This posting has been moved to the new Collaborative for Sustainable and Resilient Communities Blog, which is a more appropriate place for it.
This is the introduction to Tourism Geographies, Volume 16, Issue 3 (2014)
This is the third issue of Tourism Geographies in 2014 that highlights a major theme in the field of tourism geography research and understanding. The first issue of 2014 (volume 16, number 1) brought together new research paradigms and topical areas that have caught the attention of tourism geographers in recent years (Lew, 2014c). The second issue of this volume of Tourism Geographies shifted the focus to cultural geography, with a collection of papers that covered place images and tourist and place identities (Lew, 2014a).
Those first two issues, as well as this current one, mostly comprised papers that were submitted to Tourism Geographies and accepted without the intention of being in a special issue. Instead, the special topics came about because a significant backlog of papers had developed over time due to the more limited number of pages allocated to previous volumes of the journal. This year, however, the journal has expanded significantly in size (pages, format and frequency), which allows the editors to create special theme issues from the many accepted papers, while also reducing the backlog. This unique opportunity for special themed issues may not continue into future volumes, as the backlog of papers becomes minimal. However, there will still be many special topic sections in future volumes, both those that are intentionally planned and those that just make sense from papers that have been accepted.
The focus of the articles in this issue is global change. Global change incorporates social and economic globalization, which is arguably the most important process to have shaped the development of modern tourism since the nineteenth century, and climate change, which is likely to be the most significant factor influencing human behavior and livelihood in the coming decades. The organization of these articles reflects a traditional geography approach, starting with an emphasis on the physical geography foundation of human societies. This is seen most clearly in research on climate conditions and climate change as they relate to tourism phenomena, as is covered in the first set of papers. Rutty and Scott (2014) and Woosnam and Kim (2014), for example, examine how changing climate and weather are already having direct impacts on tourism activities and places. Coles, Zschiegner, and Dinan (2014) and Hopkins and Maclean (2014), on the other hand, shift the focus more to perception and behavioral aspects of climate change, which is where most contemporary tourism-related climate research tends to focus.
Looking at Nepal and Tibet, the physical geography emphasis is broadened by Nyaupane, Lew, and Tatsugawa (2014) and Wu and Pearce (2014), who take into account broader ranges of natural and social resources that impact and provide opportunities for destination communities, and which are also subject to persistent global change processes. Together, those two studies from the roof of the world provide a basis for further insightful comparative explorations of how tourism destinations negotiate geographic space (physical and social) in the diverse places of southern Australia (Carson, Carson, & Hodge, 2014), Kenya (Lamers, Nthiga, van der Duim, & van Wijk, 2014) and Lapland (Kaján, 2014). In the final paper of this special issue, Blasco, Guia, and Prats (2014) discuss the use of geographic information systems (GIS), the quintessential modern geographical tool, to understand how tourism spatially relates to the natural environment (in this case the Pyrenees), for purposes of monitoring and managing development and change.
Global change, including both environmental change and socioeconomic globalization, defines the modern world (Lew, 2014b). Travel and tourism contributes significantly to the pace and impacts of global change through its seemingly unstoppable growth. Understanding how destinations address these issues is key to meeting the contemporary and future needs and aspirations of tourism communities.