Digital Technology, Tourism and Geographies of Inequality

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group, Digital Geographies Specialty Group, Media and Communication Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Julia Giddy, Fabian Frenzel, Ko Koens
Chairs: Fabian Frenzel

Call for Submissions

We invite contributions that analyze platform economy companies such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor or Uber with regards to urban transformation, neighborhood development, inequality and social justice. We also welcome papers that investigate a wide range of social media relating to the representation and reproduction of livelihoods and struggles. Methodologically we hope to attract applications of new tools for research, by working with big data analysis, netnographic approaches, but also more conventional qualitative research methods. Conceptually, the session is open for a range of perspectives to study tourism geography, by linking organization and business studies with geography, sociology, and media studies expertise.

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT TO Julia Giddy ( or Fabian Frenzel ( BY 31 OCTOBER 2018.

NOTE: This session is related to a special issue in Tourism Geographies. Not all participants in the session must contribute to the special issue but if you are interested, please note the deadline for abstracts: 10 October 2018. Please submit your abstracts to
Link to a more detailed description of the SI can be found at:


Tourism is undergoing major changes in the advent of social media networks and other forms of digital technology. This has affected a number of tourism related processes including marketing, destination making, travel experiences and visitor feedback but also various tourism subsectors, like hospitality, transportation and tour operators. Largely overlooked, however, are the effects of these changes on questions concerning inequality. Therefore, the aim of this session is to chart this relatively unexplored territory concerning the influence of technologically enhanced travel and tourism on development and inequality.

In the wake of the digital revolution and its emerging possibilities, early debates in tourism studies have been dominated by a belief that new technologies are able to overcome or at least reduce inequality. These technologies, arguably, have emancipatory potential, inter alia, by increasing the visibility of neglected groups, neighborhoods or areas, by lowering barriers of entry into tourism service provision for low-income groups or by democratizing the designation what is considered valuable heritage. They also, however, may have homogenizing effects, for example by subjecting formerly excluded spaces to global regimes of real estate speculation or by undermining existing labour market regimes and standards in the transport and hospitality industries. These latter effects have played a part in triggering anti-tourism protests in a range of cities across the world.

In this session we aim, specifically, to interrogate these phenomena along two vectors: mobility and inequality.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Julia Giddy*, University of Johannesburg, Uber, employment and social justice: The South African experience 20 12:40 PM
Presenter Julie Wilson*, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya / Open University of Catalonia, Soledad Morales*, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya / Open University of Catalonia, Lluís Garay Tamajón, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya / Open University of Catalonia, Digitally networked activism and the geographies of resistance in contested tourism spaces: Understanding the role of online collaborative tourism platforms 14 1:00 PM
Discussant Soledad Morales 1 1:14 PM
Presenter Antonello Romano*, , Platform geographies: socio-spatial inequalities in increasingly digitally-mediated urban ecosystem 15 1:15 PM
Presenter Sean Grisdale*, University of Toronto, Short-term Rental Platforms and the Emergence of the "Entrepreneurial Landlord": Findings from Toronto 15 1:30 PM
Presenter Deborah Che*, Southern Cross University, Rodney W Caldicott, Khon Kaen University, Sabine Muschter, Southern Cross University, Tania von der Heidt, Southern Cross University, Airbnb: the unsung “B-side” of the digital technologies playlist disrupting Byron Bay, Australia 15 1:45 PM
Discussant Jennie Germann Molz College of the Holy Cross 20 2:00 PM

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