Coastal tourism space in the context of climate change: discourses and strategies

Dominic Lapointe (Département d’Études Urbaines et Touristiques, Ecole des Sciences de la Gestion, Universite de Quebec Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Coralie Lebon (Département d’Études Urbaines et Touristiques, Ecole des Sciences de la Gestion, Universite de Quebec Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Alexis Guillemard (Département d’Études Urbaines et Touristiques, Ecole des Sciences de la Gestion, Universite de Quebec Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Publication date: 10 October 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to explore how climate change and the discourses about adaptation to climate change are altering the spatial development of the tourism industry in coastal destinations. The paper also identifies how tourist development and climate change adaptation can be combined to transform space and place, especially in coastal tourism areas.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a theoretical approach based on the concept of production of space, the study focuses on relational space, relationships expressed through representations of space and social practices. A case study method is used to analyze the socio-geographic processes at work in the adaptation to climate change in a coastal tourism community in Quebec, Canada. The analysis of the study utilized Nvivo with thematic textual queries.

Findings

The results reveal an adaptation process at work, based on a “hold the line” strategy, where private stakeholders choose to invest in defensive structures to mitigate the impact of rising sea levels and erosion. This strategy reflects coordinated action in the face of the risk and to protect high-value land property.

Research limitations/implications

This research illustrates how tourism and climate change adaptation discourses intersect. It also reveals how tourism development promotes the values and image of coastal space and how this can conflict with an efficient climate change adaptation strategy.

Originality/value

This research provides guidelines for coastal tourism communities, enabling them to design their own climate change adaptation strategy, taking into account how the different social discourses and tourism practices interact with climate change adaptation. It also provides some insights into the criteria that influence an effective climate change adaptation strategy.

Keywords

Citation

Lapointe, D., Lebon, C. and Guillemard, A. (2016), "Coastal tourism space in the context of climate change: discourses and strategies", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 8 No. 5, pp. 549-559. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-06-2016-0031

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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