Decommodifying grassroots struggle against a neoliberal tourism agenda: Imagining a local, just and sustainable ecotourism

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Neoliberalism and the Political Economy of Tourism, 2016, pp. 139 - 155
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© 2016 selection and editorial matter, Jan Mosedale; individual chapters, the contributors. It is not surprising that an advanced welfare state such as Sweden has significantly decommodified social policies and also demonstrates some of the community based ideals and best local practices of an ethical and socially just ecotourism. The areas covered by Swedish certification include animal welfare, waste and resource management, use of local goods and services and use of fuel-efficient and sustainable transport alternatives. There are also limitations on the capacities of local economies and communities to resist, challenge and in some cases robustly respond to the imperatives of neoliberalism. Alternative ecotourism development is not the same as alternative social development because the tourist/client is dependent on highly unregulated market forces to sustain tourism (Salole, 2007). The impact of market principles on small-scale tour operators and hosts cannot be ignored in the drive for profits. Nonetheless, global capitalism has a way of delivering paradoxical movements to the modes of profit making, competition amongst economic interest and production that reflect the neoliberal agenda. Our arguments here suggest that there is some dynamic for a countermovement from local operators and hosts to such economic globalization in order to drive forward decommodified agendas in ecotourism.
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