Tourism Shaping Places: Mobilities and Tourism destination evolution

Call for Papers

This URV / IGU Tourism Commission workshop in Catalonia, Spain, aims to discuss the ways in which tourism destinations can be transformed by the multiple mobilities inherent in contemporary societies, as well as understanding the urbanisation and other effects of these mobilities on the development, attractiveness and inter-place / urban competition of places at different scales.

The event’s theme – Tourism Shaping Places –stems from the general hypothesis that human mobilities at different scales, along with their interconnections and links to other physical and immaterial mobilities, are catalytic factors in processes of change in tourism destinations. Such transformations are produced not only from within urban structures, environmental conditions and technologies but also in institutional, socioeconomic, cognitive and cultural domains, generating new information, images, perceptions and discourses of places, while provoking stakeholder and agency-based decision-making processes and triggering tensions, solutions and redistribution dynamics that in turn shape the evolutionary trajectory of destinations in terms of path plasticity effects.

Different types of human, material and immaterial mobilities generate a diversity of organisational and strategic political decisions from a multitude of different agents. These intersect with complex, overlapping elements such as economic, spatial, temporal and cognitive behaviour that cannot be considered as extraneous to any changes in the urban structure of tourism destinations. This event approaches these questions from a multi-scalar perspective that includes regional and local spaces at the destination level and micro-local spaces such as tourism districts, tourism attractions, urban sectors and tourism centres. 

The event’s programme and content are structured within five thematic areas:

* Identification and analysis of multiple typologies of mobilities that are produced between and within destinations, ranging from the study of their structure and spaces and the role of relational dynamics in the destination’s configuration;

* Analysis of the role of networks of social and economic local and global agents in the evolution and the urban transformation of destinations;

* Analysis of specific processes of path (re) shaping of destinations in terms of changes of tourism markets, the sharing / collaborative economies in a tourism context, attraction of new residents, development of new economic and entrepreneurial activities and the evolution of the socioeconomic structure of the destination;

* Identification and analysis of synergies, controversies and conflicts caused by the confluence of the different mobilities flows in destinations and the associated uneven spatial development, social injustices and collective claims perpetuated by such processes;

* Analysis of the processes of signification, representation and cultural co-construction of place produced by the practices and narratives of tourists.

Within this context, the IGU Tourism Commission workshop in Catalonia welcomes paper presentations on the following topics:

  • Evolutionary approaches to tourism development and policy
  • Innovation, destination development and economic / spatial transformation processes
  • Destination governance (i.e. public-private partnerships, policy networks, destination management organisations, clusters and innovation systems)
  • Tourism mobilities and the collaborative/sharing economies
  • Creativity and social innovation as transformative strategies
  • Political economy of tourism and regional development
  • Cultural approaches to tourism and regional development
  • The position of tourism in overall strategies and plans for local and regional development
  • Tourism destinations and attractiveness for new residents and new economic sub-sectors
  • Cross-sector analyses: synergetic inter-linkages between tourism and related sectors, such as the creative industries, smart manufacturing and advanced services.
  • New perspectives on tourism politics: urban management and planning in the age of mobilities


Papers are also invited on any other aspect of tourism, urbanisation and mobilities.

The workshop is open to researchers and practitioners at any career stage with an interest in tourism, mobilities and urbanisation. It is organised by GRATET (Research Group on Territorial Analysis and Tourism Studies) at the Department of Geography of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Catalonia, and is partially supported by the MOVETUR project (funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness). 

The workshop will take place at the Vila-seca Campus of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili beginning with the opening plenary late afternoon on Wednesday 18th October 2017, ending after lunch on Saturday 21st October 2017.



On Saturday 21st October, there will be a ‘mobile’ field visit to the city of Barcelona, organised by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia). More details will follow shortly.

This workshop takes place in one of the major tourism regions on the Mediterranean coast – the Costa Daurada (45-60 minutes from Barcelona by train) – home to a number of major beach resorts (e.g. Salou, Cambrils, Vila-seca), historic cities (e.g. Tarragona, Reus, Tortosa), wine regions (e.g. Priorat, Montsant, Terra Alta, Tarragona, Penedès, Conca de Barberà), artistic heritage towns (linked to Picasso, Miró, Gaudí and Pau Casals) and natural parks (e.g. the Ebre River Delta, Montsant, Ports). 

This Workshop is supported by the “THE TRANSFORMATIVE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL MOBILITY PATTERNS IN TOURISM DESTINATION EVOLUTION” (MOVETUR project) MINECO (CSO2014-51785-R. AEI/FEDER, UE), the URV Science and Technology Park for Tourism and Leisure of Catalonia (PCT), the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and the Diputació de Tarragona.