Millennials, Generation Z and the Future of Tourism

This month we are publishing Millennials, Generation Z and the Future of Tourism by Fabio Corbisiero, Salvatore Monaco and Elisabetta Ruspini. In this post the authors explain how studying the attitudes, motivations and behaviours of younger tourists can help to identify future trends in tourism.

The famous quote “Savoir pour prévoir et prévoir pour pouvoir” (To know in order to predict, and thus to act) formulated by Auguste Comte during one of his university lectures, fully describes the future-oriented character of sociology, which, since its origins, has been conceived as a discipline aimed at both the study of society and social change. Sharing the idea that foresight is a useful analytical tool to anticipate the society of the future, the book Millennials, Generation Z and the Future of Tourism focuses on the study of tourism and its possible developments as a social phenomenon in the short to medium-long term.

In the book, the exploration of possible and probable futures uses a particular lens: the generational one. In order to forecast the future of tourism demand and facilitate its meeting with supply, the chapters in the book start from the characteristics and needs of the new generations (Millennials, Generation Z and Generation Alpha). Young people are the main actors of social change: they are perfect trendsetters because they link both past, present and future and outline social trends. Thus, studying attitudes, motivations and behaviours of younger tourists is a useful starting point in understanding new travel processes and practices, unprecedented trends in tourism preferences and consumption, new dynamics and meanings attributed to travel.

Beyond the territorial and cultural specificities, some common values and choices that can help the identification of future tourism trends emerge from the analysis.

First, digital technologies have profoundly influenced the travel behaviour of younger tourists: Millennials and members of Gen Z are using new technologies not only to organize and communicate their travel experiences but also to disengage from a mass use of tourist activities and promote sustainable tourism practices. Second, the tourist gaze of future travellers appears to be increasingly attentive to sustainability, authenticity, respect for territories’ material and intangible resource. A third aspect concerns the openness of the new generations to changing gender identities and sexual orientations: they show stronger support for gender egalitarianism and are much more likely to be allies of LGBTQ+ communities than generations before them. The book also focuses on forms of social exclusion in the tourism sector (gender inequalities and discriminations linked to sexual orientation) and tries to understand how the new generations are facing these challenges.

The book brings a new theoretical paradigm to the study of tourism and its future development, emphasising the contribution of the younger generation to the renewal of tourism and its revival after the pandemic. As extensively discussed, tourism has shown itself to be changeable and resilient, even in the face of crises and downtime periods. The post-Covid recovery of tourism flows is a clear example of how tourism never stops, but always finds new and original ways to meet the social need to travel. The same has happened in the past, for example in response to natural disasters or in the face of the scourge of terrorism. Tourism has always renewed itself over time, experimenting with new and novel ways of moving and travelling, and the younger generations play a crucial role in this process of change.

For more information about this book, please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Gamification for Tourism edited by Feifei Xu and Dimitrios Buhalis.

Is the Future of Tourism Something Akin to “Outbreak”, “Westworld”, “Blade Runner” or “Eyes of Darkness”?

We recently published Science Fiction, Disruption and Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman, Una McMahon-Beattie and Marianna Sigala. In this post Ian discusses the aims of the book and highlights some of its key chapters.

As the Scenario Planner at VisitScotland in 2006, I facili­tated a team to model and construct a set of scenarios which replicated the present COVID-19 pandemic reality. This is an exam­ple of science fiction coming true and a journey beginning. Science fiction was used to explore the possible and impossible, to construct futures based upon technologies which had not been invented, to think about the transformation of tourism, and to predict the end of tourism based upon a natural disaster. The process took rationality to its limits. However, as academic researchers we would normally view science fiction as nothing more than a piece of creative writing. It is not something based upon fact but imagination; it is not real but fantasy. COVID-19 has challenged our thinking, as in Dean Koontz’s prediction in the Eyes of Darkness about Wuhan 400 or the 2011 film Contagion which portrays spread of a virus, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease and the loss of social order in trying to halt its spread. Science fiction has become reality.

