Literary Tourism, Marrying the Two

Literary Tourism,  Marrying the TwoLiterary Tourism,  Marrying the Two

If you happen to be in Iran today, October 12, you may have the opportunity to take part in the memorial ceremony of Hafez, one of the greatest ever poets and mystics.

It may be of interest for the literati to know that Iran is also a place where some other world famous poets lived or were born; Molavi or Rumi, Saadi Shirazi, Baba Taher, Khayyam, Attar, and Ferdowsi are among these figures.

During the commemoration days of these literary icons, thousands of tourists come together in cities of Shiraz, Mashhad, and Hamedan, three of the country’s most literary destinations, to honor the thoughts and writings of these literary greats.

These commemorative occasions are the best opportunities for those in the tourism industry to hold literary tours or as one site suggests “marrying the two”, stating: If one of life’s greatest pleasures is travel, and the other is books, then literary tourism that promises to marry the two, sounds just ideal and very necessary indeed.

 Armchair Travelers

While many armchair travelers read books of odysseys and missions of authors or their fictional characters to places far and wide, many take pains to experience for real the routes they have previously taken. Some of the most daring of tourists choose to take the route to Antarctica, where, although being the Earth’s least-trodden landscape, has provided a great subject for authors from John Calvin Batchelor (The Birth of the People’s Republic of Antarctica) to Maria Semple (Where’d You Go, Bernadette). Other’s not wishing to go to such lengths can choose to visit poets’ and authors’ homes and graves.

These travelers who are called literary tourists are most likely booklovers, or are writers in pursuit of places that have once inspired others.

Visiting the author’s museums or real places from which the fiction is based is not where literary tourism ends. Even a book lover who enjoys browsing incredible bookstores and libraries can be called a literary tourist.

There are plenty of sources to help literary tourists enjoy their interests: literary guides, literary maps, and literary tours. There are also some websites listing authors’ commemoration days and remarkable bookshops.

While literary tourism is mainly focused on famous works, more modern works that are written to specifically promote tourism are called tourism fiction. Modern tourism fiction can include travel guides within the story showing readers how to visit the real places in the fictional tales. With recent technological advances in publishing, digital tourism fiction books can even allow literary tourists to follow direct links to tourism websites related to the story.