Any realistic understanding of contemporary tourism in the 21st century must be grounded in a context of the dynamics of capitalist globalisation. Sociologist Leslie Sklair's conceptualisation of capitalist globalisation and its dynamics as expressed in his "sociology of the global system" (2002) is employed to understand the corporatised tourism phenomenon and explain the resistance that it sparks. This discussion explains how a corporatised tourism sector has been created by transnational tourism and travel corporations, professionals in the travel and tourism sector, transnational practices such as the liberalisation being imposed through the General Agreement on Trade in Services negotiations and the culture-ideology of consumerism that tourists have adopted. These institutions, agents and processes have created a self-reinforcing system built upon growth dynamics and ever higher profit accumulation. This system reaps profits for industry and exclusive holidays for privileged tourists, but generates social and ecological costs which inspire vigorous challenge and resistance.
Perhaps the most significant manifestation of this resistance is the coalition of the justice tourism movement which is seeking to replace the system of corporatised tourism with a more just, socially-concerned and sustainable tourism system. Such events suggest that the long-term future of tourism will be subject to macro-level tensions and challenges which forward-thinking tourism management will need to heed cautiously.