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19-07-2020 | Symposium: Reflections Before, During, and Beyond COVID-19 | Issue 4/2020 Open Access

Society 4/2020

Present-Day Mass Tourism: its Imaginaries and Nightmare Scenarios

Journal:
Society > Issue 4/2020
Author:
Rob Kroes
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Abstract

Present-day mass tourism uncannily resembles an auto-immune disease. Yet, self-destructive as it may be, it is also self-regenerating, changing its appearance and purpose. They are two modes that stand in contrast to each other. We can see them as opposites that delimit a conceptual dimension ordering varieties of present-day mass tourism. The first pole calls forth tourism as a force leaving ruin and destruction in its wake or at best a sense of nostalgia for what has been lost, the other sees tourism as a force endlessly resuscitating and re-inventing itself. This paper article highlights both sides of the story. These times of the Covid-19 pandemic, with large swathes of public life emptied by social lock-down, remind us of a second, cross-cutting conceptual dimension, ranging from public space brimming with human life to its post-apocalyptic opposite eerily empty and silent. The final part of my argument will touch on imagined evocations of precisely such dystopian landscapes.
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