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Tourism, COVID-19 and crisis: the case for a radical turn

Bianchi, Raoul V (2022) Tourism, COVID-19 and crisis: the case for a radical turn. In: Socialising Tourism: Rethinking Tourism for Social and Ecological Justice. Contemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility . Routledge, pp. 93-108. ISBN 9780367759223 (hardback); 9781003164616 (ebook)

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While the tourism industries have been severely impacted by the economic collapse triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic has also revealed the degree to which the international tourism industries and associated mobility flows are deeply woven into the interconnected architecture of global capitalism, its fragilities and inequalities. Nevertheless, many have been quick to proclaim that the pandemic-induced crisis provides an unprecedented opportunity for reimagining and rebuilding the tourism industries in line with the principles of sustainability, resilience and social justice. While there is emerging evidence of a desire to tackle previously unsustainable processes of tourism, its logics of growth and business models, this chapter critically examines the degree to which a radical, paradigmatic transition away from growth-led, corporate-managed and resource-intensive tourism development in the aftermath of the pandemic is possible. The chapter concludes that arguments for the socialisation of tourism should commence from a rigorous analysis and critique of the tourism political economy and attendant class relations of power which influence the potential scope for the kinds of coordinated collective action required to bring about alternatives to growth-led, capitalist tourism development.

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