chapter  3
26 Pages

Tourism, mobility entitlements and the condition of freedom

This chapter conceptualizes the diverse and contradictory interpretations of freedom that have helped to frame and reinforce the right to travel and be a tourist. It considers how ideas of freedom shaped early aspirations and forms of travel under colonialism, paving the way for the emergence of a taken-for-granted culture of mobility in Western industrialized societies prior to and after the Second World War. As living standards and the capacity for overseas travel began to increase in the post-war liberal capitalist order, international tourism soon became a symbol of individual autonomy and freedom, as well as a beacon of economic modernization for ‘developing’ countries desperate to move up the ladder of development in the aftermath of colonialism. This chapter explores the transformation of international tourism from its association with post-war ideals, notably modernization and the economic progress of developing nations, to its association with discourses of market individualism and the unfettered right to travel. The discussion draws attention to the alignment between tourism and market-based renderings of citizens as consumers, and questions the degree to which the rights and freedoms to travel can ever be distributed in an inclusive and equitable manner within and across states given the strength and pervasiveness of neoliberal ideological thinking.