Thinking about the future

Science fiction is a ‘thinking machine’. It is about imagination and is right at the centre of scenario planning – the main research methodology used in futures stud­ies. Thus, the purpose of this book is to understand the role of science fiction in tourism research and how it is used to portray and make us rethink the future of tourism. It explores if science fiction can be of benefit to tourism researchers in a rapidly changing world, as it provides them food for thought and a way of thinking, rethinking and de-thinking of tourism futures. It helps set research agendas, directions and scope of research. In this vein, science fiction can be seen as a useful approach to foster and support transformation in tourism research.

Why change is necessary

Given the implications of COVID-19 and the overdue changes required in tourism, this book is more than just topical in nature and focus; it is also much needed to direct and foster tourism research that envisions beyond the past normal. As such, we fundamentally address the requirements for transformational tourism thinking and research through the contributions of the authors in this edited collection. Holistically, the combined contribu­tion of the chapters is to understand and construct a theoretical position or framework between science fiction and the future of tourism. If one can find an underpinning theory, then we have the basis of using science fiction as a theoretical lens and methodological approach to explore, frame and even form the future of tourism. By focusing on a specific form of tourism or topic, every book chapter uses a practical example and evidence to dis­cuss and explain the theoretical underpinnings, as well as the methods that others can also use to vision and rethink tourism futures.

Highlights of the book

In Chapter 6, Life Without Limits: Design, Technology and Tourism Futures in Westworld, Gurevitch uses a design theory per­spective which intertwines media, tourism futures and design. He explores the disruptive potential of technology to deliver experiences and the desire of tourists to feel free from the moral, social, economic and political con­straints of their daily lives.

In Chapter 8, Wildlife Tourism in 2150: Uplifted Animals, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Everything In-between, Bertella discusses the current research in both tourism and other disciplines in order to make a considered predic­tion about the future of wildlife tourism in 2150. Bertella examines the authenticity of future wildlife tourism where technology has been used to enhance the tourism experience.

In Chapter 9, Tears in the Rain: Tourism in the World of Blade Runner and Total Recall, Bolan addresses the worlds and their technology as depicted in the science fiction works by Philip K. Dick and explores their impact and influence on tourism. He examines the transformational impact of technology in tourism, from rep­licants to memory implants and self-driving cars to holograms.

In Chapter 10, Destination of the Dead: The Future for Tourism?, McEntee and col­leagues consider tourists a plague of zombies within the context of over­tourism and sustainability. The chapter takes a novel look at tourism and its impact on the people and places that experience excessive numbers of tourists. Zombies are now a clear genre in popular culture, appearing in countless movies, TV programmes and comic books, all of which depict crowds of mindless bodies shuffling along aimlessly while leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The same could arguably be said for some tour­ists, slowly walking along looking upwards at buildings with a selfie stick in hand while busy locals go about their daily business.

Towards a theoretical framework

Tourism futures needs a theoretical frame­work to contribute towards the evolution of tourism research. But as Yeoman and Beeton note, tourism futures is often presented with­out a foundation, is often misunderstood, and those that write about the future tend to emphasise presentism. What COVID-19 has taught us is the importance of moving beyond presentism and not thinking about the future as a linear projection based upon previously studied interrelations of known (economic) variables. Hence, the value of this edited collection is it encourages us to make a quantum leap in the terms of how we view and how we can afford to think about the future of tourism and tourism research. It takes us beyond the positivism to the non-linearity of interpre­tivism and a multiplicity of futures.

The book gives us a theoretical framework to study the future of tourism based upon science fiction. From an ontological perspective, the assumption is that the future needs to be explained by how the future will occur through science fiction. From an epistemological perspective, the book identifies a number of concepts including plurality, disruption and transformation, hyperreality of authenticity, dystopia, liminality, scepticism and the importance of narrative.

