SYNOPSIS

  Tourism will never be the same and it shouldn’t be. The global pandemic brought the world’s largest service-sector industry to its knees, forcing a reckoning... RETHINKING TOURISM, a multi-part documentary series, will explore the rise of leisure travel and the accompanying realities of inequality and environmental damage. Now, many popular destinations around the world are confronting the question of how to build back better — to benefit the planet, industry workers and travelers themselves. This series will challenge assumptions about tourism and encourage audiences to reimagine its future.

Directed by Sarah Mondale
Produced by Sarah Patton and Sarah Mondale
Executive Producer (Part 1)—Eric E. G. Zuelow

Development was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now, we urgently need help to move forward with production.
Want to know more? Contact Us. Making a tax-exempt donation is the most immediate and direct way to support this effort. 

RETHINKING TOURISM: A MULTI-PART FILM SERIES

PART 1 - Pilot Episode: THE DREAM MACHINE

This film examines the astonishing rise of tourism, which began as an elite pastime with colonial legacies. By 2019, it had grown into a $9 trillion business, the world’s largest service-sector industry employing one in ten workers on the planet. THE DREAM MACHINE pulls back the curtain on two of the world's most beloved tourist regions, the Caribbean and the French Riviera to investigate the hidden history of how these destinations developed based on a system of haves and have nots, and depending on people of color. The film explores the historical connections between these two destinations, uncovering a larger story about the expansion of capitalism, U.S. influence and globalization in the 20th century that connects every tourist destination in the world.    

FINAL EPISODE: BOOKED UP

This film unpacks what the future might have in store for tourism. BOOKED UP visits popular destinations -- from Hawaii to the Caribbean and beyond — that are confronting the twin crises of a global pandemic and climate change. While “big tourism” rushes to return to business as usual, many community leaders, environmentalists and activists are calling a halt to what they see as an exploitative, extractive industry. Some are pioneering new ways to travel. Others are calling on the government to rein in the unregulated tourism sector, pointing to countries like Costa Rica that have made equitable, sustainable tourism their national policy. BOOKED UP highlights ground-breaking experiments that show us what travel could, and some say, must look like in the years ahead.

ON SCREEN PERSONALITIES

"We all want to be tourists. We love to travel. We need the revenue of tourism and yet that comes with a cost."

"Tourism reflects the inequalities in our society when it comes to race and gender and the economic inequalities in terms of who is doing the work ... who gets to be the ones that serve the tourist..."

" Tourism is the epitome of the new American Dream. It’s really the embodiment of American consumer culture. "

"People are starting to realize that the travel and tourism industry is at the center of a lot of the problems that have created climate change. "

"We now have an opportunity - and when I say we, I mean humanity in general -  to think about ways to do tourism better."

ON THE  SET OF "RETHINKING TOURISM"

Development funding for this film provided by The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom

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(Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.)

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