365 days of overtourism? Tourism calendars and the overpromotion of tourist-receiving destinations

Authors: Matthew Cook*, Eastern Michigan University, Jamie Sisty, Eastern Michigan University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Cultural Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: overtourism, qualitative methods, photography, calendars
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In late spring 2020 as Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the global tourism industry, British newspaper The Guardian published a startling long-form article entitled “The end of tourism?” (de Bellaigue 2020). Beginning with the cruise ship sector’s run of deadly horrors at the beginning of 2020, before much was known about the virus, de Bellaigue argued that as go the cruiselines, so goes the majority of the entire tourism industry. For some heavily overtouristed areas, that may not be seen as a negative situation, economic uncertainty notwithstanding.

For this paper, I worked with an undergraduate student to conduct a photographic content analysis of three 365-day tear-off-style calendars popular as end-of-year holiday gifts. The inspiration came to me when I realized that I had two such tear-off calendars from very different companies (one based on the "1000 Places to See Before You Die" book series by Patricia Schultz and the other from Lonely Planet travel guide publisher), exactly a decade apart. After a couple of months using the 2019 Lonely Planet calendar, I realized that despite the differences in the brands, there was considerable overlap with the 1000 Places tear-off calendar from 2009, the pages from which I happened to keep in the original box. Based upon these similarities and conversations, we asked: Do tourism promotional calendars contribute to overtourism? Are certain places, destinations, or countries over-represented across tourism calendar products such as calendars widely available in the United States or broader Anglophone markets? What major themes/types of tourism products were prevalent?

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