Obesity and tourism: A critical vision

Institute for Tourism
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
3rd Critical Tourism Studies Conference Proceedings, 2009, pp. 560 - 568
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The tourism industry in its product/service and promotion has neglected certain groups of tourists, but so too have tourism scholars and researchers. This paper focuses on tourism transportation and obesity. A study of websites and blogsites on the subject reveals that while the industry has been silent, passengers are loud and indignant. The research identifies that the topic is a broad social issue affecting passengers of all sizes. This paper explores issues of discrimination, stigmatisation and `othering of travellers who are overweight/ obese. A review of weight stigma theory introduces important frameworks within which we can consider the experience of travellers who are obese. By calling attention to the experiences of travellers who are obese and those who are not, we ask: whose bodies are privileged in the provision of the tourist experience? This study leads the authors to question why tourism scholars have not researched the issue of obesity as this is a `growing tourism market Such an omission also raises important questions about ethics and `Othering and how we conceptualise and research `Tourism.
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