edward Gibbon claimed, “foreign travel completes the education of an English gentleman.”9 A small group of wealthy young Americans, such as the author James Fenimore Cooper and the future politician Charles Sumner, also engaged in a version of the European Grand Tour. But in general, in the early to mid-19th century, tourism remained a regional activity reserved for elite Europeans.

After the Civil War, more Americans began to engage in overseas tourism, although still on a limited scale. In March 1867, a retired Civil War ship (the USS Quaker City) departed from New York City on a “great Pleasure Excursion to Europe and the Holy Land.” Aboard ship was the author Mark Twain, who recounted the trip in his book, Innocents Abroad. “It was,” Twain wrote, “a novelty in the way of Excursions—its like had not been thought of before, and it compelled that interest which attractive novelties always command. It was to be a picnic on a gigantic scale.”10 In the later part of the 19th century, as historian Kristin Hoganson argues, urbanization and industrialization encouraged a growing mass of middle- and upper-class Americans to embrace a “tourist mentality.” Rather than travel in search of wealth or land or religious purity, Americans began to travel as a means of temporary respite. Most of these tourists, though, remained within the confines of the Republic and North American territory.11 To go abroad was prohibitively expensive and required weeks, if not months, of free time. It could also be dangerous. It was only in the 20th century, with advances in medicine and transportation technology, that a larger field of international mobility opened to the mass of hopeful tourists.

The Conquest of Nature

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt boarded the USS Louisiana sailing to Panama and Puerto Rico. It was the first time in American history that a sitting president traveled abroad. In anticipation of his visit, U.S. officials organized grand banquets and festivities; in Panama City, they even built a hotel for the president to reside in. (The Hotel Tivoli, named after a Roman resort town, would subsequently become one of the most popular tourist hotels in Central America and the Caribbean.)

Roosevelt’s international tour signaled a new era of American power. By the time the president embarked on his trip, the United States had taken Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, and the distant Philippines and Guam as territorial possessions. In 1898, the United States fought and won a war against Spain and, in the process, converted a series of national independence movements into an imperial transfer. That same year, in the Pacific, the United States annexed the Republic of Hawaii. Five years later, in 1903, President Roosevelt sent a group of naval warships to the Caribbean coast of Panama. The Colombian government had refused to sign a treaty allowing the United States to dig a transoceanic canal across the isthmus. In response, the United States supported a small revolution to create the new nation of Panama. This series of interventions, justified by prominent intellectuals like Alfred Thayer Mahan and Brooks Adams, was meant to assure American economic success and national security.12

The president’s tour also marked a watershed moment for tourism. Before the era of U.S. intervention, the American public viewed the Caribbean as a dangerous region. As late as 1896, the journalist Richard Harding Davis compared traveling to the Caribbean coast of Central America to visiting the River Styx in Greco-Roman mythology. If Ulysses had attempted the journey, Davis claimed, he would have told of “a wicked dragon that exhaled poison with every breath.”13 In the 19th century and in the first years of the 20th century, “most European and North American whites,” according to historian Catherine Cocks, “regarded the tropics as the ‘white’s man grave.’”14 To visit the Caribbean, or for that matter any tropical region, was considered a risky endeavor. It was no vacation.

At the beginning of the 20th century, medical professionals believed that yellow fever and malaria came from “miasmas,” that is, unhealthy air bubbling up from swampy and dirty soil. The threat of disease was one of the gravest concerns for travelers, workers, and soldiers in the tropics. In the 1880s and 1890s, for example, the French lost an estimated 20,000 men to disease during its effort to construct a transoceanic canal in Panama. The combination of high mortality rates, engineering difficulties, and financial troubles bankrupted the French Canal Company. British colonial efforts in the 19th century, especially in India and sub-Saharan Africa, faced similar issues of tropical disease. The United States did not fare much better. During its invasion of Cuba in 1898, the U.S. military lost more soldiers to disease than fighting. Fewer than 400 men died in combat, but more than 2,000 contracted yellow fever. Disease jeopardized the military’s ability to occupy the island. “The health authorities were at their wit’s end,” Chief Sanitary Officer William Gorgas reported. “We evidently could not get rid of Havana as focus of infection by any method.”15 The same health problems plagued U.S. officials during the initial years of canal construction in Panama. In 1904, the first year of the project, the turnover rate for white American laborers was 75 percent. When a yellow-fever epidemic broke out on the isthmus, workers fled by the boatload.

After the disastrous start of the canal project, however, a new consensus among medical officials began to take hold that mosquitoes rather than bad air carried malaria and yellow fever. The science of germ theory moved to the forefront of colonial efforts. Dr. Gorgas, transferred from Cuba to Panama, organized “mosquito brigades” to destroy the insect’s breeding ground. Over 4,000 men drained and irrigated standing water, cleared brush, and equipped Canal Zone homes with screen windows and doors. To eradicate mosquito larvae, the brigades also sprayed oil into fields and swamps. The health campaign in Panama, as Roosevelt and many others recognized, became a model of insect control all over the tropics—from the Caribbean to Hawaii, the Philippines, Indo-China, and sub-Saharan Africa.

