JoAnna Haugen: Decolonizing Tourism: the gap between destination portrayal and what is offered.

Decolonizing travel means we need to recognize how colonial power still operates within the tourism industry today and dismantle the systems that hold them in place.

But decolonizing travel doesn't stop there: The tourism industry must also change the way it communicates about travel experiences. It must communicate more intentionally about tourism’s impacts. It needs to ensure content choices don't reinforce stereotypes or create inappropriate expectations to the detriment of local residents and the places they call home. And the tourism industry must work more intentionally with content creators – a vital bridge between the industry and potential travelers – to ensure this evolved story is actually shared with the world. Only once we've set about decolonizing travel and aligned marketing communications with this work will travel be safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable for everyone – and truly embody its potential as a “force for good.”

JoAnna Haugen

JoAnna Haugen is an award-winning writer, consultant, speaker, and solutions advocate who has worked in communications-related positions in the travel and tourism industry her entire career. 

She is also founder of Rooted, a solutions platform at the intersection of sustainable tourism, social impact, and storytelling. Through Rooted, JoAnna helps tourism professionals decolonize travel experiences and support sustainability using strategic storytelling.

In 2021, Newsweek named JoAnna a winner in the storytelling category of its Future of Tourism awards. She’s also been nominated for three Bessie Awards: Collaboration of the Year in 2021 and Most Impactful Piece of Writing in 2021 and 2022, and was recognized as a finalist for Trade Publication Feature of the Year by Inspire Global Media Awards in 2023. Additionally, she is a two-time grant recipient from the Nevada Arts Council.

An international election observer and intrepid traveler, JoAnna currently resides in Carthage, Tunisia.