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IGU Regional Congress 2013: Tourism between Tradition and Modernity, Beppu. Japan, 31.07.-04.08.2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joachim Willms [Managing Director]   

Call for Papers

International Geographical Union Regional Congress 2013

Pre-Conference Meeting

Tourism between Tradition and Modernity

Beppu/Miyajima/Okayama (Japan)

July 31-August 4 2013

Organised by:

IGU Commission on Tourism, Leisure and Global Change


Association of Japanese Geographers Study Group on Tourism and Leisure

Tourism between Tradition and Modernity

The past is a foreign country, David Lowenthal once wrote so famously. Indeed places of heritage, history and culture have formed important attractions since the beginning of modern tourism. Today globalization and improved mobility have entailed new geographical patterns and tourist flows. Still the interest for cultural tourism remains and moreover, it is increasingly identified as potential tool for facilitating local and regional development. This is supported by various conservation programs, among those most prominent the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Tourism also plays an important role in preserving or reviving traditions, while at the same time it is criticized as transforming them. New media and forms of communication create new images of the past and its places and transfer them to an ever wider audience. These developments are not without impacts and challenges. Hence, visits to heritage places, indigenous peoples and other sites related to traditional and modern cultures have to be managed carefully in order to sustain their base of attraction. At the same time, interpretation of tradition and heritage also has evolved as a contested topic, raising questions of who manages places, creates traditions, interprets heritage and transfers images in the tense field between tradition and modernity.

Against this background the IGU Commission on Tourism, Leisure and Global Change in cooperation with Geography of Tourism and Leisure Study Group of the Association of Japanese Geographers is using the occasion of the IGU 2013 Regional Conference in Kyoto to address these issues during a Pre-Conference Meeting. The overall aim of the conference is to discuss geographical dimensions of tourism in a changing world where tradition and modernity meet in time and space. We particularly welcome papers addressing the following topics;

  • Motives for cultural tourism

  • Globalization and cultural tourism

  • Dark tourism and heritage sites

  • Historical geographies of tourism

  • Spa and health tourism

  • Commodification and authenticity

  • Planning and managing cultural and heritage tourism

  • Cultural and heritage tourism as tool for local and regional development

  • Tourism and indigenous people

  • Event tourism in urban and rural destinations

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The conference is organized as a combination of scientific paper sessions and a field trip with the following schedule:

July 31: arrive in Beppu (by plane from Tokyo/Osaka to Oita, or by train)

August 1st: Guided tour of Beppu and Yufuin hot spring resorts; paper presentations at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University; evening: dinner at Hitparade Club

2nd: Transfer to the shrine island Miyajima near Hiroshima; paper presentations; walk around Miyajima

3rd: Guided tour of Miyajima; transfer to Okayama; paper presentations

4th: Art island Naoshima or Teshima; transfer to Kyoto

Call for Papers: Submission and Review Process

The symposium language is English. Abstracts (limited to 300 words) should be send to

1) Carolin Funck ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and

2) Dieter Müller ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

by 31 January 2013.

The abstracts will be reviewed. Because of time and room restrictions the conference

committee (the Commission Board and Local Organisers) is only able to accept a limited number of paper presentations.

Important dates:

Abstract submission 31 January 2013

Notification of acceptance 15 February 2013

Registration and payment 1 April 2013

Abstract format: please follow the format

Abstracts can only be submitted in English

Abstracts should contain no more than 300 words

Font: Times New Roman, size 12pts with single spacing

Title should be typed in in upper and lower case letters in bold and left aligned

Author/s names and institution/s and full address should be in upper and lower case

Presenting author's name should be underlined

Include four to eight keywords

No endnotes, references or frames/tables/figures are acceptable

Please note: Faxed abstracts will not be accepted


Based on the presentations at the conference, we will select papers for publication.


