Check out my latest book chapter (open acces on this website under Publications – 2023) about ethical tourism in relation to excessive consumption and philanthropy. The editors (Melissa Demian, Mattia Fumanti and Christos Lynteris) described the chapter in their Introduction to the book Anthropology and Responsibility (2023, see https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003332077) as follows:
The second contribution to this volume explores the theme of extinction and responsibility in tourism and conservation programmes to “save the rhinos” in South Africa. Stasja Koot’s chapter, “The responsibility to consume: Excessive ‘environmentourism’ against rhinoceros extinction in South Africa”, explores how a particular brand of tourism, “environmentourism”, is at the heart of the anti-poaching campaign in South Africa and neighbouring countries in the region. Based on the excessive consumption and commodification of nature, environmentourism is a form of elitist tourism that focuses on creating authentic experiences for tourists as “responsible” conservationists and global citizens. In the practices of environmentourism luxury lodges and resorts create a set of conservation experiences for the rich, invariably white tourists from Europe and North America, resting on the tourists’ fantasies as “white saviours”. These experiences steeped in racialized language pit the “good” and “virtuous” tourists against African poachers’ “brutal” and “immoral” practices. Moreover, in the “tourist” bubbles of high-end lodges and private nature conservations, tourists are encouraged “to save the rhinos” through practices of gift-giving and philanthropism. These activities, however, remain anchored within capitalist practices of exclusion, inequality, and racism. Rather than focusing on community projects, environmentourism rests on the “reductionist articulation of the rhino poaching crisis” (Koot, this volume), whilst obfuscating and depoliticizing the long history of racial and socioeconomic inequalities that continue to blight post- apartheid South Africa. Environmentourism, the author concludes, “legitimizes privatized, luxurious tourism and pushes for exorbitant consumerism and giving as a solution for social and environmental crises, often framed as a responsibility of this privileged elite” (Koot, this volume).