On Monday, 24 October 2022 Professor Melanie K. Smith from the Budapest Metropolitan University (Hungary) presented the paper, “Whose wellness is it anyway? Sustainability and regenerative tourism in a post COVID-19 world”, as part of the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies on-going webinar series in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria.
In this webinar Professor Smith conceptualised and contextualised the complex relationship between phenomena such as tourist responsibility, health, wellness, reinvigoration and sustainability, all within a post COVID-19 environment. She observed that even though travel “makes people happier”, albeit in the short-term, it remains largely a middle-class privileged activity.
Professor Smith went on to note that tourism has often been internationally promoted and institutionally advanced as a “basic human right” suggesting that it should be made more accessible to a broader range of peoples, not only in the global North, but also in the global South. She also addressed various contentious issues within the tourism domain including: personal sacrifice, middle-class guilt, regenerative travel, responsible tourism as well as eudemonic versus hedonic tourist experiences.
At its core this webinar considered the ever-present question in the contemporary tourism domain of “How much are we prepared to sacrifice to create a more sustainable tourism industry?”.
The webinar by Professor Smith was very well received and was attended by over 200 participants from 12 countries, with the event garnering more than 3 500 social media interactions.
Professor Bongani Gumbo from the University of Botswana served as the discussant and provided valuable insights and comments from a global South perspective.