Robert Hassink* - Dept. of Geography, University of Kiel
Mulan Ma* - University of Kiel
The emerging paradigm of evolutionary economic geography strongly focuses on the spatial dynamics of manufacturing industry. In this paper we explore whether two of its central notions, namely path dependence and co-evolution, can contribute to analyzing and explaining the spatial dynamics of the tourism industry. Based on the work done by Martin (2010) concerning path dependence and Murmann (2003) concerning co-evolution we develop two alternative theoretical models for analyzing and explaining tourism area evolution, namely an alternative path dependence model and a co-evolutionary framework of tourism destinations. By applying the two models to the evolution of the Guilin tourism area in China, we not only show their analytical and explanatory power, but we also reveal how these models compensate for the weaknesses of the traditional tourism area life cycle model developed by Butler (1980) in tourism studies.