Tourism and Final Wish Making: The Discourse of Terminal Illness and Travel
This paper identifies a new discourse about tourism, that of final wish making. The website communications of charitable foundations whose dedicated purpose is to grant final wishes for adults with a terminal illness and their families were examined using critical discourse analysis. Specifically, the aim of this study was to understand how these charitable organisations construct, communicate and mediate meanings around terminal illness and travel for these individuals. Our study found that, promoted as a final wish in one’s life, tourism is framed as a transformational concept that is beneficial in the imminent time before death, as a legacy for life, and after death. Our analysis indicated implications around the memory-making potential of tourism and the differential power relations between final wish organisers and vulnerable individuals with a terminal illness. The paper calls for further research exploring the marginalisation of the terminally ill through tourism, but equally the potential of tourism to include the most vulnerable tourists in their final days.