What next?

Many science fiction movies and books come in sequels. So, COVID-20 we suppose, but hope not! Indeed, that is not a science-fiction-inspired thought anymore but very much a possibility. We can only suggest you read a good science fiction novel and draw your own imaginings about the future of tourism. That’s what we did, and Captain Kirk was our inspiration, along with films such as Soylent Green or Star Wars. Delve into those alternative, imaginative worlds and ask yourself, what if they were to come true?

Ian Yeoman

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like The Future Past of Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie. 

Exploring the Complexity and Nuances of Sex in Tourism

This month we published Sex in Tourism edited by Neil Carr and Liza Berdychevsky. In this post the editors explain why this remains a relatively under-researched field and how discussions can be brought out in the open.

Sex in tourism (not to be confused with sex tourism, which is only a small part of sex in tourism), incorporating the light, dark and shades of grey in between, is an understudied area of research in comparison with its position in the tourism experience. This reflects the point that even in contemporary sex-saturated society, people are generally uncomfortable talking about or even acknowledging sex. This is especially the case if we seek to study or talk about sex in ways that are perceived to be non-moralistic or conformist. The result is that academics are often ‘discouraged’ from pursuing research involving sex in, and beyond, tourism.

Yet sex in tourism is such an important topic that touches on the wellbeing of so many people, and non-human animals, that to not research and talk about it is not the answer. What drives those working in the field is a desire to help improve the wellbeing of those touched by sex in tourism in myriad ways and those yet to be touched by it.

As such, this book represents some of the important work going on in the under-researched field of sex and tourism and aims to bring discussions about it, in all its diversity, into the public sphere. In doing so, the book explores the complexity and nuanced nature of sex in tourism. It encompasses issues of empowerment, freedom, exploration, abuse, entertainment, ethics and morality, and draws on work spread across the Americas, Europe, Africa and cyberspace.

This book is situated as a beginning, or potential beginnings, from which open, serious conversations can go on to examine and understand sex in tourism in all its diversity, in a way that not only pushes knowledge forward, but enhances the wellbeing of people.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Gay Tourism edited by Oscar Vorobjovas-Pinta. 

Tourination: The Ruination By, Of and With Tourism

We recently published The Impact of Tourism in East Africa by Anne Storch and Angelika Mietzner. In this post the authors explain the concept of ‘Tourination’.

Beaches are problematic spaces. They are the porous sites of uncertain encounters, of contact between humans and spirits, firm ground and uncertainty. In many parts of the world, they are lined by the ruins of imperialism and colonialism, and by the excessive waste produced in global mass tourism. Paradise is depicted on nearby billboards, the flawless white sand and turquoise waters are a promise for all those who can pay their way in.

From places that seem destroyed, ruined or abandoned, new systems of togetherness emerge, as we describe in our book. The ruination by, of and with tourism is a concept we tend to call Tourination. Tourination is found in every single part and corner wherever tourism takes place. It describes how people and places change because of tourism and what emerges out of this change. We would like to propose making Tourination a term of its own in the discourse on tourism and change. A term that does not always imply a negative connotation of the term ruination, but rather a connotation that shows what comes out of it.

Meanwhile, the knowledge and techniques of creating spaces that are alive and allow for resistance and sovereignty remain. In Digo (a Bantu language spoken in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania), like in the languages of many other Indigenous peoples, there is a wealth of ways to express reciprocity and conviviality.

Utsi is managed by a group of elders, who figure out who is in need of the help of others and make this help happen.

Mweria is more about reciprocity. In a community, people help each other handling hard labour.

Harambee is an expression that can be used as a call, or shout, by a group of people who pull something heavy (a boat). It is also the name for asking around in the community for assistance in one’s own financially challenging tasks.

Merry-go-round is another possibility.

Saying nothing at all is a reply to an invitation to join a meal. One simply sits down and eats.

Or maybe we could sit down and listen, engage in a conversation here and there or just watch.

