Raynale Harvey Lemelin Title: Entomotourism: Recognising and Acknowledging the Role of Insects in Tourism
Raynale Harvey Lemelin
Each year millions of people visit butterfly pavilions, insectariums and bee museums around the world. Elsewhere, thousands of peoples visit monarch butterfly congregations and participate in guided firefly outings. Also known as entomotourism, insect-focused activities can also involve the pursuit of specific insectsfor one’s specimen collection, deliberately attracting certain types of insects through pollinator parks or attending events specifically focused on insects (e.g., festivals, citizen science). Yet, despite attracting million of visitors, entomotourism has largely been ignored in the field of tourism. However, the exclusion of human-insect encounters is not unique to tourism studies for the social sciences in general and animal studies more generally have largely disregarded the appeal of these animals, thereby relegating human-insect interactions to the recreational fringe. By highlighting the popularity of entomotourism through multi-species ethnography conducted in Canada and Mexico, this presentation challenges the vertebrate bias so prevalent in field of tourism and within the social sciences in general, while also seeking to move entomotourism from the recreational fringes to the mainstream of tourism research.