ATLAS Annual Conference 2025
Space, community, products, politics and evolutionary processes in the age of transitions
Vila Seca, Spain
June 17-20, 2025


Space, community, products, politics and evolutionary processes in the age of transitions

This conference aims at hosting wide-ranging scientific contributions and debates on the way tourist destinations, its geographies, products, communities and policy approaches have evolved and could evolve under the pull of global and local change drivers and how they need to adapt to such changes.

It means to address such questions as:

  • How do we analyse and make sense of tourist places as dynamic, evolving entities?
  • How organisational and production processes shaping destination evolution adapt to global change drivers?
  • What is the role of local communities of residents, workers and entrepreneurs, in confronting, adapting to or facilitating change?
  • How are politics and policies of tourism promotion and development constructed between different scales and agencies? How do we understand and qualify destination resilience?
  • What is the role of new technologies and digital worlds in bringing about more sustainable tourism and more resilient destinations?
  • What has changed in post-pandemic tourism mobilities, and how does that challenge or accommodate the need for sustainability transitions?
  • How are changes in tourism mobilities and spatial behaviour of visitors at and towards destinations influencing destination development?


As the world enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, tourism destinations are, perhaps more than ever before, in a crossroads. Global dynamics of economic, social and environmental transformation caused by climate change and the de-carbonization of economic activity in response to the environmental emergency have opened up new challenges for tourism destinations, while also intensifying other that were already latent. This conference aims to contextualize the evolution of tourism destinations within broad vectors of interpretation, including vulnerability, adaptability and resilience and intense change dynamics such as the effects on the destinations of the current global economic transition. Such dynamics, to which we can add the emergency situation and global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, unveil new additional vulnerabilities in destinations, necessitating new governance mechanisms to increase their resilience (Brouder, 2020; Gossling et al, 2020). This situates the proposal within the core of debates on globalization effects and their limitations at different scales and the vulnerability of complex destinations facing global changes and new economic transition strategies. It also connects the project to current challenges identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


According to Hall (2019) this situation brings the need “to rethink human–environment relations given the mistaken belief that the exertion of more effort and greater efficiency will alone solve problems of sustainable tourism”. Following Brouder (2000) “a path that leads to transformation in tourism can be realized if sufficient institutional innovation occurs on both the demand and supply side of tourism that can foster the emergence of new paths.” To do so, there is the need to investigate how tourism and especially, tourism destinations, are able to adapt (or in which cases they are not) to the present era of social, economic and environmental transformations. To advance in this direction, an important question to reflect on is how tourism destinations could respond to this global, intense and transversal transformation clearly driven by the new low-carbon imperative. Tourism destinations are, in fact, in the forefront of the challenge (Prideaux et al, 2020) either as generators of carbon footprint and as places affected by the social, economic and entrepreneurial change trends deriving from the low carbon transition. Following Gössling et al (2020), then, this conference will analyse challenges, vulnerabilities, adaptability and transformations in particular tourism destinations and explores the foremost role that agency-driven tools in digital technology, communication and governance domains may play in building sustainable, prosperous and resilient tourism destinations.


As stated by Colchester (2016), “adaptive systems are those that are governed by some control or regulatory mechanism that allows them to change their state in response to changes within their environment”. They are interconnected and interdependent, creating a continuously changing environment including reactive and proactive capacities that generate a continuous trade-off between stability and flexibility. In regional studies, this means “the ability of a region to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from a disturbance” (Foster, 2012, 29). The challenge for a destination is, thus, to set up governance tools in a context of constant change and learning, becoming resilience-oriented when thinking, preparing, acting, governing and performing (Fabry & Zeghni, 2019). As such, adaptability is a continuous process that from an evolutionary perspective must continually involve all destination stakeholders in a complex dynamic that includes societal change. This is truly important as, when dealing with vulnerability and adaptability, Short-, medium- and long-term destination evolution, transformation and resilience depends on the response to the identified challenges. Human agency, context (institutional, geographical and economic) and place path dependence play a role in the definition of co-evolutionary dynamics of destinations and the lock in/out towards new scenarios. Path plasticity, incremental change and path creation, as disruptive transformations, shape the adaptive capacity and resilience of existing complex tourism destinations (Clivaz et al, 2014). Importantly, destinations are understood as complex places with residential, productive, and social functions beyond tourism; all with co-evolving trajectories. The institutional environment and, by extension, the overall political orientation of the destination will thus influence its social dynamics and productive, social, and ideological relationships. This necessitates a nuanced understanding of the agency tools that destinations put in place in the technological, communication and governance domains that may produce substantial variations as regards its vulnerability and resilience. Empirical observations, theoretical discussions, critical insights and practical expertise could assist a responsible transition towards a sustainable transformation and increase resilience of destinations in the current social, economic and environmental scenario.