Angelika Mietzner and Anne Storch

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like the authors’ previous book, Language and Tourism in Postcolonial Settings.

Futures Perspectives on Tourism Inclusion

This month we published Inclusive Tourism Futures edited by Anu Harju-Myllyaho and Salla Jutila. In this post the authors explain the concept of inclusive tourism and provide examples of how we can influence inclusive tourism futures.

There are numerous academic and practical discussions concerning inclusive tourism, especially in terms of different stakeholders and actors. Yet, there is still room for futures perspectives on tourism inclusion. The aim of this book is to pay attention to inclusive tourism futures. We ask how to understand and enhance inclusive tourism development in academia and in the field of tourism. In other words, the purpose of this book is to set a basis for further discussion as well as to understand the various tourism stakeholder groups, viewpoints, methods and practices that are important for supporting inclusive tourism.

Inclusive tourism, as a dimension of sustainable tourism, is part of a wider societal discussion. Sustainable tourism is a multidimensional issue and neither of the different dimensions exist in a vacuum. This means that, for instance, ecologically sustainable tourism demands a recognition of its social dimension. It is very important to continue discussions and to commit to action regarding socially responsible tourism and environmental sustainability. However, such engagement also causes conflicts. If we must restrict tourism or compensate for the emissions it causes through taxation, who then has the right to travel? Does anyone? At the same time, we ask: who is permitted to take part in planning tourism and consuming it? Who benefits?

Along with the diversity of tourists, inclusive tourism emphasises the participation of local people (e.g. Höckert, 2015; Simmons, 1994). Inclusion also always requires acknowledgement of exclusion, both compulsory and voluntary. Chapters of the book highlight both guest and host points of view in versatile contexts. For example, in chapter one Höckert, Kugapi and Lüthje point out the role of development projects in inclusive tourism. Authors discuss their own project, Culturally Sensitive Tourism in the Arctic (ARCTISEN), in the context of the thoughts of hosts and guests. They note that inclusion also incorporates freedom of choice: that choice can be not to participate but to stay excluded. According to Höckert et al, inclusive development cannot be pre-organised. A certain openness to different ways of being, knowing and doing must remain part of the process. They suggest that development projects should nurture the idea that hosts’ and guests’ roles are reciprocal and that they change depending on the situation.

It is important to give a voice to future generations and to consider different possibilities and paths that might be pursued to achieve mutually desired goals. By anticipating alternative futures, while recognising different perspectives on inclusive tourism, it is possible to consider future actors and what might be best for them. The future has one positive aspect: we can have an impact on it. As futures researchers often say, we cannot predict the future, but we can make it ourselves. Thus, as a chronological dimension, the future is full of possibilities.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like The Impact of Tourism in East Africa by Anne Storch and Angelika Mietzner.

Looking at Fieldwork Experiences Within a Masculinities Framework

This month we published Masculinities in the Field edited by Brooke A. Porter, Heike A. Schänzel and Joseph M. Cheer. In this post Brooke talks about the process of putting the book together.

In 2018, with the help of many invaluable contributors we created the co-edited volume, Femininities in the Field. For Heike and me, it was a much-needed contribution to the discipline as well as a cathartic space to voice previously overlooked, gendered experiences. For many it was a welcome piece and for some it became a necessary tool for fieldwork. Albeit far from comprehensive of feminine experiences, Femininities in the Field took a critical look at the role of gender in fieldwork and tourism studies. It wasn’t long after its initial publication that the idea of grounding the feminine in the masculine was considered. Philosophically, we tend to consider the ideas, concepts and things in terms of polarity or opposition. Thus, to accurately identify ideas as being described within a femininities framework we would also need to consider an opposing framework described by masculinities.