This meeting will be held as a combination of excursions and presentations. The reason is that we want to offer an opportunity to study about tourism in Japan on the spot, while at the same time promote academic discussion. Since Japan in August has a very hot and humid climate, we will limit our outdoor time to half a day and spent the rest indoors with presentations.

We will start with two nights in the famous spa of Beppu, where we will have an opportunity to compare the mass tourism spa resort of Beppu with the more fashionable, high-end resort of Yufuin in the nearby mountains. We will also walk through Beppu’s old town and see some of the entertainment facilities, especially the Hitparade Club. Paper presentations will take place at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, which commands an excellent view of the whole town.

From Beppu we travel to the island of Miyajima, which is famous for its red shrine gate almost floating on the water. Staying overnight in a Japanese style ryokan will allow us to walk through town in the evening when most tourists have left. We will also learn about efforts do diversify tourism through the promotion of nature based tourism and the revitalization of the old townscape. Presentations will take place in our hotel.

The third station of our trip will be Okayama prefecture with the famous Kenrakuen Garden, where we will stay and present in a city hotel in the centre. We will then cross over to Naoshima or Teshima, islands that have received attention for high-grade art tourism based on museums designed by the famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando and art projects integrated into the old towns. From Okayama it is less than two hours by Shinkansen to Kyoto.


Beppu can be reached easily by air (Oita Airport), train or ferry (night ferry from Osaka). If you also attend the main conference in Kyoto, it is easiest to fly in and out Kansai International Airport and take the train to Beppu (about 4 hours). From Fukuoka Airport it is about 2 hours by train. If you fly into Tokyo, try to get a connecting flight to Oita. Tokyo has two airports, Haneda and Narita, so you might have to change airports.


Japan in August is usually hot with day temperatures of 35C and nights of 25C and a high humidity. However, all transportation and buildings are air-conditioned, sometimes to the brink of freezing.

Rates / Conference fee:

We expect the final price to be around 60.000 Yen per person, and 55.000 for accompanying persons who take part in the excursions but not the presentation sessions.

We are currently applying for conference support; registration will open as soon as we have set the price, probably in December, and will be announced on the mailing list.

Important: These fees do not include travel by train/ shinkansen to and between the venues. We recommend that you buy a JR Rail pass, as singular tickets are very expensive. Rail passes have to be obtained in your country of residence before departure; they can not be bought after arriving in Japan. The JR Sanyo Shikoku Northern Kyushu 5 Days Rail pass will cover the whole pre-conference trip for 22.000 Yen. See the link below for other options:

We only have a limited number of single rooms, especially on Miyajima, so we might have to ask you to share a room at Miyajima even if you have booked the single option. Double bedrooms in Japan have separate beds (or futons if Japanese style).


IGU Commission on Tourism, Leisure and Global Change

The Commission’s specific is to examine the geographical nature of tourism, leisure and global change and related modes of mobilities. The Commission also aims to stimulate a deeper integration between discussions in tourism and leisure geographies in order to understand the current processes and outcomes of human mobilities and globalization. The purpose is to encourage geographical tourism research that would be influenced by the current development, mobility and sustainability discussions in human geography. The Commission has over 650 corresponding members from over 80 countries. The Commission has a web-site and mailing list IGUST, see: and

Association of Japanese Geographers Study Group on Tourism and Leisure

This research group is founded for communications between tourism geography researchers. Particularly communicating with overseas researchers is one of the major purposes of this group. Research of tourism and leisure is gaining interest not only in Japanese geography but also other academic disciplines. Discussions and exchanges of information take place with other disciplines as well as in geography. Major activities are holding session at AJG meetings, holding excursions at AJG meeting, attending research congresses around the world, communicating with other research groups and commissions of tourism geography and organizing research symposiums and congresses.

Prof. Dieter K. Müller

Chair, IGU Commission Geography of Tourism, Leisure and Global Change
Department of Geography and Economic History
Umeå University, Sweden

Dr.Carolin Funck

Association of Japanese Geographers Study Group on Tourism and Leisure

Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, Japan

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