The success of the U.S. canal project encouraged tourism across the Caribbean. “The environmental management practices that had controlled tropical diseases there [in Panama],” in the words of historian Paul Sutter, “helped to alter American attitudes about the promise and perils of tropical nature.”16 Journalists and jingoists claimed that Uncle Sam had “conquered the tropics” and made the region safe for the “white race.” Historian Mark Carey summarizes the ideological and material effect of this scientific achievement, explaining, “science and medicine helped make the tropics safer for Europeans and North Americans—whether colonial administrators or sun-seeking tourists.”17 The old image of the white man’s graveyard became—in the span of just a few years—the image of a winter health resort.

Steamship companies turned this tropical conquest into a marketing tool to sell tours. “Today health and happiness are the treasures sought on the Spanish Main,” the United Fruit Company advertised in 1915. “Great White Fleet ships, built especially for tropical travel, bear you luxuriously to scenes of romance.”18 The steamship company, Grace Line, told passengers, “where fever and death once convinced the French that no canal would ever be built . . . [it is] now one of the most healthful spots in the world.”19 Another steamship company advertised, “Here the humblest American will feel some of that imperial pride aroused in the citizen of ancient Rome or of modern Britain by the sight of his race carrying light to the dark places of the world.”20 The early growth of tropical tourism mixed leisure with patriotic pride.

U.S. expansion changed the way Americans understood the tropics, but equally important, it supplied the infrastructure necessary to support the arrival of thousands of international tourists. In Cuba, for instance, Colonel Leonard Wood, former commander of the Rough Riders and appointed military governor of the island, commissioned the scaffolding of the island’s postwar economy. Wood ordered the construction of Havana’s famous promenade, the Malecón, admired by both tourists and Havana residents. The goal of the military government was to bring business and development to Cuba. “When capital is willing to invest in the island,” Wood declared, “a condition of stability will have been reached.”21 Health conditions, along with the development of roads, bridges, and ports, would bring foreign investment; it would also bring tourists.

The government also offered generous subsidies to private businesses, such as steamships and the air-travel industry, to support transnational mobility. In the late 1920s, for example, Pan American Airways received a federal contract to deliver mail and passengers to U.S. colonial outposts in the tropics. Pan Am’s founder, Juan Trippe, referred to his airline as a “chosen instrument” of the state. On October 19, 1927, Pan Am initiated its first international air route, flying from Key West to Havana. Within a decade, the airline had expanded its services to offer a two-week Caribbean vacation, promising “sand, sun, and shore.” It also developed routes crisscrossing the Pacific, with stops in Hawaii, Midway Island, Guam, and the Philippines. Following the Second World War, there was seemingly nowhere that Pan-Am did not deliver tourists.22 With the support of federal funding, the journey from the northeast United States to the Caribbean islands, which in the era of steam took five to seven days, took just a few hours by plane.

It was no coincidence that the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean and the Pacific (in particular, the Hawaiian islands) followed the route of U.S. political and military expansion in the early 20th century. The same pattern can be observed with European imperial expansion. Dutch colonial efforts in Indonesia (Bali), British colonialism in East Africa, India, and Egypt, and French control in Indochina and the South Pacific in the early part of the century, also encouraged the emergence of tourism in those locales.23 As empires consolidated control over foreign territories, tourists flocked to see these new overseas possessions. The scientific and technological instruments of war, capitalist growth, and colonial governance expanded the boundaries of tourism. It is not enough, however, to show that international tourism emerged as a mere reaction, an effect, of state expansion overseas. The social practices of U.S. officials and soldiers also influenced the culture of tourism.

Tourism in the History of U.S. Foreign RelationsClick to view larger

Figure 2. Brochure from Pan American World Airways advertising its Caribbean flights, circa 1954.

Courtesy of the Pan American World Airways Archive, Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami.

Soldiers as Tourist Pioneers

In 1927, 20,000 men and women sailed from New York to Paris on a pleasure trip organized by the American Legion. The touring party called itself “the Second American Expeditionary Force.” Returning to France eight years after the conclusion of the First World War, the group of veterans visited old battlefields and cemeteries honoring fallen comrades. The Expeditionary Force also spent much of its time visiting Paris’s nightlife for “raucous drinking.” With Prohibition in full effect at home, the culture of American drinking also looked outward, traveling overseas. The expeditionary force, in this sense, engaged in consumer practices shared by soldiers and tourists. To engage in leisure, to have a good time, was to drink heavily and participate in activities frowned upon at home.24

