Fake News in Real Paradise: Turning a Blind Eye to Untold Truths in Tourism.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Scott MCCABE, Nottingham University Business School, United Kingdom
ABSTRACT: In recent months and years, debates have been raised about the use of various media to promulgate misinformation about people, events and places for political and/or financial purposes, leading some commentators to hail the ‘post-truth’ era. Partially, this concerns the epistemology of journalism, the idea that truth is relative, and the spread of ‘fake news’. Yet the shift from traditional to digital media has opened up critical questions concerning the professional practices of the media industry and also the power of ordinary people to influence many others through social media. In tourism this is not a novel issue, destination information is always mediated. However, in today’s democratised media world, which enables information about human rights abuses, exploitation, modern slavery and so on to be disseminated broadly, there seems to be little appetite amongst potential tourists to destinations to understand or undertake action in the face of these alternative facts, or truths about destinations. This paper will examine discourses of truth in tourism by focusing on the specific localities which have continued to operate as successful tourism destinations despite conflicting media coverage concerning human rights and exploitation. It will apply the lens of consumer ethics to tourism to discuss how and why truths and lies are woven and/or filtered. The paper will explore how tourism can be mobilised to promote ethical practices.