2009 marks the hundredth anniversary of the formal designation of the Costa Brava, a title and destination region that has become synonomous with the emergence and growth of mass tourism over the past century. Tourism to this coastal region of Catalunya has boomed during this period and has transformed the nature and fortunes of communities and towns that have become established as tourist destinations serving both international and domestic visitor markets. However, the region today faces many challenges including maintaining tourist markets against competing destinations alongside environmental concerns. The recent rapid growth and decline of property markets and second home, expatriate communities is a further key concern for professional destination managers, policy makers and researchers alike.
This conference is therefore extremely timely in its aim of bringing together researchers who share interests in coastal and resort destination policy, planning and management in relation to culture(s) and histories of tourism.
These research areas are also clearly relevant to professionals and policy makers in destination management and the conference will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to share leading edge ideas, innovations and critical thinking with the professional destination manager participants at the European Union of Tourist Officers (EUTO) Study Visit to Catalunya which coincides with the conference. There will also be opportunities for delegates to participate in parts of the EUTO programme.
Culture(s), histories and heritage, tangible and intangible are at the heart of the visitor experience of coastal destinations. At the level of policy making and planning, the importance of a resort’s unique and distinctive cultural attributes is commonly articulated and celebrated, at least rhetorically. The management of cultural and heritage assets for tourism is also a critical issue for destinations.
Inter-disciplinary research at the interface of the complex linkages between these sectors and professional interests has much to contribute to terms of critical, reflective debate on key issues affecting the relationships between culture, history, heritage and tourism at the coastal destination level.
Research in destination policy, planning and management also explores the competitive opportunities and pressures associated with the emergence of new and diverse international tourist markets. Such research makes a critical contribution in the development of creative and sustainable strategies for the culture, heritage and tourism sectors in destinations.