Call for papers: Resorting to the coast

This looks like an excellent conference in Blackpool in June.  Download the flyer here.

From the CFP:

“Key themes of interest to the conference include:

·          Histories of coastal tourism developments and resorts;
·          Regeneration of coastal economies;
·          Social and environmental impacts of coastal developments;
·          Representations of seaside holidays in popular culture;
·          Worker migrations to coastal sites;
·          Beach behaviours and traditions;
·          Myths of the sea and coastal communities;
·          Coastal resort art and architecture;
·          Tourist coastal colonies.
Please submit a 300 word abstract including title and full contact details as an electronic file to the conference manager Daniela Carl ( You may submit your abstract as soon as possible but no later than 2nd February 2009.
Conference Organisers: Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change in partnership with the Institute of Northern Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.”

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Conferences update

You can view all the presentations from the 2008 ITSA conference in Shanghai, including mine, by going to this web page.  The theme of the conference was ‘Globalisation, mega events and urban tourism’ and there are a wealth of useful case studies, theoretical perspectives and non-western viewpoints on tourism and events available to download as powerpoint files – some in English and some in Mandarin Chinese.  Unfortunately, the files are listed alphanumerically, so you might have to have a dig through to find material you are particularly interested in.

The presentations from the excellent ‘Developing tourist destinations’ seminar held in Aalborg last month will be up on the conference webpages soon along with pictures and I’ll post an update on here when they are available.  In the meantime, you can view my presentation below:

Memetics and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

You can download the full paper that we gave at the ITSA conference in Shanghai by clicking here.   You can also view our presentation below:


I have just found out about Tourisimos, an international multidisciplinary tourism journal which is published online with free access under a creative commons license.  The journal is published by the University of the Agean and you can access content for free from the last two years of the journal.  the latest issue was published this month and contains articles on the impact of tourism in West Africa, tourist decision making and  a peace festival project in Korea’s DMZ, amongst other topics.

The global economic crisis as an ‘event’ within tourism

Bob Cotton OBE, the Chairman of the Tourism Alliance, has written a letter to British MPs today, calling for specific action to support the UK’s tourism industry during this period of economic crisis:

“…What is needed now is a comprehensive strategy for UK tourism to market its way out of the present downturn. In 2002, when the country re-built tourism after the dual impact of the Foot-and-Mouth outbreak and the 9/11 terrorist attack, a £40m public private partnership marketing campaign was successfully undertaken. This resulted in generating a million extra visitors who spent £500m.

What is needed is a similar campaign now. In our favour, this time, is the Olympic Games in 2012, which provides an ideal hook on which to base a marketing campaign – an event that is forecast to generate an additional £2.1bn to the UK economy. Strong, committed government leadership would make this happen. I urge all MPs to support the Tourism Alliance in its campaign for government to take tourism seriously.”

This seems to take a rather one-sided view of the impacts of the present crisis on the UK’s tourism economy.  Yes, the value of international tourism to the UK is immense, but we have also seen the negative impacts of a shrinking domestic tourism market on the quality of our tourism product, especially outside of our ‘landmark’ destinations, and also on communities where domestic tourism has been the main economic activity in an area.

Although it is important for government to plan for the impacts of the banking crisis on all sectors of the UK economy, the scale of the current crisis is very different from that of foot and mouth, where the tourism industry could reasonably assert itself as the main victim of a disaster beyond its own making.  The same conditions do not hold true today.  All sectors of the UK’s economy will be affected by the lack of capitalisation in the money markets – perhaps the globalised tourism industry more than some, but certainly less then others.  As happens whenever the economic wind shifts direction, there will be winners and losers.  It  makes sense now to think about what this pattern of relative advantage will look like for UK tourism and to plan targeted assistance where necessary.  A blanket appeal to ‘increase’ tourism numbers is unlikely to work in a climate where consumer demand will fall almost universally, but understanding potential areas of relative growth will maximise opportunities for the Tourism industry, when government support will be spread very thin.

I’ve started to think about this using Holger Preuss’ model of tourism flows for mega-events.  Conceptualising the current crisis as an event allows us to situate it in space and time and, although this isn’t yet completely possible, to draw boundaries around it – enabling us to talk about it as an event, much in the same way as an environmental catastrophe, sporting fiesta or major policy change.  Using Preuss’ model for events of this kind is stretching the definition of event quite thin, but not so far as to break it.  This allows us to conceptualise the tourism impacts of the economic crisis as generating particular kinds of tourist behaviour.  Some of the categories will be more appropriate than others and some many need re-naming.  As a first draft, I’m going to sketch these out below, but will return to them at a later date to see whether they have value as analytical categories that can usefully applied to tourism development.

  1. ‘Changers’ – potential tourists affected by the economic crisis who take a trip during the crisis, rather than at some other that they would normally have travelled.
  2. ‘Casuals’ – tourists who would have made exactly the same trip under normal circumstances
  3. ‘Time-switchers’ – tourists who make a new decision to travel during the crisis, rather than at another pre-planned time
  4. ‘Avoiders’ – Tourists who would have travelled to a destination, but instead either cancel or re-time their trip in response to the economic crisis
  5. ‘Extensioners’ – Tourists who extend their stay during the crisis, perhaps as a response to favourable exchange rates
  6. ‘Event visitors’ – Tourists whose decision to travel is motivated by the crisis
  7. ‘Home stayers’ – Potential tourists who chose to stay at home during the crisis, spending their money in the local economy
  8. ‘Runaways’ – Tourists seeking to escape the crisis through travel

Decisions made by tourists in each of these categories can be explained by reference to changing currency exchange rates, job insecurity or redundancy, career breaks or delaying entry into careers, loss of confidence in their financial security and those tourists who are financially secure and not affected by the crisis.  These categories could then provide a useful segmentation tool for planning tourism marketing and forecasting demand for particular tourist products.  In particular, a model like this could be of value to the domestic tourism industry.

Ref: Preuss, H. (2005) The economic impact of of visitors at major multi-sport events, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol.5, Issue 3, pp.281-301

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Is tourism the world’s largest industry?

In an MA class yesterday we were discussing some definitional frameworks for tourism and the tourism industry.  A common misconception (although not one held by these students!) is that tourism is the world’s largest industry.  You see this ‘fact’ repeated time and time again, but it does not really bear up to much scrutiny.  Click here for the latest World Trade Organisation figures on the comparative sizes of industrial sectors.

Alan Lew has a post here on the same topic, where he calculates the ‘size’ of the tourism industry and posts some text from a forthcoming book to support his view.  He places tourism in about 6th place, globally.

Developing tourist destinations

I will be giving a paper on the cultural regeneration of seaside towns at a conference of the Regional Studies Association in Aalborg, Denmark on 26-28th November 2008.  The conference theme is ‘developing tourist destinations’ and you can view my abstract by clicking here.  The full selection of abstracts and conference information can be found here.

© 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki,
© 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki,

Conference archive

I’m uploading all the presentations from our 1st annual conference on the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games to the conference blog.  The plan is to keep the blog updated throughout the year with links to information about the legacy planning for 2012 as well as links to new research in the area.