Between Threat and Privilege: Narratives of Tourism in Crisis
In this chapter we delve into the role of tourist mobilities in the propagation of the coronavirus, and the related undoing of dominant representations of exclusive leisure spaces and privileged mobilities. Specifically, we examine the collapse of the international travel and tourism industry and the reordering of uneven (im)mobilities in the weeks leading up to March 11, 2020. We draw upon the discourses and experiences of a range of stakeholders, or para-informants, in the tourism value chain, as represented in online news media accounts. Through a hybrid discourse and narrative analysis of digital news articles, our chapter highlights the biopolitical dimensions of tourism that became exposed through the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the tourist subject, and states and spaces of exception at multiple scales. Our analysis of the pandemic’s becoming phase in early 2020 points up multiple – social, spatial, and political – emergent tendencies in the global tourism system.