Adding Joseph to the team, we began to frame the masculine. Interestingly, and opposite to the first volume, cathartic would not be the first word of choice to describe the journey to publication of the masculinities book. Generally, we struggled with the content, the lack of regard to deadlines, and even the language choices of contributors, as they sometimes awkwardly attempted to express their own gendered journeys. Despite this struggle, we are immensely proud of the contributions. Having had time to reflect on the process, what we have come to realise was that some of the initial content that could have been read as offensive, was merely the contributors stumbling through a sometimes difficult process of self reflexivity – a process that is not commonly asked of males and one which they volunteered to take part in. In other words, our contributors, operating in a masculine field space, did not have to reflect on their actions or processes, but rather did so to advance our collective disciplines.

If the everyday is a microcosm of the world at large, then the rise of hyper-masculine cohorts like The Proud Boys emphasises the need to redouble efforts toward understanding contemporary masculinities. The aforementioned manifestations highlight how masculinities appear to have taken a turn, away from the rise of the metrosexual male in recent decades, and boomeranged to an era where the emplacement of men has shifted to make way for gender equality. This state of flux is fertile ground for casting an eye on masculinities that finds itself under sustained pressure to adapt to a rapidly developing status quo or oppose such shifts in vehement and outward ways as we have come to see around the globe.

Taking wider macro developments in masculinities into account and shifting the gaze to manifestations of it in research practice highlights that the undercurrents so redolent elsewhere inevitably find their way into the sights of research we encounter. What then are the implications for how we go about our research practice? Furthermore, notions of masculinities as singular and straightforward constructs are dashed in this edited volume where evidently, masculinities inhabit a spectrum of demonstrations and within this, speak volumes about how rather than gaze on ideas of masculinities that are taken for granted, more nuanced and open minded conceptions are pressing.

Brooke Porter, Heike A. Schänzel and Joseph M. Cheer

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Femininities in the Field edited by Brooke A. Porter and Heike A. Schänzel.

What’s New in the Second Edition of “Cultural Heritage and Tourism”?

We recently published the second edition of Cultural Heritage and Tourism by Dallen J. Timothy. In this post the author tells us what to expect from the update.

Heritage tourism continues to be one the most voluminous and pervasive types of tourism on the planet. It entails people visiting historic places, participating in cultural events, consuming intangible elements of living culture, celebrating elements of ordinary and extraordinary daily life, and interacting with the human past in multitudes of other ways. Hundreds of millions of people travel each year to participate in cultural heritage-oriented activities, motivated by a wide range of personal and extraneous forces. The theme of heritage tourism in the research academy continues to grow exponentially, commensurate with its prominence in the industry. Research about heritage and cultural tourism is now one of the foremost areas of tourism scholarship, which indicates that specialists are actively seeking new ways of understanding the phenomenon. Every year, hundreds of journal articles, books and book chapters are written about a wide range of heritage-related topics. To keep pace with cultural tourism’s growing importance, many universities and colleges are now offering specialized courses in heritage tourism to supplement cultural resource management and museology modules that have long been at the roots of heritage tourism education. This textbook is extremely timely as it provides a critical overview of the current theoretical and academic treatment of cultural heritage in a tourism context, as well as a practical management perspective that encourages tourism professionals to delve deeply into the meanings, performances, protection, interpretation and management of heritage resources and the people who utilize them.

This second edition of Cultural Heritage and Tourism reflects current industry trends, the geometric growth of heritage tourism inquiry, and many of the global changes that are affecting all types of tourism, including heritage tourism. This new edition includes expanded perspectives on information and communications technology, including social media, GPS and mobile phone apps, and artificial intelligence. It delves into the effects of climate change and overtourism on heritage supply and demand, and sheds light on the world’s current geopolitical and economic challenges. It also highlights emerging heritage-relevant themes, such as political tourism, solidarity tourism, sport tourism, agritourism, Indigenous tourism and dark tourism, and tackles the important subjects of the role of Indigenous knowledge, co-creative visitor experiences, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the growth of the experiential economy. These enhanced perspectives, as well as updated empirical examples and pedagogical tools, make this new edition a valuable educational resource for students and instructors, and a foundational reference work for researchers of cultural and heritage tourism.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Archaeology and Tourism edited by Dallen J. Timothy and Lina G. Tahan.

