(from Tourism Geographies, vol.19, #5, p. 675)
This is the first of what is likely to become an annual special issue of papers devoted to providing critical and deeper insights into the tourism experience of particular places and types of tourism. The papers in this special issue provide a variety of methodological and conceptual frameworks in which to understand tourism impacts and experiences. Through all them, however, the emphasis is less on expanding theory and methods, and more on understanding tourism places.
This issue culminates the 19th volume and year of Tourism Geographies, and the motivation for this special issue has much to do with the historical evolution of the journal. The early years of Tourism Geographies had articles classified into sections titled Space, Place and Environment. Space articles were mostly theoretical in nature, Place articles emphasized tourism places (like in this special issue), and Environment articles focused on environmental topics related to tourism.
As the journal became more popular, the editors had to become more restrictive in that type of articles accepted for publication. We just did not have enough pages each year to publish all of the good articles that we received. This process gave privilege to Space/theory articles over Place articles, the latter of which eventually all but disappeared from the journal. (Environment articles were always rare.) However, we continued to receive many Place articles submissions, because that it what people think of when they think of geography and tourism. I like to think of this as the National Geographic image of our subject area.
In recent years, editorial changes from our publisher (Routledge/Taylor & Francis) has given us significantly more pages to publish articles each year. Initially, this allowed us to quickly clear out a large backlog of accepted, but unpublished, papers. Starting in mid-2016, we introduced “Tourism Places” as a new type of article and as an annual special issue. We did this to recognize the many fine articles that we were receiving that were not focused on interrogating theoretical and conceptual issues. These articles provide insightful case studies that made for interesting reading and could be meaningful for other destinations experiencing similar tourism challenges.
Tourism Places articles have also provided a resource for additional insight into other special issues published in Tourism Geographies. Some of the paper in the recent special issues on “Tourism Planning and Development” (volume 19, number 3) and “Theming Asia” (volume 19, number 2) were originally submitted as Tourism Places articles. Some Tourism Places articles will also be part of forthcoming special issues. Thus, we are excited about welcoming back Tourism Places articles into what Tourism Geographies does, and we hope you will enjoy the range of topics and places in this special issue.