CfP POLLEN 2022: “From Overtourism to Undertourism…and Back Again? Confronting Post-Pandemic Tourism ‘Regrowth’ with Postcapitalist Pathways”

Organised by:
Asunción Blanco-Romero, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona:
Macià Blázquez-Salom, Universitat de les Illes Balears:
Robert Fletcher, Wageningen University:


The ongoing COVID pandemic has dramatically impacted tourism in nearly every destination worldwide. One of the most striking of these impacts can been the way it quickly and decisively ended growing complaints about “overtourism” in many popular destinations in the years prior to the pandemic, instead replacing these with newfound concerns about the
negative economic consequences of the resulting “undertourism” produced by pandemic travel restrictions. Most tourism planners are now strategizing to manage the tourism regrowth already beginning or projected to begin once the pandemic further recedes. Yet these responses take very different forms in different locations: while some places aim merely to restimulate tourism to pre-pandemic levels or beyond, even further liberalizing regulation to achieve this, others appear to be taking the pandemic as an opportunity to proactively manage or limit tourism regrowth to forestall a return of overtourism and its discontents. But a less analyzed option is degrowth, through a reorientation the activity in the Global North in favor of improvements in equity, justice and collective well-being. Starting from the basis that tourism does not have to be a capitalist activity, it is proposed that sustainable tourism requires the acceptance of limits based on the commons and promoting them through post-capitalist forms of production and exchange.

In this panel, we explore how a range of prominent tourism destinations previously experiencing overtourism are situated within this spectrum. Taking documentation of the preCOVID debates concerning overtourism as a baseline, we explore how these discussions and associated policy measures have transformed in the time since in preparation for a postpandemic future. We ask how new measures introduced or proposed promise to address the pre- or mid-pandemic tourism impacts to which they are directed and what the likely outcomes of such interventions will therefore be in years to come. We also explore more radical proposals to reform tourism more dramatically away from the growth-oriented model long dominating the global tourism industry. The purpose of this call for contributions is therefore, on the one hand, to diagnose re-growth trends and, on the other, to explore alternative ‘spaces of hope’ to develop a roadmap of pathways towards post-capitalist tourism.

The aim is to develop a programme comprising multiple sessions addressing these different yet interconnected themes, and then to use these discussions to develop, within the next year, two new proposals for journal special theme collections: one focused on current proposals to address post-pandemic regrowth in destinations previously experiencing overtourism; the other focused on possibilities (both conceptual and theoretical) for more dramatic postcapitalist transformation. So in responding to this call, please also indicate whether you are interested to have your contribution considered for either of these collections (and if so which).

Please send a title and abstract (max. 250 words) to, and by Friday 26 November.

We will let you know soon after whether we can include you in the programme for official submission before the 15 December deadline.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s