The Space Tourism Industry and Sustainability

We recently published Sustainable Space Tourism by Annette Toivonen. In this post the author explains the background to the book.

For generations commercial space exploration was simply a distant dream, only accessible through Hollywood space movies and virtual gaming. Lately the space field has become dominated by the different operations of the new space economy, including increased numbers of new satellite constellations, also fuelling the space race between billionaire “space barons” competing for the status of pioneers in human space expeditions. In addition, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional airline industry appears to be taking steps towards future supersonic travel via space. Simultaneously, consumer trends in travel have shifted towards more sustainable practices, supported by the IPCC (2018) report’s concerns regarding climate change and the factors surrounding it. Undeniably all types of space tourism will produce high emissions, which will raise concerns about environmental issues linked to the emergence of the commercial space tourism industry.

Sustainable Space Tourism captures the exciting anticipation of space tourism, while at the same time highlighting the many different future challenges from natural, social and political perspectives likely to be encountered in the harnessing of space travel as the ultimate tourist activity. The book is the first to investigate the megatrend of sustainability in the emerging space tourism industry through different case study examples and empirical research. It introduces space tourism as a new sector of aviation as well as the new space economy and defines the typology for different space tourism activities. As the notion of sustainability in tourism has received critical attention in recent decades, the sustainable development discourse is investigated in this book through different global phenomena. This is followed by an interpretation of future directions and an introduction to new forecasting models related to space tourism future scenario planning and development. Various other contextually important aspects, such as the local impacts of space ports, space reusability economics, ethical considerations and legislation are also explored. The book concludes that the risks caused by creating a “non-sustainable” image of the future space tourism industry must be mitigated from the start by rigorously introducing sustainability into different operational practices, achieved through understanding the psychology of new types of tourism behaviour as well as global regulations. The book will be of interest to all readers interested in new space activities in general as well as students, researchers and professionals in the fields of tourism, sustainability and futures forecasting.

Annette Toivonen

For more information about this book please see our website.

The Importance of Giving and Receiving in the Tourism Industry in a Covid-19 World

This month we published Philosophies of Hospitality and Tourism by Prokopis A. Christou. In this post the author explains the importance of the book’s central topics of ‘giving and receiving’ in the Covid-19 era.

In an era of numerous challenges for the tourism industry this book aims to remind travel, tourism and hospitality professionals and students of some of the core rudiments of the tourism and hospitality domain. The acquisition and channeling of certain notions and practices, such as care for the well-being of our guests are deemed crucial at an organisational and societal level. In a COVID-19 world, our guests trust that we will convey them safely to their loved ones, accommodate, feed, and guide them, while taking care of their health and well-being.

Crises like the recent pandemic lead us to reflect on our actions and behaviour towards our employees and guests. Professionalism and quality-driven service provision are vital for the sector’s success. Nonetheless, the cultivation and circulation of virtues such as care, kindness and patience are of the utmost importance if destinations, hotels and restaurants are to be associated by their guests with terms such as “genuine care”, “extraordinary experience”, “anthropocentric-driven”, “unexpected treatment”, “quality” and “satisfaction”.  

This book moves beyond the very basics of what is the professional way to greet a guest, serve a dish, answer a phone, or deal with a complaint. It provides hotel managers, tourism stakeholders, students and other readers with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of some of the most important and core aspects of tourism and hospitality, such as how to nurture a caring and anthropocentric organisational culture, how to contribute towards the well-being of people, how to cultivate genuine and personalised hospitality, philoxenia and philanthropy, how to trigger certain “emotions”, fulfil and satisfy the “senses”, and create “memorable experiences”.

