Cinta Sanz-Ibáñez, Phd Candidate* - Rovira i Virgili University
Salvador Anton Clavé, Professor - Rovira i Virgili University
In tourism geography there has been an emerging relational and evolutionary turn during last decades. Researchers are increasingly emphasising the prominent role of stakeholders' interaction in tourism development. The Tourism Local System approach, from Lazzeretti & Capone, has been a suitable model to analyse tourism destinations as socially- and locally-constructed systems. On the other hand, the evolution of tourism destinations has been one of the main areas of study in tourism geography. Although widely criticised and modified, Butler's TALC has been regarded as the mainstream until now.
To go beyond these paradigms and integrate relational and evolutionary thinking, this paper argues that concepts from Relational Economic Geography and the emergent paradigm of Evolutionary Economic Geography can help to advance research on Local Tourism Destinations as complex districts. The paper develops a theoretical framework to conceptualise Local Tourism Destinations dynamics from an integrated relational-evolutionary perspective, considering their evolution as a complex path- and place-dependent process that is determined by the interaction of district stakeholders in a certain context and their ability to adapt (path plasticity) or creating new paths (path creation).
The theoretical model presented aims to provide a framework for the analysis of the bidirectional effects between stakeholders' relational behaviour and Local Tourism Destinations evolutionary performance, as well as increasing the understanding of how and why destinations change over time, which is a valuable input to guide policies and improve Local Tourism Destinations competitiveness and sustainability.
This research was financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CSO2011-23004/GEOG).