Degrowing tourism: rethinking tourism

Freya Higgins-Desbiolles*, Sandro Carnicelli, Chris Krolikowski, Gayathri Wijesinghe, Karla Boluk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)
121 Downloads (Pure)


Concerns with growth have steadily advanced since the Limits to Growth report due particularly to human impacts on the natural environment. Since that time, neoliberal capitalism has become increasingly reliant on growth exacerbating these problems. The destructive outcomes of these strategies has led to a growing interest in degrowth. Analysts are examining how we can create economies that eschew a growth imperative while still supporting human thriving. Tourism as a key facet of capitalism is implicated in these issues and recent concerns with “overtourism” are only one symptom of the problem. This article presents a conceptual consideration of issues of degrowth in tourism. It examines current tensions in international mobility and argues just and sustainable degrowth will require greater attention to equity. This analysis suggests that essential to such an agenda is redefining tourism to focus on the rights of local communities and a rebuilding of the social capacities of tourism. This article argues for the redefinition of tourism in order to place the rights of
local communities above the rights of tourists for holidays and the rights of tourism corporates to make profits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1926-1944
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number12
Early online date22 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2019


  • Sustainable tourism
  • Social equity
  • Tourism as a social force
  • Definition of tourism
  • Degrowth
  • Justice and tourism


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