That article is not about tourism in a direct sense. It is instead about transformations taking place this year through the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the George Floyd murder and global protests. However, much of what I wrote in that article could apply to travel and tourism, as well.
I basically suggest that the biggest challenge that we are facing in 2020 is the 'othering' of anyone and anything that is not "me" or "us", and that
- "The way we ‘other’ based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, politics, and money is now beyond the limits of what the majority of humankind find acceptable."
I conclude that the what we are seeing in the world today is the emergence of a 'New Politics', 'New Economy', and 'New Earth', and that
- "The more and sooner [we] embrace the emerging reality, and recognize our universal oneness, the quicker the transition to a new ‘normal’ will take place."
I had first written about 'othering' and tourism in a commentary in 2018 titled, 'Why travel? – travel, tourism, and global consciousness'. The expansion of global consciousness is the expansion of the knowledge and awareness of the oneness of everything on our planet, which I think is essentially in overcoming our othering of people, plants, animals, and environments.
More recently, before the COVID-19 pandemic, I argued that travel and tourism could help to expand and establish a global consciousness that could bring about a more sustainable tourism and sustainable world (see: Global conscious as a path to sustainable tourism: A perspective paper). I did not know exactly how that would be done -- I just had faith that individuals who are more creative, and perhaps entrepreneurial than I am, would come up with solutions.
On the academic side of life, I am, therefore, excited to hear of ways that scholars and educators are calling for changes that directly address the challenge of 'othering', including:
- Statement by the Tourism RESET project (Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism)*)
- TALS/ANZALS/CALS/LARASA/LSA/AEME Joint Charge Statement (Leisure Studies Association)
- A NEW Vision for the TRAVEL Industry (Meeting Professionals International, MPI)
- Travel & Tourism Transformed - BLM & Othering page (TRINET-based)
On behalf of the Editorial Board of Tourism Geographies, I strongly supports these initiatives and policy recommendations, and will work to encourage research and commentaries in the journal that help bring our planet together in ways that demonstrate mutual appreciation, respect, joy, love, and celebration for the diversity of human and non-human beings that share our world.
Alan A. Lew
* Note: a more lengthy statement by Tourism RESET leaders is found here: “We can’t return to normal”: committing to tourism equity in the post-pandemic age. -- That commentary is part of a special issue of Tourism Geographies on COVID-19, which contains other articles that address inequalities and unjust exploitations in tourism, along with suggestions on how to create a better tourism post COVID-19.