In both material and symbolic ways, the culture of American tourists found inspiration in the culture of the U.S. military. To begin, soldiers and sailors were often the first tourist consumers to visit a foreign destination. Their spending habits, especially their desire for alcohol and entertainment, shaped the services that host communities would develop. Cabarets, bars, prostitution, and an assortment of vices sought by soldiers would become part of the international tourism industry. Second, the activities of military personnel also contributed to the formation of a modern “tourist gaze.”25 There were non-state actors shaping touristic expectations, such as artists, writers, photographers, missionaries, and merchants. In the 20th century, however, the U.S. military was by far the most influential institution sending Americans overseas. Millions of soldiers returned home with stories to tell of exotic cabarets, brothels, hulu dances, or jungle treks, which in turn encouraged the hopes and dreams of future tourists. These experiences of foreign travel were also reproduced for American consumers through newspaper stories and military recruitment material (like “Join the Navy, See the World”), and valorized in films, books, magazine stories, and personal reunions in hometowns across the country.26

Beginning in the early 20th century, the sun never set on the U.S. military. There were bases and ports in Latin America and the Caribbean (in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Nicaragua), and in the Pacific (in Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines), and following the Second World War, in Southeast Asia and Western Europe. Wherever these soldiers and sailors went, bars, cabarets, and nightlife soon developed to entertain them. On July 4, 1920, for example, the town of Tijuana with a population of only 1,000 entertained 65,000 soldiers and civilians. The Mexican border town, now popular with party-going spring breakers, got its start as a mecca of booze and entertainment hosting U.S. soldiers from San Diego.27

The economy of military tourism developed in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. The passage of U.S. warships created a lucrative service economy. During two months of 1929, for example, more than 180,000 sailors took shore leave in Panama. This was a regular and regional occurrence. “The Panamanian cities,” as historian Jeffrey Parker documents, “belonged to a broader Caribbean world that shared a history of entertaining North American tourists and U.S. military personnel.”28 Havana, San Juan, Port-Au Prince, and Key West were part of an emerging maritime tourist culture dominated by Americans. To drink like a sailor, in the early 20th century, also became to drink like a tourist.

During World War II, more than 16 million Americans enlisted. Whole cities and towns converted to serving troops on “R&R,” rest and recuperation. The boom in Hawaii’s tourist economy came from the war. Hulu parties, fruity drinks, and beautiful beaches—first promoted by tourism boosters in the early 20th century—found a mass consumer base when U.S. troops arrived en route to the Pacific theater. In the post-WWII era, the U.S. military continued to support tourism development. In the 1960s, for example, the Defense Department made a formal agreement with the Thai government to provide R&R trips for war-weary soldiers serving in Vietnam. Authors Ryan Bishop and Lillian S. Robinson argue that the development of Thailand’s modern tourist economy, heavily dependent on the sex industry, relied on the “infrastructure established for military R&R.”29 GIs desired booze, sex, and entertainment, and they had money to pay for it. Cities and small villages converted into resort towns serving leisure and sex to the troops. During the early days of the Vietnam War, the pleasure of tourism was also used as a selling point for military service. The Defense Department claimed that Vietnam offered “wonderful recreation spots” for swimming, fishing, and, for some, surfing.30

Off base, young American men had the opportunity to temporarily break the rules of military discipline. Travel offered an escape. Soldiers, in this sense, reproduced and modernized a Western tradition of travel behavior that dated back centuries and also came to shape modern tourism. In the 19th-century age of imperialism, this involved traveling to the colonies or in the North American context, the frontier, to experience “freedom.” According to historian Ann Stoler, “the notion that Western civilization has become increasingly restrictive and that the colonies provided escape hatches from it, runs deep in Orientalist traditions and remains resonant in their contemporary popular form.”31 Tourists to Europe and “Western” countries, moreover, were not immune to this mentality of escapism. Whether the tourist gaze looked upon the tropics or the European continent, the foreign represented romance and mystery.

In the bars and cabarets of foreign cities, soldiers found temporary reprieve from the stress and boredom of military service. Some made local friends, and some even found wives, girlfriends, or boyfriends. But in general, as scholars such Cynthia Enloe document, the culture of R&R and shore leave helped to codify some of the more boorish, misogynist, and racist aspects of international tourism.32 The military, of course, was not the exclusive apostle of this freewheeling culture of consumption, but for historians of U.S. foreign relations, its role requires further study. The image of the “Ugly American” traveling abroad, not surprisingly, emerged during the golden age of American tourism and international military power. In 1958, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick explained in their best-selling novel, The Ugly American, that “something happens to most Americans when they go abroad.”33

Tourism in the History of U.S. Foreign RelationsClick to view larger

Figure 3. In 1963, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick’s novel, The Ugly American, was adapted into a film starring Marlon Brando. Poster by Reynold Brown; Wikimedia Commons.

