Tourism ‘bubbles’: towards new exclusionary practices?

The SARS-CoV-2 emergency has put into question recent patterns in international tourism. As a matter of fact, it may take some time before tourists are allowed to freely move around the globe again. Given the approaching summer, the tourism sector is increasingly concerned about whether, and eventually how, people could enjoy their holidays. Among other proposals to give new impetus to an industry severely affected by present-day forced immobility, tourism bubbles drew the attention of the SMARTDEST research team. In a nutshell: Australia and New Zeeland, which are on the right track to control the spread of the virus, started discussions around the possibility of creating a travel corridor – or “bubble” – to allow safe and healthy movements between these two countries. In other worlds, free movements would be restricted to tourists/residents of the neighbouring country only. As claimed by CNN, it’s not clear if and when this bubble could become a reality. Yet, the proposal is appealing to the point that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz insinuated the possibility of establishing a corridor between Germany, Austria, and the Balkan Mediterranean regions, isolating de facto tourism destination in Italy or Spain. A situation worth monitoring since new temporary borders might engender long-lasting impacts.

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