The POLITUR project presents an analytical proposal to analyse the new territorial strategies for managing tourism in destinations with a multi-scalar perspective, taking into account different geopolitical, economic and environmental contexts, and proposing as an information instrument the technological trail of visitors going to and staying at the destination.
Four thematic dimensions, interconnected and all transcendental, are taken into account to expand, from the perspective of the study object proposed, the existing knowledge on the capacity of destinations to manage their transformation due to the acting mobilities, considering social, economic and environmental sustainability objectives.
The dimensions are the following:
1. Social dimension
It is proposed to analyse the relationships between image, identity and representation of the place and mobility with the urban space design and social inclusion of destinations.
2. Political dimension
It is proposed to study the role of territorial policies, stakeholder networks, institutional structures, and governance practices in the processes of flexibility, adaptation and adaptability of destinations.
3. Technological dimension
It is proposed to discuss the capacity of technologies to favour the intelligent management of destinations by incorporating systems to measure the magnitude and territorial impact of tourism and the generation of useful information systems for its regulation.
4. Academic dimension
It is proposed to explore the potential impact of the research itself on the study object analysed in line with the current assessments of the social impact of scientific projects.
The POLITUR project is based on previous conceptual frameworks and results obtained in earlier funded projects led by different researchers in the team. It aims to build on previous work carried out by the research group in terms of advancing epistemological approaches, spaces and scales of analysis and expanding on prior lines of scientific enquiry.
The main objective of the research projects carried out by GRATET in recent years has been to understand the role of mobility as a fundamental driver of the transformation of the physical, social and cultural environment of tourist destinations in a world increasingly more interconnected. Thus, for example, the main analysis elements associated with the research carried out within the project previously financed by the MOVETUR State Research Agency (CSO2014-51785-R, IPs S. Anton Clavé and A.P. Russo) have been the changes associated with technology, with productive patterns and with cognitive and consumption models linked to information, images, perceptions and discourses of/on the place that tourism holds in the social sciences in the context of generalization, decentralization and diversification of mobilities. Along the same lines, the ATTREG Project (ESPON 2010-12, IP A. Russo) analysed the diversity of flows and motivations associated with the mobility of people.
Likewise, other smaller competitive projects have addressed issues related to tourist mobility going to the destination (Project PBR 00035 in collaboration with the University of Nottingham in 2010) and in the destination (Project 2007PIV10033 in collaboration with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The main results of the research carried out show that the physical, technological and semantic dimensions of human mobility – and tourism in this context – are related to the institutional, business and social strategies of the agents acting in relation to the spatial configuration (Arias and Quaglieri, 2016, Domènech and Gutiérrez, 2017) and that there are fundamental links between visitor behaviour, the spatial organization of mobilities and the transformation of places (Anton Clavé and Wilson, 2017, Gutiérrez and Miravet, 2016).
From an epistemological perspective, the recently developed MOVETUR project has also made it possible to progress in forming a complex conceptual and analytical framework that situates the analysis of tourist destinations at the crossroads of some of the most recent economic geography and urban geography approaches (Brouder, Anton Clavé, Gill and Ioannides, 2017; Richards and Russo, 2016). Likewise, the project has made it possible to contextualize the role of mobilities on a global scale (towards the destination) and a local scale (within the destination) in the processes of place construction (der Hoed and Russo, 2017), understanding the role of networks – global and local – and the geopolitical, economic and environmental contexts in the transformation of destinations (Sanz Ibañez and Anton Clavé, 2016, Santos Lacueva and Saladié, 2016). It has also been possible to carry out an innovative preliminary approach to the role of the urban morphology, functions and relationships determined by complex local microprocesses in their evolutionary trajectories (Arias and Russo, 2016). In short, the observations made have facilitated orientating the discussion about the effects of global mobility at different scales towards the analysis of their role in the construction of complex urban environments (Russo and Quaglieri, 2016). This has shown that is necessary to analyse the progressive transformation, now increasingly observable, of the management instruments of tourist activity in destinations, especially from the territorial point of view (Sanz Ibáñez, Wilson and Anton Clavé, 2017).
INITIAL HYPOTHESIS AND OVERALL AIMS
The POLITUR project is proposed as a means of providing innovation in the area of fundamental research on mobility, space and place carried out during the last two decades (and on the key role of tourism and tourists within it). It is also intended for POLITUR to be useful for orientating a new agenda of sustainable, inclusive and intelligent local development for the 21st century and for enhancing the role that tourism can play in relation to this social objective.
Specifically, the explicit objective of POLITUR is: Identify, understand and review the role of incorporating a renovated territorial dimension in the current tourism policies of the destinations as a necessary and fundamental factor for improving their prosperity and sustainability (environmental, economic and cultural), and discuss, evaluate and propose prescriptive systems that, with the support of the technological trail associated with the current culture of tourist consumption, serve to guide the decision-making mechanisms of the actors involved (public and private) and promote the implementation of effective mechanisms for regulating the activity in relation to the tourist use of space.
The following general hypothesis emerges from this general objective: The diversification and intensification of the population mobility dynamics and, in particular, of tourist mobility and its impact on destinations, are leading to the gradual incorporation in the planning, management and governance instruments of the destinations of territorial management elements beyond the traditional measures of attraction and promotion of tourism and valorisation of resources, products and experiences. The objective of these transformations is to promote the development of inclusive, intelligent, sustainable and responsible public policies in which tourism is a main element for ensuring the welfare and prosperity of the population. The technological development that accompanies the diversification and intensification of tourist mobility can be exploited by planning, management and governance bodies to promote better regulation of the tourist activity and uses in the spaces they visit, which are usually complex and multifunctional.
Therefore, the project proposes a new conceptual model for tourism planning and management in destinations and this is linked to technological development for ensuring an efficient, fair and responsible model of the relationship with resident citizens, making it possible to improve the regulation of the activity and, therefore, increase its sustainability, considering that tourism has become a main activity of the social and economic development dynamics worldwide.
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