American Consumerism as Diplomacy

State Department officials reasoned that every dollar spent by an American tourist was one dollar less the government had to invest in rebuilding Europe after the Second World War. With millions dead or injured, infrastructure across the continent in ruins, and local and national economies destroyed, the European people were in desperate need. Beginning in April 1948 and lasting four years, the European Recovery Program (also known as The Marshall Plan) invested over 12 billion dollars in Europe. Funds were used for immediate relief aid, for rebuilding transportation infrastructure, and for modernizing factories. A fundamental and often overlooked part of the Marshall Plan, however, focused on the development of international tourism.34

Tourism in the History of U.S. Foreign RelationsClick to view larger

Figure 4. Poster from the European Recovery Program, i.e., the Marshall Plan. Poster by E. Spreckmeester, Economic Cooperation Administration.

The Travel Department section of the program, as historian Christopher Endy documents, encouraged Americans to take a European vacation. By promoting tourism, the Marshall Plan sought to counter Soviet-inspired communism with the power of American consumerism. The travel program published advertisements in magazines and newspapers and helped local businesses in Europe market themselves to foreign tourists. The program surpassed expectations. In 1949, American tourists generated $272 million for European countries, which Endy explains was “twice the value of the largest category of European goods (fibers and textiles) sold to the United States.” Destinations such as Paris, which had long been part of an elite tourist circuit, recovered and expanded their services to include middle-class consumers. Marshall Plan investments and advertising, combined with improvements in air travel and the growth of American consumer spending, converted Paris and other European cities into affordable vacation destinations after the war. In 1950, 264,000 American tourists visited France. A decade later that number increased to 792,000. By 1970, it was 1.35 million.35

The success of the Marshall Plan proved that tourism could also be effective development policy. As one U.S. official put it, the Marshall Plan’s tourism program was a “precedent-shattering provision.” Tourism became a weapon in the Cold War battle between capitalism and communism. In Latin America in the 1960s, for example, the U.S. Alliance for Progress sought ways to support free trade and form closer economic and cultural ties with its southern neighbors. Tourism promised both. The island of Puerto Rico was the Alliance’s model project. In addition to funding agricultural modernization and factory production, the Alliance financed the construction of luxury hotels and the restoration of the picturesque Spanish colonial quarter of San Juan. Tourism provided short-term capital for the service economy, but program officials also reasoned that an enjoyable vacation might encourage tourists to return as long-term investors. As Teodoro Moscoso, the first coordinator of the Alliance for Progress and an influential Puerto Rican politician, liked to say, “scratch a tourist and you’ll find an investor underneath.”36

International organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also promoted economic and political reform through tourism development. In the 1950s, Luis Machado, a director at the World Bank and a former Cuban ambassador to the United States, claimed “to develop tourism is to develop the nation’s wealth.”37 The IMF, the World Bank, and the United Nations promoted tourism projects as a path to modernity for developing nations. In 1972, to offer to just one example, the UN and the World Bank financed a “Master Plan for the Development of Tourism” in Indonesia that looked to turn the island of Bali into a “showcase” destination for the new nation.38 In the second half of the 20th century, no island, no nation was outside tourism’s reach.

Tourism, in many ways, also operated as a form of “soft power.” The scholar Joseph Nye coined the concept to describe how political power could persuade and attract rather than merely force others to bow to one’s will. The concept is analogous to Antonio Gramsci’s use of the term “cultural hegemony,” in which a dominant power’s vision of reality becomes accepted as common sense.39 In contrast to hard power, enforced with violence or restrictive sanctions, tourism assured state power in ways that encouraged locals to also participate in the desired international system. The tourism industry supported a middle ground between foreign domination and nationalist desires to control the economy. National leaders could condemn U.S. political and military power while at the same time invite American tourists as guests. It was a precarious distinction, however, between tourism and geopolitics.

Tourism in the Era of Decolonization

In 1960s and 1970s, as decolonization and civil rights movements intensified, tourism became a contested industry. Protestors gathered outside luxury hotels in Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe turning the rhetoric of anti-imperialism into an attack against Americans. “The North American presence,” as one radical journalist reported from Colombia in 1963, “is one of the most emotional political questions.”40 Tourism’s relationship to the Cuban Revolution is perhaps the clearest example of the political volatility of American traveling culture. “Modern tourism so misrepresented Cuban culture and diluted local identity,” according to historian Dennis Merrill, “that it helped destabilize the country’s social order and contributed to the rise of Fidel Castro’s communist regime.”41 Cubans united against the Batista regime and its collaboration with U.S. investors and gangsters running Havana’s hotels and casinos. When the revolutionaries entered Havana in January 1959, they famously converted the Hilton Hotel into their military headquarters, renaming it Free Havana. In a similar revolutionary vein in January 1964, thousands of Panamanian nationalists attempted to burn down the Hotel Tivoli built in honor of President Roosevelt’s visit. CIA director Allen Dulles believed “Castro-itis” was spreading. That same year in Southeast Asia, Viet Cong guerrillas attacked hotels housing soldiers and civilians, most notably the Brinks Hotel in 1964. In the late 1970s, in another moment of revolt, young Iranians seized the Hyatt Hotel in Tehran and converted it into a hospital. The number of violent attacks against tourist hotels is surprisingly long and understudied. Yet in all these disparate cases, international tourism embodied the paradox of wealth and inequality—the mobility and immobility—of modern life. As the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss once noted, the hotel was “a bastion of civilization” or, in other words, privilege.42

