The hegemonic view of tourism is as a global panacea for struggling peoples, environments and economies (Smith and Brent 2001). This article begins by arguing that increasing worldwide risks from human-induced climate change fundamentally alter the veracity of this prediction claim. As one of the world’s largest industries, tourism is also one of the largest emitters of carbon, primarily from air transport. Far from standing apart from our carbon-dependent economy, tourism is quite profoundly a creation of that economy and cannot be an antidote to the very stuff of which it is made. Further, to the extent that tourism functions as escape from the ills of petroleum-driven life, it detracts critical attention and investment from home places and communities. The article concludes with a proposition for an alternative futures forecast based on bioregional tourism, or locavism. Characteristics of a locavist approach include the de-growth of the high-carbon, distant travel model of tourism and replacement with a low-carbon model that emphasizes local destinations, short distances, lower-carbon transport modes, and capital investment (both financial and social) in local communities.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mackenzi/13/