Research workshop to investigate tourism at troubled attractions

Posted by pm357 at Jun 01, 2018 12:35 PM |
Have you ever wanted to visit a favela, tour the battlefields in Vietnam, or even holiday in Barcelona? Find out why troubled attractions have become tourist hot spots at a workshop at the University of Leicester School of Business (ULSB).
Research workshop to investigate tourism at troubled attractions

Troubled Attractions

The ULSB Tourism and Place Making Research Group are hosting a two day workshop, 'Troubled Attractions – Tourism in contested places' from 5-6 June at the University of Leicester. The Research Group will be joined by leading experts in tourism and place making from the UK and Europe who will showcase their latest research findings. They will be looking most closely at unusual attractions such as slums, cities in political crisis and old battlefields, asking how attractions are made and why?

In recent years, Athens has become the epicentre of political turbulence, where economic developments interact with urban space and place marketing. 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). The Research Workshop will explore how these places have become tourist attractions despite their troubles and the profound consequences not only for the identities of the places, but also for the tourism industry and tourism professionals.

Dr Fabian Frenzel, Associate Professor in the Political Economy of Organisation at ULSB, is co-organising the event with Mandi Jamalian Hamedani, Doctoral Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant at ULSB.

Dr Frenzel explains why they are hosting the event: “We are interested in how attractions come about. When people think of attractions we often assume fixed place characteristics, like beaches, or impressive old buildings. But what interests us is looking more closely at unusual attractions, like slums, cities in political crisis, or old battlefields, to name but a few. We can see that all attractions are made, constructed, developed. This leads to our research questions: how is an attraction made? Who is making it? And why?”

Fabian and Mandi invited researchers from across the UK and Europe who investigate attractions, with the aim of bringing together a wide range of interesting cases and analyses. Fabian added: “We also hope to highlight the work that is being done in ULSB by colleagues in the newly formed Tourism and Place Marketing Research Group. The group got together last autumn and has organised a few internal talks. We then applied for some money from our Research Directors to organise this event. We compiled a list of invitees and also issued a call for papers.”

The workshop will see 12 presentations over the two days. Speakers will provide an update on their latest research, followed by presentations from additional contributors. Guest speakers include Dr Alena Pfoser, Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University; Professor Anya Diekmann, Head of Tourism at Université libre de Bruxelles; Dr Scott Cohen Head of Department of Tourism and Events at the University of Surrey and Dr Josef Ploner, Lecturer in International Education at the University of Hull.

Mandi explains why tourism research is so interesting, “Places become known for all sorts of things, for better or worse. But even superficially bad images of a place (conflict, trouble or problems) can turn into reasons for attention and potentially attraction. Tourism is not merely a shallow consumption activity but important issues, problems, etc. are discussed in its course and form the basis of bringing people in. There is an important lesson towards the power of tourism to speak to our understanding of the world. People can make their voices heard by telling visitors about their places: this can be empowering and uplifting, particular in places that face social, political or other difficulties.”

The workshop is still open for registrations. For more information please visit our Event Page.