Brouder, P. (2020). Reset redux: possible evolutionary pathways towards the transformation of tourism in a COVID-19 world. Tourism Geographies, 22:3, 484-490.
Clivaz, C., Crevoisier, O., Kebir, L., Nahrath, S., and Stock, M. (2014). Resort Development and Touristic Capital of Place. Neuchâtel: Maison d’analyse des processus sociaux. Universite de Neuchâtel.
Colchester, J. (2016). Systems + Complexity. An accessible introduction to the new area of complex systems.
Fabry, N. & Zeghni, S (2019). Resilience, tourist destinations and governance: an analytical framework. In: Cholat F., Gwiazdzinski L., Tritz C. & Tuppen J. (eds) Tourismes et adaptations. Elya Editions, p.96-108.
Foster K. (2012). “In Search of Regional Resilience” in Weir, M. et al (eds). Urban and Regional Policy and Its Effects: Building Resilient Regions Brookings Institution Press. p. 24-59.
Gössling, S.; Scott; D. & Hall, C.M. (2020) Pandemics, tourism and global change: a rapid assessment of COVID-19, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2020.1758708.
Hall, C.M. (2019). Constructing sustainable tourism development: The 2030 agenda and the managerial ecology of sustainable tourism Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27 (7), 1044-1060,
Prideaux, B.; Thompson, M. & Pabel, A. (2020), Lessons from COVID-19 can prepare global tourism for the economic transformation needed to combat climate change, Tourism Geographies, 22:3, 667-678.

Keynote speakers


Conference Themes

The main theme of the conference is:

Space, community, products, politics and evolutionary processes in the age of transitions

We welcome abstracts in the following areas:

● Sustainable destinations: bringing together economic, social and environmental perspectives
● Destination change: measuring sense and direction
● Destination evolution: local communities, politics and governance
● Innovation in destination: management and experiences
● Resilience planning in tourism in the face of global change drivers
● Global mobilities and local connections: trends and impacts
● Destination transformation: towards new economic, social and environmental paths
● Role of technologies and digital worlds as agents of change for destinations
● Changing mobilities at and towards destinations
● Tourists’ behaviour, practices and performance in the construction of the tourist space

Conference Venue






Call for Special Tracks

The conference organizers invite proposals for organizing special tracks during the conference and encourage ATLAS Special Interest Groups and Chapters to plan meetings and workshops within or alongside the conference programme. Please contact before November 15th 2024 if you have any plans to organize a SIG meeting, a project meeting or a special track during this conference.


In addition, we received already two proposals for special sessions:

● one from Greg Richards, to organise a round table session on “A Quarter Century of Creative Tourism” after 20 years from the publication of Richards and Raymond (2000), and featuring some of the key authors in the field of creative tourism (e.g. Nancy Duxbury, Esther Binkhorst, Lenia Marques, Satu Miettinen, Rui Carvalho)
● one from Joseph Cheer, to hold a session on “Publishing for Impact: Editor Insights from Tourism Geographies” (it could maybe be part of the PhD workshop)

Abstract Submission

All abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by members of the scientific committee. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness; relevance to the theme of the conference and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English. Abstracts should have between max. 500 words. The title should be no more than 12 words. Authors should also indicate which conference topic their proposed paper relates to.


Abstracts should be submitted to ATLAS by using this form.

Important Dates

Abstract submissionJanuary 15th 2025
Notification of acceptanceFebruary 15th 2025
Extended abstract submissionMarch 15th 2025
ConferenceJune 25-28th 2025
Full paper submissionSeptember 10th 2025


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  • Abstract submission form
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