Mobilities Transforming Destinations  

Urban and regional policies, digital regulatory mechanisms, and place prosperity and sustainability



A GRATET* international workshop supported by the POLITUR project (CSO2017-82156-R) with the collaboration of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), the Department of Tourism Innovation at Eurecat and the Regional Studies Association.

Rovira i Virgili University, Catalonia Vila-seca Campus, 25th-27stNovember2020

*Organised by the Research Group on Territorial Analysis and Tourism Studies (GRATET) of the Department of Geography, Faculty of Tourism and Geography, Rovira i Virgili University


Call for Papers

This GRATET International Workshop aims to discuss the ways in which tourism destinations can face transformations created by the multiple mobilities inherent in contemporary societies, as well as understanding how urban and regional policies and digital regulatory mechanisms can facilitate a path towards place prosperity and sustainability.

The event’s theme – Mobilities Transforming Destinations – has emerged from the POLITUR project according to which the diversification, intensification and transformation of the population mobility dynamics and, in particular, of tourism mobility and its impact on destinations, are leading to the gradual incorporation of spatial planning elements into destination planning, management and governance instruments. This new spatial dimension brings tourism management and governance into a new domain beyond traditional measures based on the attraction of visitors, promotion and valorisation of resources, products and experiences.

The workshop aims to discuss the new spatial 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 footprint of visitors going to and staying at the destination. Specifically, is the workshop will identify, understand and review the role of incorporating a renewed spatial dimension into the current tourism policies as a necessary and fundamental factor for improving destination prosperity and sustainability (environmental, economic and cultural). The meeting programme and contentare structured within four thematic areas:

* Analysis and representation of the complex relationships that are established between the multiple typologies of mobilities produced between and towards destinations with planning, urban design and social equity.

* Analysis of the role of networks of the geographical dimension of destinations into current tourism policies as a necessary factor for improving the place’s prosperity and sustainability (environmental, economic, social and cultural).

* Evaluation of and proposals forprescriptive systems, including digital fingerprints and other technological tools associated with tourism mobility to guide the implementation of regulatory mechanisms related to the tourist use of places.

* Identification and analysis of indicators and systems for evaluating the validity of the solutions discussed through collaborative research on mobilities. 


Please note that the International Workshop will be held in face to face format in Vila-seca and Barcelona, duly applying all necessary safety and hygiene measures.

Within this context, the GRATET International Workshop welcomes paper presentations on the following topics:

  • Evolutionary approaches to tourism development and policy
  • Innovation, destination development and economic / spatial transformation processes
  • Destination governance, digital and technological tools and sustainable and responsible public policies
  • The role of moments in the evolution of mobilities and effects in destinations
  • Between overtourism and undertourism: from analysis to solutions
  • Regulatory approaches for tourism mobilities and practices
  • Tourism as social innovation and transformative strategies
  • The political economy of tourism, regional development and local regulations
  • The role of tourism in urban and regional planning for development
  • Politicising tourism mobilities and performances
  • Smart destinations: between efficiency and social justice
  • Reframing social impact in tourism research

Papers are also invited on any other aspect of tourism, planning, regulatory systems and mobilities.

Keynote invited presentations:

Professor Monica Degen, Brunel University London, England

Dr Monica Degen is a Reader in Cultural Sociology in the Political and Social Sciences Department at Brunel University London. Her research focuses on the politics of space with a particular interest in the ways sensory, temporal and emotional dimensions underpin urban culture and politics. Over the years she has been working on several international research projects with architects, local councils, museum curators and the general public to research the role of the senses in framing architectural practices, everyday life and culture in cities from Doha (Qatar) to Cologne, Barcelona and London. In 2016 she was awarded a British Academy Fellowship to research ‘Timescapes of Urban Change’. More recetntly she has been working on developing digital tools to capture the sense of place of cities and the ways in which urban environments are stratified by power relations, see & www.sensorycities.comShe has published her work extensive and is now working on a new book with Prof G.Rose (Oxford University) on digital cultures and urban experiences commissioned by Bloomsbury. Homepage:


Professor Yang Yang, Temple University, United States 

Dr Yang Yang is currently a tenured associate professor in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University (EEUU). He’s a Ph.D. in Geography, Master of Statistics, and M.A in Economics from University of Florida. 

His research interests lie in tourism demand analysis, regional tourism growth, as well as hotel financial and real estate analysis. With a solid multi-disciplinary education background, he is able to thoroughly investigate research questions in the tourism and hospitality industry and offer unique insights and perspectives. He has published academic papers in top-tier tourism and hospitality journals. At the same time, he has accumulated abundant industrial experience from various consulting projects. He recently created a Covid19tourism index:


New deadline:

Abstracts (300 words maximum) should be submitted before 15th September 2020 

Abstract decision notification: 30th September 2020 

Abstracts (300 words maximum) should be submitted before10thJune2020

Acceptance abstracts 8th July 2020


The opening plenary session will take place on the late afternoon of Wednesday 25th November 2020 in Vila-seca, and it will close in the evening on Friday 27st October 2020 in Barcelona. 


Please note that the workshop will be held in two different locations (Vila-seca and Barcelona). The transfers between the two places of the workshop will be provided by the organization.


The Vila-seca venue is located in one of the major tourist regions on the Mediterranean coast: the Costa Daurada, only 60 minutes away from Barcelona by train. Home to a number of major beach resorts (e.g. Salou, Cambrils, Vila-seca), historic cities (e.g. Tarragona, Reus, Tortosa), wine regions (e.g. Priorat, Montsant, Terra Alta, Tarragona, Penedès, Conca de Barberà), artistic heritage towns (linked to the lives of Picasso, Miró, Gaudí and Pau Casals) and natural parks (e.g. the Ebre River Delta, Montsant, Ports). 

