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Tourism as Urban Phenomenon and the Crux of “Urban Tourism”

Part of the Geographies of Tourism and Global Change book series (GTGC)

Abstract

This chapter addresses a central theoretical and epistemological problem in urban and tourism studies: the complexity of the urban dimensions of tourism. We identify three epistemological obstacles when studying “urban tourism”. First, “urban tourism” as element of sole cities is not the only issue of the relationship between the urban and the touristic, yet other kinds of urban places have been neglected. Second, tourism as genuinely urban phenomenon produces not only urban places, but also urban cultures and is one of the elements of the urbanisation of the seaside, mountains, deserts. This nexus has consistently been overlooked because of the concentration on cities. Third, many processes of urbanisation are tourism-related, be it historically as formation of seaside resorts or nowadays in the touristification of inner cities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A congress on “Urban Worlds of Tourism” (Les mondes urbains du tourisme), held in January 13th–14th 2005 in Paris, showed the difficulty to bring together specialists of the urban who still consider tourism as too frivolous a dimension of the city, and therefore for scientific investigation, and the specialists of tourism, who consider the urban dimension only through “urban tourism”, as if there was a “non-urban tourism”. See Duhamel Ph., Knafou R. (2007b) for the publication of the main papers.

  2. 2.

    « L’industrie des loisirs se conjugue avec celle de la construction pour prolonger les villes et l’urbanisation le long des côtes et dans les régions montagneuses » (Lefebvre 2001, p.152) ».

  3. 3.

    See the notion of « presential economy » (Davezies 2008).

  4. 4.

    See also Orvar Löfgren’s (1999) account of the practice of the Scandinavian beach in the nineteenth century as an « emotional space » based on urban middle-class norms.

  5. 5.

    John Muir, “The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West,” Atlantic Monthly 81 (January 1898) in Runte, A. (1979) National Parks: the American Experience, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press

  6. 6.

    The term “comptoir” is derived from the trading post, established by colonial organizations, such as the East India Company. It means an access-controlled area, delineated for colonial purposes with little local linkages. The “tourist post” refers to such places as holiday clubs and resort hotels since the 1950s, the European bathing establishments of the 1850s, and tourist developments such as Beaver Creek in the U.S. and Les Arcs 1800 in France.

  7. 7.

    See Lévy (2014) on different degrees of urbanness or urbanity.

  8. 8.

    The French original reads: “Les urbains transportent l’urbain avec eux, même s’ils n’apportent pas l’urbanité” (Lefebvre 1968, p. 120).

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Coëffé, V., Stock, M. (2021). Tourism as Urban Phenomenon and the Crux of “Urban Tourism”. In: Stock, M. (eds) Progress in French Tourism Geographies. Geographies of Tourism and Global Change. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52136-3_11

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