Tourism in the Mountain South

A Double-Edged Sword

  • Author(s): Martin, C. Brenden
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2007-06-15
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Hardcover - Cloth: Price $32.00 | Buy Now

“This is a thoughtful, well-researched, and very well written study of therole of tourism in the economic development in the southern highlands. . . . Martin also places tourism development within the context of New Southindustrialization, an often missed link between the southern highlands andother subregions of the South.” —Richard Starnes, Western CarolinaUniversity

Tourism in the Mountain South: A Double-Edged Sword provides the first broad historical synthesis of how tourism has shaped the economy, cultural identity, and landscape of the Mountain South.  Concentrating on the period from after the Civil War up to the present day, this interdisciplinary study provides a significant contribution to southern historiography while challenging prevailing assumptions in Appalachian studies.

C. Brenden Martin examines tourism in the context of the transformation of transportation networks, urban and rural community development, and the changing role of government in regulating tourism. Martin illustrates how tourism represents a double-edged sword, cutting both ways in its impact on the region. It is a transformative force that has accelerated the modernization of the Mountain South in many ways, and yet tourism has also provided the main economic rationale for the region’s cultural, historical, and environmental preservation movements.

Until now, scholars have not fully appreciated the important role that tourism has played in creating the modern Mountain South.  Now by far the largest industry in the southern highlands, tourism deserves its place alongside mining, timber, and farming as a mainstay of the region’s economy. Furthermore, Tourism in the Mountain South concludes that tourism alone is a sort of economic monoculture and that, at best, should be part of a broader development strategy.

C. Brenden Martin is professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University. His articles appear in the Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Museum News, and the Journal of Appalachian Studies.