Issues of hard power, in addition to soft power, were part of tourism’s history. Who could travel and who could not as an international tourist depended on state control. During the first half of the 20th century, as migration scholars such as Adam McKeown describe, there emerged modern mechanisms of state power through the use of passports, visas, and travel documents, which favored some travelers and discriminated against others.43 U.S. diplomats and politicians encouraged extremely liberal and generous incentives for white Americans to visit and invest abroad, while doing little or nothing to stop policies that discriminated against “non-white” travelers. The African American author Langston Hughes, for example, planned a trip to Cuba in 1930, but officials in New York denied him passage. As historian Frank Guridy explains, “the [steamship] companies claimed that they could not sell him a ticket because the Cuban government banned ‘Chinese, Negroes, and Russians,’ from entering the country.”44 The U.S. National Origins Act of 1924, which included a provision excluding anyone it wished from entering the United States by virtue of race or nationality, also became a precedent for the international regulation of tourism along racial and national lines. Prominent black travelers, like the African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune and NAACP secretary William Pickens, experienced similar racism when trying to visit Cuba. “There is a policy,” Pickens wrote to the U.S. secretary of state, “inspired and supported from some sources to harass, hinder and discourage Negro citizens of the United States, when they seek to exercise their privilege of coming to the republic of Cuba, even as tourists for a week or a month seeking education and knowledge, or on business or pleasure.”45 Meanwhile, white American tourists did not even need a passport to visit pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Tourism was part of an institutional process defining desirable and undesirable people. As the historian Lara Putnam argues, “the story of the making of outsiders is thus also the story of the making of insiders and of the naturalization of the barriers—ideological, institutional, physical—between them.”46 Putnam was referring to racialized restrictions that limited black mobility in the Caribbean in the early 20th century. Her observation, though, pertains to tourism’s past. “Economic migrants and ‘boat-people’ are turned away,” in the words of Mimi Sheller, “while increasing numbers of tourists and boat people of a more desirable kind (traveling by cruise ship and yacht) pour into Caribbean ‘resorts’ or buy their own ‘piece of paradise.’”47 The state’s effort to define insiders, the making of privileged tourists, also became the making of outsiders into undesirable visitors.

Social movements at home and abroad challenged these racial inequalities within the tourism industry. In 1963, to offer a very famous example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lectured to the American public and the world, “We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a small ghetto to a larger one.”48 The struggle for racial justice and the freedom of movement, in this sense, did not necessarily want to destroy the tourism industry, but instead gain access to it.

In the late 20th century, tourism underwent a rapid process of democratization and internationalization. People of color have gained access to the “motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.” Race is no longer the deciding factor of who can and cannot be an international tourist. Asian travelers, for example, once banned by European governments and the United States, now compete with white American tourists as the largest source of international tourism. The United Nations estimates that tourists from Asia make up approximately 25 percent of international visitors.

Every year tourist numbers have increased worldwide, but the identities of these privileged travelers are increasingly multicultural and multiethnic. The activities of leisure travel, moreover, have multiplied to such a degree that it makes tourism incredibly hard to define. How one travels has become part of the modern quest to express one’s individual values and identity—whether that reflects an awareness of environmental fragility, culinary diversity, spiritual curiosity, luxury living, or escapist hedonism. What remains, however, within all these diverse forms of leisure travel is the effort to associate oneself not so much with the objects one possesses but with the experiences one consumes. Leisure travel as experience has become a highly profitable industry. “The business volume of tourism,” as the UN reports, “equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles.”49 In 2015, over 1 billion tourists vacationed abroad, generating $1.5 trillion in export earnings. Tourism, once rooted in racial and national privilege, has been replaced in the postcolonial era by a global notion of consumer citizenship.

Discussion of the Literature

Historians of U.S. foreign relations have traditionally studied state-to-state interactions and the high politics of diplomacy and military strategy. According to scholars such as Gilbert Joseph and Amy Kaplan, there has been a glaring absence of “cultural analysis from the overseas history of U.S. expansion and hegemony.”50 The history of diplomatic elites, military action, and market forces dominated the field for decades. Only recently has the pendulum of analysis begun to swing toward the issue of cultural interaction and negotiation in the study of U.S. foreign relations. Following this revisionist trend, tourism is also slowly emerging as a subject of study.

Among historians of U.S. foreign relations, Christopher Endy and Dennis Merrill have written two of the most important studies about the diplomatic and political implications of tourism abroad. Endy’s monograph Cold War Holidays (2004) is an early example of the insights one can gather by critically studying international tourism. The book describes how the U.S. government promoted tourism to France following the Second World War as a means to rebuild the French economy, and counter the spread of communism. Much of his work, especially on the Marshall Plan, informs this essay’s discussion of American tourists in postwar Europe.

