Moral Limits of the Market: The Impossibility of Balanced Tourism Development

Can-Seng Ooi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    Scholars and the practice community unanimously advocate sustainable balanced and sensitive tourism development. Engaging with locals and setting up public-private partnerships are frequently championed. This working paper introduces a set of lenses in the moral philosophy tradition and argues that the current pragmatic solutions to sustainable tourism development could not resolve issues of authenticity, equity, rights and fairness. There are three in-built moral limits in the tourism market, and namely: the market assumes it can price everything including culture and nature; the market distributes welfare through one's ability to pay rather than one's needs; and the market is structured in ways that benefit some groups more than others. The so-called solutions are compromises, and are tainted ideologically and politically. This work-in-progress is merely a starting point to a longer discussion on how narratives of balanced sustainable tourism development gloss over the contradictions in the tourism market.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCAUTHE 2017: Time for Big Ideas? Re-thinking the Field for Tomorrow : Proceedings of the 27th CAUTHE Conference
    EditorsCraig Lee, Sebastian Filep, Julia N. Albrecht, Willem J.L. Coetzee
    Place of PublicationDunedin
    PublisherUniversity of Otago
    Publication date2017
    ISBN (Print)9780473388195
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventThe 27th CAUTHE Conference 2017: Time For Big Ideas? Re-thinking the Field for Tomorrow - Dunedin, New Zealand
    Duration: 7 Feb 201710 Feb 2017
    Conference number: 27


    ConferenceThe 27th CAUTHE Conference 2017
    Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
    Internet address


    • Sustainable tourism development
    • Moral limits of the market
    • Balanced tourism development
    • Sensitive tourism development
    • Moral philosophy

    Cite this