Tourism Mobilities in the Anthropocene: imaginative geographies of life and leisure
Room 7.45, run run shaw tower (school of English seminar room)
Benjamin Lucca Iaquinto Department of Geography, HKU
With the pandemic forcing an abrupt halt to international travel, many commentators have been publicly contemplating the future of tourism. But the coronavirus has directed attention away from an even larger and more enduring threat – climate change. The impact of human activity on the planet is so severe many geologists have argued the earth has entered a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene, or ‘age of humans’. Since 1950, tourism has undergone such spectacular exponential growth that it is considered a marker of the Anthropocene conversion. A major reason is its contribution to climate change as 8% of global carbon emissions are produced by tourism.
While tourism researchers are very aware of the threats posed by climate change, tourism research often presents ominous tourism futures in abstract terms through an array of statistics, models and figures. Or it uses detached writing styles that obscure what it might actually be like as a tourist under extreme conditions. Building on the growing interest in fiction, story-telling and ‘cli-fi’ within human geography, this talk provides a thought experiment for imagining the social extremes that might emerge on a planet undergoing climatic extremes. It will present three scenarios for tourism mobilities in the Anthropocene ranging from the optimistic to the cataclysmic, which are intended to act as a coping mechanism for the potentially disastrous future ahead of us.