Merrill embraced a similar analytical perspective to look at tourism as a form of sort power in Latin America in his book Negotiating Paradise (2009). Focusing on three case studies—in interwar Mexico, pre-revolutionary Cuba, and Puerto Rico in the 1960s—he explains that there was nothing politically frivolous about tourism in the Americas. The industry developed, he shows, side by side U.S. imperial expansion in the early to mid-20th century. Merrill also argues that the development of tourism was a negotiated industry among U.S. outsiders and Latin American nationalists, who looked to control yet develop their connections to foreign capital.

Cultural historians and “area studies” scholars have also begun to examine the impact of American tourism. The edited collection Holiday in Mexico, for example, argues that Mexico’s tourism industry fulfilled both foreign expectations and local aspirations. In addition to chronicling tourist perceptions and experiences, authors describe how state authorities, indigenous market vendors, and diverse business owners vied to get in on the tourist economy. From the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, travelers from the north crossed the border into Mexico in search of knowledge, adventure, escape, pleasure, and an assortment of goods, experiences, and personal relationships they could not find at home. Mexican business owners and entrepreneurs sought to meet those demands, and profit from them. From the perspective of local communities and nationalist leaders in Latin America, important studies have also been done on tourism’s impact in Cuba, Jamaica, and Panama.51

Tourism’s entangled history with U.S. foreign relations, though, is waiting for future researchers. Archives, libraries, and personal collections are full of unexplored histories of tourist–local encounters. While scholars like Merrill and Endy have discussed tourism development and U.S. foreign policy in France and select parts of Latin America in the mid-20th century, we nevertheless know relatively little about potential U.S. influences in tourist destinations in South America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, there is a pressing need to understand the “contact zones,” the sites of meeting, where U.S. visitors and locals interacted, loved one another, fought, and reinvented cultural practices. Thus far a limited body of historical research has described the experiences of tourists, elite politicians, businessmen, and state actors in strategizing or enjoying the privileges of international leisure travel. Noticeably absent, in this essay as well, are the histories and perspectives of everyday laborers in the tourism industry. Although anthropologists have described “subaltern” and bottom-up stories, historians have yet to document these important experiences from the past.52 How did local entrepreneurs, for example—owning a storefront or possessing nothing more than a musical instrument or their own charisma—enter the international tourism industry and understand their new roles in a globalizing service economy?

The broad contours sketched in this essay will hopefully guide researchers and students to new ways of thinking about tourism’s diverse history. In the drained marshes, in the mess halls of government, in nightclubs, and in ports and airfields that allowed Americans to travel in luxury and comfort, there were countless working-class and creative people enmeshed in the history of U.S. foreign relations. “One can never forget,” as William Appleman Williams reminds us, “that it is people who act—not the policy or program.”53

Primary Sources

If a tourist does not take a picture, buy a souvenir, or write a journal entry, will friends and family back home believe her foreign tale? Thankfully for historians the tourist experience seems to demand documentation, and because of that, there exists an abundance of records chronicling its history. The most difficult question for the historian is where to begin.

Researchers can start close to home. In nearly every neighborhood in the United States, one can find scrapbooks, photographs, guidebooks, diaries, shipping and air travel materials, and general tourism ephemera documenting an earlier era of mobility. Personal records often reflect broader trends within the history of international tourism. For my own research on the subject, for instance, family and community records proved invaluable. In the 1950s, members of my family traveled from rural Illinois to the Florida Keys and then Havana, Cuba. In addition to documenting their stories with an audio recorder, I found pamphlets and memorabilia for other journeys, mingled with records of military service, work, and backyard leisure. With the use of a genealogical research method, one will discover travel accounts and historical records in unlikely places.

Moving from a micro-historical approach to more institutional history requires visiting metropolitan sites of power. The U.S. National Archives in College Park, Maryland, document the formal role of the U.S. government in developing tourism abroad. For the post–World War II era, consult for example the Records of U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948–1961 (RG469). Here one will find evidence of aid workers and diplomats promoting tourism as a means to international development and a cultural buffer against the spread of communism. In the National Archives, there is also a plethora of documents chronicling the interwar period (1919–1941), and the first decades of the 20th century. To unearth tourism’s history within these earlier records, however, will require digging through more country-specific holdings. An examination, for instance, of the Records of the (U.S.) Military Government of Cuba will reveal early efforts to attract visitors and investors to the island; so will record groups like the Records of the Panama Canal (RG185) or the Records of the Office of Territories (RG126), which includes state projects in overseas territories such as Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. Navigating these massive record collections requires using archival keywords not typically associated with tourism, although linked to the industry such as “pictures,” “roads,” “airports,” “investment,” and so on.

