Touristification Impossible: Tourism development, over-tourism and anti-tourism sentiments in context

Touristification is a curious phenomenon, feared and desired in almost equal measure by policy makers, businesses and cultural producers, residents, social movements and last but not least, tourists themselves. Much current reflection on over-tourism, particularly urban tourism in Europe, where tourism is experienced as an impossible burden on residents and cities, repeats older debates: tourism can be a blessing or blight, it brings economic benefits but costs in almost all other areas. Anti-tourism social movements, residents and some tourists declare ‘touristification impossible’, asking tourists to stay away or pushing policy makers to use their powers to stop it. Such movements have become evident in the last 10 years in cities like Barcelona and Athens and there is a growing reaction against overtourism in several metropolitan cities internationally. This workshop sets out to re-consider (the impossibility of) touristification.

Frequently, it is understood simplistically as a process in which a place, city, region, landscape, heritage or experience becomes an object of tourist consumption. This, of course, assumes an implicit or explicit transformation of a resource into a commodity and carries an inherent notion of decline of value, from ‘authentic’ in its original state to ‘commodified’ after touristification. In other words, touristification is often seen as a process of ‘selling out’. But a School of Business change of perspective reveals the complexities involved. While some may hope to make touristification possible, it is sometimes actually very difficult and seemingly impossible. Touristification

The aim of this two-day workshop is to provide an opportunity to challenge the simplistic and biased understanding of tourism as a force of good and touristification as desirable, so common among destination marketing consulting and mainstream scholarly literature. It will equally question a simplistic but frequent criticism of touristification as ‘sell-out’ and ‘loss of authenticity’. We invite scholars, researchers, practitioners and PhD students to submit conceptual and/or empirical work on this important theme. We welcome submissions around all aspects and manifestations of touristification (social, economic, spatial, environmental etc.) and, particularly, explorations of anti-tourism protests and the effects of over-tourism. The workshop is open to all theoretical and methodological approaches and combines invited presentations by established experts with panel discussions and research papers.

Date: Tuesday 4 - Wednesday 5 June 2019

Venue: Gartree and Rutland Room, Charles Wilson Building, University of Leicester

Keynote Speakers

Professor Scott McCabe - University of Nottingham

Dr Johannes Novy - University of Westminster

Dr Jilian Rickly - University of Nottingham

Dr Julie Wilson - Universitat Oberta de Catalunva

Abstract Submission

We invite submissions of abstracts of up to 500 words by Friday 17 May 2019.  You will find details of how to submit this on the online booking site

Organising Team

This workshop has been organised by the Tourism and Placemaking Research Unit at the School of Business. For further details on the event please contact Fatos Ozkan Erciyas on

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