By reading this book, tourism and hospitality professionals will better understand tourists, how and why they behave in certain ways, what they expect from them, and how the managers’ actions (towards tourists, employees, the environment and the community) may negatively or positively affect their organisation. Tourism stakeholders, such as tourism planners and regional authorities will understand how tourism development and uncontrolled tourism activity may impact on the socio-natural environment of their destination. Idiosyncratic niche forms of tourism and associated ethical issues are also covered in this book, including “dark tourism” and “religious/spiritual tourism”.     

For more information about this book please see our website

If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism Ethics by David A. Fennell.

Border Watching: The Impact of Brexit and COVID-19

This month we published Tourism and Brexit edited by Hazel Andrews. In this post Hazel discusses the impact that Brexit and subsequently the COVID-19 pandemic have had on the UK.

When I was initially invited to write a book about tourism and Brexit it at first felt problematic. Although the referendum on leaving the EU had taken place nearly two years before in June 2016, when Tourism and Brexit was conceived, the UK had not left the EU and a withdrawal deal had not been settled. It was hard to envision what tourism to and from the UK would be like. In addition, Brexit was subject to on-going debate not only in the UK parliament, but also in numerous news media forums and, for me, like many others, a bit of Brexit fatigue had set in. 

However, Brexit is too important an issue to be left un- or under-explored, especially from the perspective of tourism and the ramifications that a change in freedom of movement might bring to travel practices, which sit alongside understandings of how welcoming a place the UK would be as it reconfigured and repositioned itself on the global stage. The implications of the UK’s departure from the EU has consequences far beyond the country’s immediate borders.

The referendum campaign and the resulting outcome drew attention to stark divisions within the UK, not only in terms of whether to leave or remain, but also between the countries that make up the UK and further still in terms of class and regional identities, age, education and so on. Questions of identity seemed to be at the forefront of debate.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum result things felt strange as if something palpable had changed in the atmosphere of the country. Many regarded family, friends, neighbours and colleagues in a new light, wondering which way they had voted. Couples divorced, people left the country or began to actively seek citizenship elsewhere. Trust in the UK and those around us had changed.

Those who voted leave doubtless placed trust in the campaign leaders that exiting from the EU would herald a new era characterised by easily made trade deals and control over the UK’s external borders. Since June 2016 and the ongoing debates, it seems that trust has become a keyword in the sociocultural and political landscape of the UK.

The UK officially left the EU on 31st January 2020, entering a transition period as the UK and EU began negotiations about their future relationship. The debates were far from over, but Brexit was no longer centre stage, it had been usurped by COVID-19.

COVID-19 has wrought damage around the world in many ways. It is understandable that it presently dominates much of our thinking. Among its side-effects has been the immeasurable damage to the tourism and hospitality sectors. However, in September 2020 Brexit was front page news again.  

This reemergence into the spotlight was based on the UK Government’s announcement that they would break international law with the Internal Markets Bill, thus changing elements of the Withdrawal Deal that they, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had themselves agreed with the EU. The move was widely condemned in the UK and EU, as well as within the United States. Questions were raised about how any other government in the world would be able to trust the UK ever again.

Campaigns to leave the EU and Johnson’s response to COVID-19 have both made appeals to a sense of national character. Among such traits is the idea of fair play, enshrined in expressions like the motto of the London Stock Exchange ‘my word is my bond’. It seems ironic then that one of the qualities that is supposed to make us who ‘we’ are could so readily be abandoned. Perhaps going forward questions will be not just based on how welcoming the UK is, but also how trustworthy.

English-Welsh Border sign on the A494 highlighting different COVID-19 rules © Hazel Andrews

Border watching has never been more important whether this be the safeguarding of the borders of our bodies against the Coronavirus and the placing of our trust in those around us to help keep each other safe, or the need to watch not only what the external borders of the UK will be after 31st December 2020, but also what the internal borders in the UK will look like in the years to come.

 

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Brexit and Tourism by Derek Hall.