In the Washington, DC, area, researchers should also visit the Library of Congress and its vast collection of firsthand travel accounts. Both well-known and obscure historical figures, who never identified as tourists, engaged in the tourism industry or commented on those “other” travelers. (For example, Theodore Roosevelt and his travels to the Caribbean, East Africa, and Brazil.) The Library of Congress also has special collections about international travel, like “Around the World with the Library of Congress Poster Collection.” Nearby, on the National Mall, there is the Smithsonian’s Institutional Archives, which has an extensive collection of travel and tourist ephemera. Scientists, naturalists, and explorers often depended on the same networks of mobility that tourists relied on. As scholars and often as obsessive collectors, Smithsonian personnel kept excellent records that highlight the links between formal state research and the growth of international travel.

Outside the halls of government, the private sector has records chronicling its partnership with the promotional state. The University of Miami, for example, houses the corporate archive of Pan American Airways. Every year the university also awards small grants for visiting researchers to work with Pan Am’s records. Likewise, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, one can follow the development of Florida’s tourism industry to study the industry’s expansion into the Caribbean. The State of Florida was a jumping-off point for U.S. expansion in Latin America and the Caribbean. The records of railroad and steamship entrepreneurs, like Henry Flagler and Henry Plant, are part of the Florida Ephemera Collection: The Art of Tourism.

There are few archives focused specifically on the tourism industry, but one such repository is the Hospitality Industry Archives at the University of Houston. The archives are the world’s largest collection of materials documenting the history of hotel development. Most of the documents concern the Hilton Hotel chain, although there are also records from Marriott, Walt Disney, Howard Johnson, and others. Finally, any researcher of U.S. foreign relations, and in this case international tourism, should also work with local and national archives outside the United States. National archives, regional archives, and community libraries in any number of international destinations chronicle the rise of tourism from a distinctly local perspective.

Further Reading

Aron, Cindy S.Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.Find this resource:

Berger, Dina, and Andrew Grant Wood, eds. Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Cocks, Catherine. Tropical Whites: The Rise of the Tourist South in the Americas. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Cronon, William. “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” In Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. Edited by William Cronon, 69–90. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.Find this resource:

Endy, Christopher. Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Kaplan, Amy, and Donald E. Pease, eds. Cultures of United States Imperialism. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

MacCannell, Dean. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken Books, 1976.Find this resource:

Merrill, Dennis. Negotiating Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Twentieth-Century Latin America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 1992.Find this resource:

Rothman, Hal K.Devil’s Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998.Find this resource:

Skwiot, Christine. The Purposes of Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Cuba and Hawai’i. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Urry, John. The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies. London: SAGE, 1990.Find this resource:

Zuelow, Eric G. E.A History of Modern Tourism. New York: Palgrave, 2016.Find this resource:


(1.) Select parts of Woodrow Wilson’s speech can be found in William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (Cleveland, OH: World Pub, 1959), 72.

(2.) Alfred T. Mahan, “The United States Looking Outward,” Atlantic Monthly, December 1890, 816–824.

(3.) Dennis Merrill, Negotiating Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Twentieth-Century Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 244.

(4.) Christopher Endy, Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 4.

(5.) Neil Leiper, “An Etymology of ‘Tourism,’” Annals of Tourism Research 10 (1983): 277–281.

(6.) Eric Zuelow, A History of Modern Tourism (New York: Palgrave, 2016), 9.

(7.) Ascem Anand, Advance Dictionary of Tourism (New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 1997), 41.

(8.) See, John Urry, The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies (London: SAGE, 1990); and Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: Schocken Books, 1976).

(9.) Quoted in Zuelow’s A History of Modern Tourism, 15.

(10.) Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress (Connecticut: American Publishing CO., 1869), 19.

(11.) Kristin L. Hoganson, Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

(12.) See, Matthew Frye Jacobsen, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000). For Cuba’s long running fight for independence, see Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868–1898 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); and Louis A. Pérez, The War of 1898: the United States and Cuba in History and Historiography (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). On Panama’s independence in 1903, Ovidio Diaz Espino, How Wall Street Created a Nation: J. P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal (New York: Basic Books, 2003); and Walter LaFeber, The Panama Canal: The Crisis in Historical Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).

(13.) Richard Harding Davis, Three Gringos in Venezuela and Central America, (New York: Harpers & Brothers, 1896), 193.

(14.) Catherine Cocks, Tropical Whites: The Rise of the Tourist South in the Americas (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 17–27.

(15.) William Crawford Gorgas, Sanitation in Panama (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1915). Also see Mariola Espinosa, Epidemic Invasions: Yellow Fever and the Limits of Cuban Independence, 1878–1930 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009).

(16.) Paul Sutter, “Tropical Conquest and the Rise of the Environmental Management State,” in Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State, eds. Alfred W. McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), 317–326.

(17.) Mark Carey, “Inventing Caribbean Climates: How Science, Medicine, and Tourism Changed Tropical Weather from Deadly to Healthy,” Osiris 26 (2011): 138.

(18.) “The Great White Fleet” Advertisement in Scribner’s Magazine, 1916, from Wikimedia Commons.

(19.) Quoted in Cocks, Tropical Whites, 91.

(20.) Quoted in Paul Sutter’s “Tropical Conquest and the Rise of the Environmental Management State,” 317.

