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Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft

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How to Deal with Regional Tourism? Historical (and Interdisciplinary) Reflections

Cédric Humair / Martin Knoll / Laurent Tissot
Published Online: 2017-05-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tw-2017-0002


The paper advocates a regional perspective for a better understanding of tourism history and discusses historiographical concepts and tools of relevance for this understanding. It links the development of the tourism sector in history with regional transformation processes. The different ways in which tourism evolves in certain regional contexts can help to identify patterns and explain decisive phenomena like the sector’s vulnerability. The investigation proceeds in three steps: The first explores the links between tourism, regional change and historiography on a more general level, the second discusses conceptual approaches to tourism and regional transformation based in economics and economic history, hereby dealing with cluster theories and path dependency in particular. The final chapter guides a methodological discussion taking stock of the experience provided by a research project on the Lake Geneva region.

Keywords: tourism; history; region; concepts; methodology


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About the article

Cédric Humair

Cédric Humair

Cédric Humair is senior lecturer (maître d’enseignement et de recherche) of contemporary history at the University of Lausanne and at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne. His main fields of research are Swiss economic and political history, tourism history and social history of technology (mobility and energy). He was the director of a research program named «Tourist system and technical culture in the Lake Geneva region : actors, networks and synergies (1852–1914). His most recent publication in tourism history : Humair Cédric, Gigase Marc, Lapointe Guigoz Julie et Sulmoni Stefano, Système touristique et culture technique dans l’Arc lémanique : analyse d’une success story et de ses effets sur l’économie régionale (1852–1914), Neuchâtel : Alphil, 2014. (476 pages)

Martin Knoll

Martin Knoll

Martin Knoll is a professor for the history of European regions at the University of Salzburg, Austria. He is the author of a monograph on the perception of nature and society in early modern topographical literature (Die Natur der menschlichen Welt [transcript, 2013]). Martin Knoll has conducted research in 18th century privileged hunting, city-hinterland relations and most recently in the field of regional change triggered by tourism.

Laurent Tissot

Laurent Tissot

Laurent Tissot is professor for economic and social history at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland. His research focuses on the history of economic enterprises, the history of tourism, leisure history, and transport history. To name but one of his publications, his monograph on the English and the making of a tourism industry in 19th century Switzerland (Naissance d’une industrie touristique. Les Anglais et la Suisse au 19e siècle, Lausanne: Payot 2000) has been of particular influence on the scientific debate. Laurent Tissot serves as member of the executive board of the International Committee of Historical Sciences and the International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism.

Published Online: 2017-05-10

Published in Print: 2017-05-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 5–31, ISSN (Online) 2366-0406, ISSN (Print) 1867-9501, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tw-2017-0002.

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