Document Type

Journal Article


In this report I focus on encounter, and the manner in which tourism catalyses entanglements of people, places and identities. Antecedent were earlier theories of the tourist gaze, and critiques of tourism as neocolonialism. One response was the emergence of an ethical tourism industry - branded as such because of commitments to pay decent wages, respect local cultures and tread lightly on nature. While the ethical tourism industry has made strides on these issues, I critique its reliance on binary thinking, and failure to accommodate contradictions and variable ethical conduct in the moments of encounter. By contrast, recent work in geography has sought to explore the multisensory and affective dimensions of tourism encounters without recourse to ethical essentialism. In research on embodiment, emotions and sensory encounters, risks of diluting critique are weighed against opportunities to sharpen ethical concepts. A focus on encounter enables closer dissection of the moments and spaces in which power is exercised, and relations of care extended.