The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the links between neoliberal political economy and global tourism. The chapter undertakes a conceptual analysis by reviewing the tourism studies, social theory and political economy literature. The findings indicate that neoliberal free-market economic policies are globally enshrined by intergovernmental organisations and the Washington consensus. The neoliberal model of global tourism is found to contain significant limitations and risks for host communities, in particular the commodification of leisure, work and the natural environment. Scholars from a range of fields have sought to advance alternative models to insulate tourism from commodifying forces, one of the most recent has been the sharing economy. However, it has been found that even the sharing economy is not immune from the depredations of the market. It is recommended that local communities and tourists seek to reclaim a non-market sphere as a basis from which to operate tourism ventures. This can be achieved through a social valuing agenda and host and global communities undertaking collective action to ensure that public goods and people are protected.
Stephen Wearing, Matthew McDonald, Truc Ha Thanh Nguyen and Joshua D. Bernstein
The particular focus is on how altruism occurs in tourism. The chapter authors examine how commodifying altruism has resulted in the growth of volunteer tourism, providing a feel-good product at a premium price that also gives a sense of perceived quality for the individual traveller. Individual tourist identities can be bolstered and served by the current commodification but not necessarily with positive outcomes for the setting or the communities encountered. The forces of the global free-market economy tend to loom over tourism, ignoring the impacts or what economists refer to as externalities. The work explores the notion of a gift as a richer conceptualisation of altruism and argues for a broader evaluation and treatment of the success of tourist activities to capture more ethical volunteering.