(21.) Quoted Louis A. Pérez’sCuba under the Platt Amendment, 1902–1934 (Pittsburgh: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), 44.

(22.) John Soluri, “Empire’s Footprint: The Ecological Dimensions of a Consumers’ Republic,” OAH Magazine of History 25 (2011): 15–20.

(23.) For an excellent overview of tourism’s relationship to European imperial expansion, see Zuelow, A History of Modern Tourism, 91–111.

(24.) Endy, Cold War Holidays.

(25.) Urry, The Tourist Gaze.

(26.) Adam Weaver, “Tourism and the Military: Pleasure and the War Economy,” Annals of Tourism Research 38 (2011): 672–689.

(27.) On tourism’s history in Mexico, see Dina Berger and Andrew Grant Wood, eds., Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009).

(28.) Jeffrey Parker, “Empire’s Angst: The Politics of Race, Migration, and Sex Work in Panama, 1903–1945” (diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2013), 217.

(29.) On tourism’s history in Hawaii, see Christine Skwiot, The Purposes of Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Cuba and Hawai’i (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010); and Cristina Bacchilega, Legendary Hawai’i and the Politics of Place Tradition, Translation, and Tourism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). For the history of sex tourism in Thailand and its relationship to the U.S. military, Ryan Bishop and Lillian S. Robinson, Night Market: Sexual Cultures and the Thai Economic Miracle (New York: Routledge, 1998).

(30.) Scott Laderman, Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 48.

(31.) Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 173.

(32.) Cynthia H. Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014).

(33.) William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American (New York: Norton, 1958), 108.

(34.) Evidence for this section is based on Christopher Endy’s Cold War Holidays. For more on American tourism in France, also see Harvey A. Levenstein, We’ll Always Have Paris: American Tourists in France since 1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

(35.) Levenstein, We’ll Always Have Paris, 54.

(36.) Quoted in Merrill, Negotiating Paradise, 186.

(37.) Blake Charles Scott, “From Disease to Desire: Panama and the Rise of the Caribbean Vacation” (PhD diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2016).

(38.) Adrian Vickers, Bali: A Paradise Created, New York: Penguin, 1989); and Michael Picard, Bali: Cultural Tourism and Touristic Culture (Singapore: Archipelago, 1996).

(39.) For a detailed discussion of tourism’s relationship to soft power, see Merrill, Negotiating Paradise.

(40.) Hunter S. Thompson, “Why Anti-gringo Winds Often Blow South of the Border,” National Observer, August 19, 1963. Reprinted in Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt: strange tales from a strange time (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003).

(41.) Merrill, Negotiating Paradise, 4.

(42.) James Clifford, “Traveling Cultures,” in Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 17–46.

(43.) Adam M. McKeown, Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

(44.) Frank A. Guridy, Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 157.

(45.) Guridy, Forging Diaspora.

(46.) Lara Putnam, Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013), 19.

(47.) Mimi Sheller, Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies (London: Routledge, 2003), 33.

(48.) Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a Dream (New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012).

(49.) World Tourism Organization, UNWTO Tourism Highlights: 2016 Edition.

(50.) Gilbert M. Joseph, “Close Encounters: Toward a New Cultural History of U.S.–Latin American Relations,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations, eds. Gilbert M. Joseph, Catherine C. LeGrand, and Ricardo D. Salvatore (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), , 3–46; Amy Kaplan, “Left Alone with America: The Absence of Empire in the Study of American Culture,” in Cultures of United States Imperialism, eds. Amy Kaplan and Donald E. Pease (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993), 3–21; and Michael J. Hogan and Thomas G. Paterson, eds., Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

(51.) The history of tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean is a relatively new subject of research for historians. The field, however, is growing. Historical monographs include: Rosalie Schwartz, Pleasure Island: Tourism and Temptation in Cuba (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997); Frank Fonda Taylor, To Hell with Paradise: A History of the Jamaican Tourist Industry (London: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993); Ian G. Strachan, Paradise and Plantation: Tourism and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002); Krista Thompson, An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007); Evan R. Ward, Packaged Vacations: Tourism Development in the Spanish Caribbean (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008); Dennis Merrill, Negotiating Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Twentieth-Century Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009); Dina Berger and Andrew Grant Wood, eds., Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009); Christine Skwiot, The Purposes of Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Cuba and Hawai’i (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010); and Catherine Cocks, Tropical Whites: The Rise of the Tourist South in the Americas (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013). For a recent review of tourism history, see John S. Hogue, “Cheeseburger in Paradise: Tourism and Empire at the Edges of Vacationland,” American Quarterly 63.1 (March 2011): 203–214.

(52.) For innovative anthropological studies of tourism, see for example Denise Brennan, What’s Love Got to Do with It? Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004); and L. Kaifa Roland, Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha: An Ethnography of Racial Meanings (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

(53.) William Appleman Williams, The Shaping of American Diplomacy: Readings and Documents in American Foreign Relations, 1750–1955 (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1956), xx.