Troubled Attractions

We are pleased to announce that our Tourism and Place Making Research Group are hosting a two day workshop, 'Troubled Attractions – Tourism in contested places.' We will be joined by leading experts in tourism and place making who will showcase their research findings.

Troubled Attractions

Host: Tourism and Place Marketing Research Group, School of Business

Venue: University of Leicester, School of Business

Date: Tuesday 5 June – Wednesday 6 June 2018

Time: 10 am – 5 pm

Registration: Click here

Call for papers

We invite a small number of presentations from researchers working on ‘troubled attractions’. Please send an abstract (no more than 500 words) to Mandi Jamalian by 15 May 2018.

We are pleased to be joined by leading scholars of tourism and place making. These speakers will give a input from their research, followed by presentations from additional contributors. We aim to curate 2 to 3 additional papers for each session in line with the themes of each invited presentation. The event is free to attend but numbers are limited.

Register now

Guest speakers


Some travel grants are available, presenters and ERCs will be preferred. Please contact us if you like some travel support. 

Workshop Summary

Even though tourism studies and research in place marketing have insistently emphasised the complexity of places, cities, regions and countries are nowadays still prevalently treated as fixed, static and simple objects of development models and practices. If significant advancements can be witnessed at a conceptual level or at an empirical micro-level, policies and practices seem still to be dominated by marketing gurus and consultants who keep suggesting easy recipes for simple places.(Kavaratzis, M., Lichrou M. & Giovanardi, M. 2017)

However, it remains difficult to pinpoint how places become attractions, how attractiveness is maintained and how it is lost. Dominant understandings presume fix sets of tourism motivations that meet a specific set of place characteristics, often understood predominately as resources and assets or rather opaque notions such as authenticity. Critical research has pointed to the process character of attraction making that involves a numbers of different actors. (Cohen, E. & Cohen, S.A. 2012).  If attraction making is understood as a process of construction, then differentiations can be made between actors and the intentions, modalities and outcomes of their attraction making. Importantly not all intentions and outcomes are aligned, leading to complex processes. While official place marketing and tourism authorities may push for certain attractions, residents may intervene to emphasise others, or to protests tourism altogether. (Colomb, C. & Novy, J. eds. 2016). Tourists themselves are active in place marketing from below, sometimes developing attractions against the intentions of urban planners.(Frenzel, F. 2017).

By pointing out the troubled nature of the attraction in research, we aim to address specifically recent events in Europe which have led to a new troubled attraction making processes. Thus, Athens has become the epicentre of political turbulence, whereby contemporary macro-economic developments interact with urban space/place marketing by transitional urban social movements. In Calais an informal refugee camp has, over the period of a decade, become a troubled attraction drawing in aid agencies, volunteers and other visitors. In addition, a ‘separatist wave’ is sweeping Europe and it has been producing manifestations of place complexity (Brexit, Catalonia/Spain, and recently Italy) with profound consequences not only for the identities of the places, but also for the tourism industry and tourism professionals. Other troubled attractions, such a Cyprus or Northern Ireland form further examples.

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