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Global Change and Economic Crisis in Tourism, IGU-Conf., Stellenbosch, SA, 05.-09.2010 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joachim Willms [Managing Director]   

Global Change and Economic Crisis in Tourism – IGU Conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa 5-9 September 2010


This conference is being organised on behalf of the International Geographical Union’s (IGU) Commission of Tourism, Leisure and Global Change and will be held at the Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Stellenbosch, South Africa (60 km from Cape Town).

Tourism is a global-scale industry with growing impacts on the environment, as well as profound implications for regional and local development. In many developed and developing countries tourism increasingly provides new opportunities, employment and economic benefits to local communities, many countries seeing tourism promotion as an expedient and relatively inexpensive strategy to attract foreign direct investment by, for example, showcasing natural areas and local indigenous cultures. Growing tourism activity in many places in the world is increasingly tying them to the industry and related cultural, social, economic and political networks. At the same time tourism is deeply influenced by its changing physical and social environments and larger processes such as global climate change. The current global economic credit crisis has, in addition, underlined the impact of shifting economic fortunes on the global tourism system.

Tourism has become an important policy tool for community and regional development in many developed and developing countries, not least of which in Africa. Tourism also has significant potential to influence and change the use of natural and cultural resources in regions. This has highlighted the role of sustainability, management and governance in tourism development and turned tourism not only into an economic but also a social and political activity that influences the wider environment in various ways. At policy level, tourism is more and more being viewed as an essential sector of regional and national reconstruction and development. In this sense the rationale for tourism development has evolved towards the idea of tourism as a tool for regional and sustainable development and, recently, to a relatively new idea of tourism as an instrument of social and economic empowerment and poverty reduction. Consequently, there are many regional and local development programmes giving prominence to the role of tourism in regional and sustainable development and empowerment. Currently, the decline in global economic output and growth has drawn attention to the potential vulnerability of various regions’ tourism systems to economic shocks. This has challenged the general conviction that tourism-led development is a sustainable and necessarily solid platform from which to develop local, national and regional economies.

Conference Goals and Objectives

The aim of the commission meeting is to discuss the relationship between tourism and development in the contexts of economic crises, global environmental change and changing tourist behaviour and preferences. The conference will focus on the roles and potential of tourism for development, sustainability in tourism and relations between tourism, environment and broad global processes of change at different levels of analysis, highlighting different types of “crises”.

The general aims of the conference are to:

  • Discuss the nature and roles of tourism development in specific developed and developing world contexts.

  • Examine the role of tourism in sustainable development and the impacts of tourism in natural, cultural and heritage landscapes.

  • Explore various ways of using tourism to achieve pro-poor development at different scales in the context of different types of “crises”.

  • Develop new approaches to use tourism for development, especially for sustainable development in crisis-type environments.

  • Analyse contemporary issues, practices, future changes and challenges (such as global climate change, economic decline or policy shortcomings) in tourism development.

  • Assess the role of tourism and sustainable development in the context of many different types of “crises”.

  • Clarify the politics of sustainable tourism in crisis environments.

  • Reviews tourism and gender relations

  • Appraise the positioning of tourism in unstable political environments

  • Scrutinize the effects of regional warfare and global terrorism on tourism

Paper Types

Following the ATLAS conference format the study group meeting distinguishes between A- and B-type papers.

A-type papers will be presented in a maximum of 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of questions and discussion. The sessions are expected to last around two hours for four presentations. During these sessions a wide range of topics is expected to be discussed (results of empirical research; case studies; descriptive studies; good practices, etc.) A-type papers will be accepted on submission of an abstract. Final papers are due one month before the conference.

B-type papers are based on theoretical and conceptual issues related to the conference theme. B-type papers will be accepted on submission of an abstract. Authors of B-type papers are invited to submit full papers one month before the conference. According to conventional methods of reviewing scientific articles, once the papers are accepted, authors will be invited to present them in an half an hour, followed by half an hour discussion.

Abstract Submission

A- and B-type abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by members of the scientific committee. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness; relevance to the theme of the conference; and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English.

Abstracts should be submitted to Gustav Visser ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) not later than 15 April 2010 and should include the author’s name, title, institution and contact address/e-mail.

Abstracts (300-500 words) should indicate background, theoretical/practical implications, methods and/or data sources, and the findings of the paper. The title should comprise be no more than 12 words. Please indicate clearly the type of paper (A- or B- type). Abstracts that do not clearly relate to the theme of the conference will not be accepted.

Receipt of abstracts will be acknowledged by email and decisions on acceptance will be provided no later than 30 April 2010.

Publication Details

An edited conference proceedings will be compiled. In addition, selected full papers will be considered for publication in an edited book provisionally titled “Tourism in an Age of Crises”.

Important dates and deadline

Submission of abstracts for A- and B-type papers: 16 April 2010

Notification of acceptance of early submissions: 16 April 2010

Notification of acceptance of all abstracts: 30 April 2010

Final submission of all types of papers: 5 August 2010

Provisional Conference Programme

The conference will comprise plenary sessions, normal sessions and a fieldtrip:

Sunday 5 September 2010

  • Welcoming function and keynote address

Monday 6 September 2010

  • Sessions and fieldtrip

Tuesday 7 September 2010

  • Sessions and keynote address

  • Conference dinner

Wednesday 8 September 2010

  • Sessions, keynote and closing

Conference Field trip

There will be a conference tour of the ‘Winelands’ including an evening meal organised on Monday 6 September 2010.

We are looking forward to hosting you in Stellenbosch

Sanette Ferreira and Gustav Visser

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