Departmental Bulletin Paper Tourism Development in Hikkaduwa as a Setting for Sexual and Intimate Relationships

Nirmala , Ranasinghe

Relationships between tourists and local people at tourist destinations have become vastly diversified over time. With the introduction of the phenomenon of ‘romance tourism’, it could be identified that relationships between female/male tourists and local men/women involve intimate and emotional bonds rather than a mere exchange of sex for money. This article explores how the sexual and intimate relationships with tourists established and changed parallel to tourism development in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. Methods utilized were in-depth interviews and participant observations with both tourismrelated and non-tourism-related people in Hikkaduwa. In analyzing the tourism development process, locally based small-scale tourism establishments, and long staying tourists and their behaviors were identified as the reasons for establishing such relationships. Moreover, it became apparent that these relationships have changed over time and that the most prominent relationships at present, those involving beach boys and female tourists, are closer to the concept of romance tourism than sex tourism.

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