COVID-19 and Reinventing Tourism Beyond Multiple Crises

The Cultural Geography Group of Wageningen University and Research organized a 3-day meeting (17-19 July) for tourism geographers, many of whom were also attending the 2022  International Geographical Union Conference in Paris. The pre-meeting included a PhD Summer School that was organized by the Centre for Space, Place and Society, and a number of sessions that took place in the Kröller-Müller Museum and Hoge Veluwe National Park. Together with Claudio Minca, I contributed to a panel session on “COVID-19 and reinventing tourism beyond multiple crises” with a presentation on “Post-COVID biopolitical fantasies and the case of the Dutch ‘Pilot Holidays'”.

In this presentation we examined the realisation of so-called “pilot-holidays” on the part of the Dutch government, which consisted in the creation of enclosed experimental spaces on islands in Greece and Spain where tourists’ collective behaviour could be closely observed and scrutinised. We suggest that these “pilot holidays” represent troubling biopolitical exercises, meant to advance the production of purified and sterilized leisure environments by resuscitating forms of control and bodily management of tourist bodies, potentially opening the floor to new horizons of biopolitical forms of management of the social.