Abstract submission e-mail address: 
Event website:
Registration Fees

The registration form will soon be available to download from the workshop website (, along with details of how to pay the workshop fee, and tips for travel and accommodation.

Important Dates 

15th September – New deadline for abstract submission 

30th September – Notification of abstract acceptance  

25th October – Deadline for Early Bird registration 

25th October – Hotel reservation with workshop discount 

Provisional Academic Programme 
 Keynotes: Prof. Monica Degen (Brunel University London) and Prof. Yang Yang (Temple University)

Chairs: Prof. Salvador Anton Clavé (URV), Prof. Antonio Paolo Russo (URV) and Dr. Julie Wilson (UOC)


DAY ONE (Vila-seca)

Wednesday 25thNovember 2020 

Arrival and registration  

Opening session and Welcome 

Inaugural Keynote Presentation: Professor Monica Degen, Brunel University London, UK

Welcome drinks reception 


DAY TWO (Vila-seca)

Thursday 26thNovember 2020 

Workshop presentations 

Coffee break 

Workshop presentations  


Workshop presentations 

Keynote presentation:  Professor Yang Yang, Temple University, USA

Bus departs to the city of Reus 

Guided visit: Reus’s modernist heritage 

Dinner at Reus 


DAY THREE (Barcelona)

Friday 27thNovember 2017 

Bus departs for the policy session in Barcelona  

Workshop: “Barcelona’s tourism policy: between reforms and new challenges”.

This policy session will be dedicated to the evolution and future perspectives of tourism policy and governance in Barcelona, one of the most important destinations in Europe. In this city, tourism as an agent of transformation of the physical and social environment has become an increasingly controversial matter. At the same time, it can in many ways be considered a laboratory of universal value for places that need to tackle the problematic relationship between attractiveness and capacity to absorb tourism and related mobilities within a resilient urban fabric. The Barcelona policy session will include presentations of local experts, policymakers, practitioners and social actors, followed by a round table discussion and a co-creative debate with workshop participants.


Workshop presentations 

Discussion, Wrap-up and Closing session  

Farewell drink

Bus departs for Vila-seca (via Barcelona airport for participants with return flights on Friday afternoon or evening).



Saturday 28st November 2017 


This full-day visit to the Priorat County will provide participants with an opportunity to experience first-hand the landscape of an up-and-coming world-class wine destination, and to participate in talks given by local experts about the visions and realities of a rural region historically moulded by multiple mobilities. It includes visits to iconic heritage sites and to flagship wineries, and a lunch at a gourmet restaurant. 

(Available at an additional cost of 75€) 

Additional information


The two first days of the workshop will take place at in the URV Faculty of Tourism and Geography premises in the town of Vila-seca, which is easily reached by train or bus from Tarragona, Reus and Barcelona.  The last day will take place in Barcelona (venue TBC).

Accommodation in Vila-seca

In Vila-seca, a special discounted rate is available for participants at the following hotel:

Mercure Atenea Aventura 4* (C/ Ramón d’Olzina, 52 – Vila-seca).  


Discounted accommodation rates:  

Double room (including breakfast)                                   €56.70 / per room per night  

Double room – single use (including breakfast)                 €49.00 / per room per night  



This special offer applies to reservations made before the 25th October 2020. Reservations made at this special rate cannot be modified or cancelled.  

Please, note that the local tourism tax is not included in this rate. This should be paid directly at the hotel reception during your stay.

HOW TO RESERVE A ROOM: To reserve a room at these rates, participants should send an email quoting the code ‘RSA2020’ to or calling 0034 977396278.


Travel to the workshop venue

The closest airport to the Costa Daurada is REUS, which is served principally by low cost airlines. BARCELONA EL PRAT airport is approximately 1 hour away and is also a good option.

About GRATET – Research Group on Socio-spatial Analysis and Tourism Studies

The research group on socio-spatial analysis and tourism studies (Grup de Recerca d’Anàlisi Territorial i EstudisTurístics – GRATET) at the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Tourism and Geography at the Rovira i Virgili University ( is a consolidated research group supported by the Generalitat de Catalunya (the Catalan Government) under the contract number 2017 SGR 22. The group’s research activities are centred on the spatial analysis of social and economic development processes and impacts of tourism. It is led by Dr. Salvador Anton Clavé.


Local organising committee:  

Dr Trinitat Rovira – University Rovira i Virgili  

Dr Cinta Sanz Ibáñez – University Rovira i Virgili  

Dr Fiammetta Brandajs – University Rovira i Virgili   

Dr Jon Olano Pozo – University Rovira i Virgili  

Ms Meritxell Fuguet – Eurecat. Vila-seca  

Mr Jordi Andreu – University Rovira i Virgili  

Mr Antoni Domènech Montaña – University Rovira i Virgili  

Ms M. Eugenia Altamirano – University Rovira i Virgili  

Ms Alba Viana Lora – University Rovira i Virgili  

Ms Alba Font Barnet – University Rovira i Virgili  


Local scientific committee:  

Professor Dr Salvador Anton Clavé (co-chair) – University Rovira i Virgili  

Dr Julie Wilson (co-chair) – Open University of Catalonia (UOC)  

Dr Antonio Paolo Russo (co-chair) – University Rovira i Virgili

Dr Marta Nel·lo Andreu – University Rovira i Virgili

Dr Òscar Saladié Borraz – University Rovira i Virgili

Dr Aaron Gutiérrez Palomero – University Rovira i Virgili