Enlightened mass tourism as a 'third generation' aspiration for the twenty-first century
The concept of sustainability has dominated contemporary tourism discourses since the early 1990s, but it can be argued that stagnation is now evident with regard to the theoretical and managerial evolution of sustainable tourism as a relevant and viable model for the twenty-first century. This chapter describes how two dichotomous models of tourism development were articulated in the presustainability era but continue to compete for ascendency in the era of sustainability, as per a conflict-based model of dialectics. Both the ‘first generation’ mass tourism and ‘second generation’ alternative tourism models claim authenticity as pathways to and manifestations of sustainability. However, both are characterised by substantive contradictions that negate these claims – hence the stagnation. It is argued here that destination sustainability and resilience can be facilitated through a constructive synthesis of these two models which amalgamates the best characteristics of each. This ‘third generation’ synthesis can be contextualised and achieved through a resolution-based dialectical approach that situates the two models respectively as thesis and antithesis. Within this synthesis, several subsidiary syntheses are embedded which mirror and complement the larger amalgamation of mass and alternative tourism, and indicate specific strategies for the implementation of enlightened mass tourism.
The Practice of Sustainable Tourism: Resolving the Paradox