Commentary on Tourism and Mobilities The End of Tourism as We Know it?
Keywords:mobilities, end of tourism
AbstractThe twenty first century has seen the social sciences rediscovering tourism as an area for research by combining social and spatial approaches into a ‘mobilities’ paradigm. To quote Hannam et al (2006) this paradigm encompasses “both the large scale movement of people, objects and capital… as well as the more local processes of daily transportation, movement.., and the travel of material things” (p. 1) . The mobilities paradigm challenges the traditional approach taken by many tourism academics by viewing tourism as but one form of ‘mobility’, located within a spectrum ranging from permanent migration to daily shopping, where tourism is rethought as a form of ‘voluntary temporary mobility in relation to home’ (Hall, 2005). In this paradigm, tourism is no longer treated as a discrete, distinct or special activity, but simply one that is a part of a range of other activities in a mobile society. Larsen et al (2007) justify this approach by arguing that the world in the twenty first century is a highly mobile one and because tourism is relatively inexpensive and convenient, it blends with other forms of mobility and connections. This leads to the notion of tourism as part of a ‘leisure mobility spectrum’ ranging from daily leisure around the home through to tourism where an overnight stay is taken. Here, what may initially be a tourism-related mobility – travelling to and from a second home for example, may eventually become retirement migration. The mobilities paradigm does create a number of opportunities for tourism research, but also a number of challenges.
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