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Has tourism had its day?


Freya Higgins-Desbiolles asks Has tourism had its day?

Has tourism had its day? I would like to think that the conventional discourse of what constitutes travel and tourism is about to flip on its head, much like Earth’s magnetic pole.

I wish there were more coverage / reflection on the changing press coverage of tourism and tourists. There is a mix of superficial coverage of destination tourism, official meetings, and trade conferences combined with honest muckracking on the pitfalls of tourism gone bad. Besides butts-on-seats numbers, stats are missing that showing the return on investment and more deeply, the positive engagement among visitors and locals. What would be helpful – a public database with stats that can be studied and shared.

Back when I lived in Oaxaca, I used ‘undertourism‘ to describe the lack of visitors in the artisan workshops and local markets, particularly as a way to collaborate on efforts to educate potential travelers. It can still be used as a way of addressing the need for visitors to keep the museum doors open, and the artisans financially rewarded for their efforts.

So with that, I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s sentiments that we need “to redefine and reorient tourism. It must be built around the needs and rights of local communities who reside in popular tourist destinations. We redefine tourism as the process of such communities inviting, receiving and hosting visitors for a limited duration, with the intention of benefiting from such actions.”

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