Rethinking tourism: degrowth and equity rights in developing community-centric tourism

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

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Neoliberalism and the growth trajectory sought by developing countries with the aspiration of achieving Western levels of consumption impedes notions of equity, justice and well-being for all. Specifically, a commitment to capitalism has engulfed discussions on behavioural change necessary to progress sustainability. Critical explorations concerning tourists, who are not always ‘rational decision-makers’, and which question the ability of the industry to self-regulate, are urgently needed in scholarly work. In this chapter we argue that it is necessary to re-frame tourism through a degrowth strategy. Our analysis builds on our previous work redefining tourism (Higgins-Desbiolles, Carnicelli, Krolikowski, Wijesinghe, & Boluk, 2019) and the importance of placing the rights of local communities above the rights of tourists for holidays and the rights of tourism corporations to generate profits. Drawing on the overtourism and ‘last chance’ tourism literature, we consider the need to pursue a degrowth and community-centric tourism pathway. We highlight a number of examples centering on airlines (Air New Zealand, Air France, KLM), illustrating the lack of responsibility presented by tourism corporates in responding to sustainability concerns, as well as some of the promising work which has the potential to contribute to community-centred sustainability. We offer proposals for action and provide illustrative examples of the Higgins-Desbiolles et al. (2019) community-centred tourism framework. We support the framework as a mechanism for degrowing tourism and one which offers the industry and other tourism stakeholders a reconciliatory approach towards a more equitable and sustainable tourism that may have a future
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDegrowth and Tourism
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on Tourism Entrepreneurship, Destinations and Policy
EditorsC. Michael Hall, Linda Lundmark, Jundan Jasmine Zhang
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429320590
ISBN (Print)9780367335656
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameContemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility


  • tourism
  • communities
  • equity rights
  • degrowth


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