Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference 2022: CFP: Beyond Recovery: Sustainable Urban Tourism

Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference 2022: Geographies Beyond Recovery

30 August – 2nd September, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

CFP: Beyond Recovery: Sustainable Urban Tourism

Dr Brendan Paddison, York St John University

Dr Jenny Hall, York St John University

In many post-industrial cities, tourism has become the panacea for renewal and urban regeneration, widely considered the saviour of business economies and an instrument for poverty reduction. Yet, the promise of sustainability and social transformation are often empty as policymakers have concentrated on sustaining tourism over supporting greater social, economic and environmental sustainability (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020). Overtourism, the climate crisis, the availability and quality of tourism work, and concerns regarding the capacity of communities to absorb tourism continue to highlight the unsustainable nature of the current industrial models of tourism. In addition, the pandemic has intensified social and economic inequalities (Jamal & Higham, 2021) and heightened issues of urban vulnerability (Sharifi & Khavarian-Garmsir, 2020), particularly for those destinations where tourism and hospitality have a major economic role.

It is within this context that this session explores the spatial in(justice) public policymaking and governance structures have on the ecology of urban tourist destinations and the inequalities this creates. As urban destinations emerge from the pandemic, striving to achieve a balance between development and sustainability is at the forefront of tourism debates (Rastegar, Higgins-Desboilles & Ruhenan, 2021). If concerns regarding the economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism are to be addressed, the unlocking of the industry is an opportunity to think radically about how tourism policy can be reimagined for a just tourism future. We invite contributors to critically and radically reimagine policymaking in city destinations through the lens of social justice and the transforming potential it holds for reducing the impacts of tourism.

This session aims to traverse disciplinary boundaries and welcomes contributions from all fields, which may relate, but are not limited, to the following themes:

  • Geographies of harm in tourism cities 
  • Mobilities and spatial politics of urban travel   
  • Representations of difference in city destinations 
  • Development discourses in urban tourism 
  • Sustainable engagement with communities in tourism cities 
  • Reflexive and critical modes of tourism practice in cities 
  • Urban governance structures and the role of the private sector in urban destinations 
  • Spatial justice and policymaking in urban destinations 
  • Urban regeneration and tourism 

Please send abstracts (approx. 300 words) with author contact details to Dr Brendan Paddison ( & Dr Jenny Hall ( by midnight Wednesday 23rd March 2022.

We hope to host the session as a hybrid model of live in-person and live online.


Higgins-Desbiolles, F. (2020). Socialising tourism for social and ecological justice after COVID-19. Tourism Geographies, 22(3), 610–623.

Jamal, T., & Higham, J. (2020). Justice and ethics: towards a new platform for tourism

and sustainability. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29(2–3), 143–157.

Rastegar, R., Higgins-Desbiolles, F., & Ruhanen, L. (2021). COVID-19 and a justice framework to guide tourism recovery. Annals of Tourism Research, 103161.

Sharifi, A., & Khavarian-Garmsir, A. R. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on cities and major lessons for urban planning, design, and management. Science of The Total Environment, 749, 142391.


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