The third EPRC webinar of 2022 was held April 27th (11:00 – 12:00 UK) over Zoom. Dr Cinta Sanz-Ibáñez – Researcher and Lecturer at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Catalonia, Spain – presented on the topic “Tourism Regions in Transformation: Challenges and agency shaping regional development paths”.
Sanz-Ibáñez shared insights on the development of tourism and how it can create socially constructed and specialised productive spaces which are complex and dynamic in nature. The main question surrounding her research is how this development is materialised in terms of intensity, characteristics and performance, and how it can largely differ from place to place. In this context, Sanz-Ibáñez argues it is of utmost interest for scholars, practitioners, and decision-makers to understand how tourism regions evolve over time, why such differences are produced, and what mechanisms generate them.
In particular, the seminar discussed two main topics:
- The role of trigger events and transformative moments challenging the existing structural characteristics of tourism regions.
- The catalyst effect of human agency in the configuration of more resilient, innovative, sustainable, and competitive tourism regions in the long run.
Reflections on these topics were done in light of key concepts in evolutionary economic geography, which provide a useful and powerful lens to better understand place-specific dynamics, strategic policy interventions, and collective learning processes. Sanz-Ibáñez utilized the outcomes of two research projects to illustrate how European destinations overcome vulnerability and reconsider the direction of their development paths after external shocks – such as the COVID-19 pandemic – or endogenous and selective moments that become opportunities for destination upgrading.
Cinta Sanz-Ibáñez is Researcher and Lecturer at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Research Group on Territorial Analysis and Tourism studies – GRATET (Catalonia, Spain). Her research interests are connected to the economic geographies of tourism, with a special focus on the analysis of destination evolution, tourism policies, networks, governance, and knowledge dissemination adopting evolutionary economic geography and related theoretical constructs. She has been engaged in research projects analysing destination change and responses to global challenges funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Regional Studies Association.
Future EPRC webinars will delve into topics of sustainability, regional policy and development. Please see the present schedule for this year here.