The development of seaside towns: domestic tourism in a core-periphery context

Posted on October 20, 2010

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I’ve been working on some new research with a colleague, Samantha Chaperon, which uses dependency theory as a framework for analysing the development of seaside towns. In particular, we’re interested in what light this research can shed on the new Local Enterprise Partnerships that affect these towns. We’ll be presenting the early stages of our research at the ATHE conference from 1-3 December in Canterbury, UK, and I’ve included the abstract for the paper below:

Peripherality in tourism has traditionally been a concept used to contrast remote, economically disadvantaged, often exotic locations, with the prosperous tourism generating core(s) of northern, western nations. Dependency theory highlights the tension that this creates between nations and populations whose relationships are constructed on the basis of inequality (Britton 1982). This ‘core-periphery conflict’ has produced global landscapes of tourism governance that reflect these inequalities (Jordan 2004).

There have been relatively few attempts to study the governance of domestic tourism within the context of core-periphery theory (CPT). This is a significant omission in tourism and governance literature as domestic tourism at the local level also manifests economic and social inequalities which can lead to conflict (Weaver 1998, Bianchi 2002).

This paper examines the historical and contemporary development of British seaside towns, and the governance of tourism in these towns from a CPT perspective, concentrating on three historical periods. Firstly, the mid 19th century in which their development was tied to the growth of British industrial centres. Secondly, the period in the second half of the 20th century when the growth of southern Mediterranean resorts presented a challenge to seaside towns and, finally, the first two decades of the 21st century in which attempts to regenerate seaside tourism in the UK have been governed by the spatial remits of Regional Development Agencies and the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (Kennell 2010).

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