Now is the time for academics, practitioners, travelers, and humans to take a pause, reflect, then unite – We are in the middle of a global pandemic – a time where flights are grounded, travel bans ordered, people quarantined, news alerts 24-7 – people are afraid, anxious, and depressed – especially within our tourism world. Tourism is more than getting that photo for ‘Instagram’ – we are feeling that more than ever – the reality of not traveling to experience a culture, destination – indulge in culinary experiences – taste wine at a festival – listen to street performers amongst strangers – get lost in street murals – hug our family and friends – instead, we are realizing the reality of what a life of isolation feels like … a life void of travel. Travel is a series of social encounters worth saving for what they can add to our education and empathy as well as our enjoyment.
Now is the time to redesign our tourism landscape and industry to be sustainable and truly equitable. We’ve all heard it before – sustainability – ecotourism – over tourism – but who was really listening? Sure, steps were taken with select hospitality and tourism businesses/destinations toward limiting plastics, increasing recycling, providing counter-narratives and experiences – but was it enough? With this global pandemic there is an opportunity for a true RESET of tourism. Such a RESET is more than lip service or greenwashing of brochures; rather, it is about planning a tourism future not fueled solely by demand but guided by an ethics of care, social and environmental justice, and racial reconciliation.
This is an excerpt from an article by Drs. Alderman, Benjamin, & Dillette, originally published on Tourism RESET.