Lesson from Italian local seminar – Turin, September 23, 2022

See the summary of SPOT project’s contribution presented during Italian local seminar. On September 23, 2022, students participating in the SPOT project’s study visit to Italy had an outstanding opportunity to share their achievements with stakeholders of tourism development in the region we investigated – Langhe-Roero and Monferrato.

We agreed during Italian local seminar that the sustainable tourism is not a goal, it is a way we can achieve other goals like protection of environment, equity, economic development (not a growth), social inclusion, and diversity.

Students’ reports presented during Italian local seminar

Meet the locals involved in a discussion

Claudio Boasso is the President of Serralunga d’Alba Proloco. Proloco is municipal’s spin-off responsible for local development, including tourism. One of the recent concerns of this agent, especially in the recent years when the tourism fluxes have been increasing incrementally, is to make tourism development more sustainable.

Aldo Buzio is project manager of IdeAzione consultancy company, contribute to orient the development of tourism activities in the area by offering services for local spatial planning. The company is cooperating with LINKS Foundation. For now, the focus of the company is to deliver tourism strategies for both cities and regions.

Giulia Caffaro is co-founder and project manager of Dimora Design Farm finalized to enhance and regenerate boroughs and small realities through immersive spaces sustainable tourism experiences addressing local development, cultural sharing and social inclusion.

Giulia Cerrato is member of the Association Fuori Via that has the objective of promoting the culture of walking, slow travel in all facets, as well as sustainable tourism practices through study and research activities, cultural and artistic design and promotion.

Giulio Mondini is Chairman of the UNESCO Chair “New paradigms and instruments for bio-cultural landscape management” established at LINKS Foundation and the Scuola di Specializzazione Beni Architettonici e del Paesaggio of Politecnico di Torino. He is Full Professor of Economic Appraisal and Planning Evaluation at DIST Dipartment of Politecnico di Torino. He coordinates numerous researches on various topics such as city and territory, environment and landscape, innovation and development, architecture and heritage, infrastructure and transportation, integrated systems for security.

Sergio Moscone is Major of the Serralunga d’Alba.

Enrico Rivella is a specialist of the Institute of Agricultural Food Market Service for National Rural Network (ISMEA RRN) with expertise on the topic of sustainable tourism development in rural landscapes, with particular attention on landscape and environmental values.

Enrico Rivetto is a local owner of vineyard Rivetto, understanding his role through a rather innovative approach.

Silvia Soldano represents LINKS Foundation and was part of the technical advisory team preparing the application of the case study area to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Marco Valle is a project manager in LINKS Foundation responsible for cultural heritage and regional-urban development.

Lesson from Portuguese local seminar – Peniche, May 13, 2022

We were impressed by the quality of work presented by our students during Portuguese local seminar. This multiplier event was held in Peniche on May 13, 2022. The aim of the local seminar was to present the results of the SPOT study tour to Portugal. The achievements of a students’ work during the intensive learning programme in Peniche were presented to the local community and now – after review and revision – are available on the SPOT project website.

We have learned from our students that the concept of sustainability should be changed. The focus on economic growth must be replaced by the idea of a great experience that every stakeholder should have in terms of development.

We understand that spatial planning is strictly connected to strategic planning. Everything what we plan is somehow embedded in a space and places. On the other hand, timeline for different strategic goals is requested. When planning, resources and tools of main stakeholders influencing solutions should be clearly defined. Consequences of renunciation should be identified as well when planning.

It must be emphasized that any plan won’t be successful without dialogue between stakeholders, at least local community and authorities. This makes participatory spatial planning extremely demanded. Destination Management Organization might become a perfect forum for that kind of dialogue. On the other hand, we have some limits of public participation. Spatial planning of archeological sites or ecological precious areas cannot be negotiated.

When proposing solutions and defining actionable policy recommendations, interests and needs of all stakeholders should be taken into consideration. As an example, most of our students’ groups identified problem of missing or inefficient public transportation system. When developing one it must target problems of both inhabitants and tourists. It is better to be sustainable by using existing potential of the place but not creating big investment projects.

When summarising Portuguese local seminar our students noticed that even small steps undertaken by local communities contribute to global change and allow to solve global threats.

Students’ reports aiming issues of sustainable tourism development in the area of Baleal Beach:

Special issue of European Spatial Research and Policy: Call for Papers

Special issue of ESR&P

European Spatial Research and Policy is an international review concerned with the problems of social and economic space organisation at the local, regional, and supranational levels. The journal comprising both theoretical and empirical aspects of spatial analyses is aimed at academics, policy-makers, and practitioners interested in a broad range of spatial development issues in contemporary Europe. The scope of the journal is defined by the concepts of space, environment, society, and economy rather than by the names of specific disciplines. Its main areas of interest include, i.a., regional policy, spatial planning, European integration processes, locational studies, labour market developments, foreign investments, environmental problems, and other crucial issues influencing the shape of contemporary and future European space.

The ESR&P journal is indexed in Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index and SciVerse Scopus. All the articles are freely available online on an open-license CC BY-NC-ND basis. The journal does not have article processing charges (APCs).

SPOT project proudly announce the call for papers for the special issue of European Spatial Research and Policy journal. This special issue will be recognized as one of project’s outputs (European Handbook of Tourism Spatial Planning).

Special issue on “Sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations”

Tourism and its related activities are, by definition, a spatial complex of processes that shapes the tourism landscape and affect social, economic, cultural, and political relations that characterise a specific place or territory (Shaw and Williams, 2004). In this light, sustainable tourism, through its cross-sectoral and multi-scalar nature, contributes to promote economic growth and development, creates jobs, spurs sustainable agriculture, promotes inclusiveness, engages excluded people, promotes investments in clean energy sources and regeneration, preserves cultural and natural heritage, adopts sustainable consumption and production modes, plays a leading role in the global response to climate change and fosters multicultural and inter-faith tolerance and understanding (UN-WTO 2019).

The essence of sustainable tourism (and, consequently, of sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations) inherently concerns the social and educational value of cultural heritage. More specifically, sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations requires the promotion of civic and social responsibility for tourism destinations and regions among policy-makers and practitioners, as well as among the civil society, market actors, and the research community in its broadest sense. In this light, to be sustainable tourism planning needs to be developed as a participatory, inclusive and intercultural activity, in so doing contributing to economic development while keeping in mind the EU’s overarching objective as social, economic and territorial cohesion (TA2030). Thus, European values of gender and age equality, non-discrimination, promotion of diversity, and counteracting violence and racism should be included, together with more market-oriented logics aiming at the valorisation of tourism destinations, as well as approaches focusing on the protection and conservation of the natural, landscape, and cultural heritage they host on their territory.

However, the tourism commons frequently experience problems of mismanagement, including a lack of strategic planning, and excessive and inconsistent investments (Briassoulis, 2002). Urban regeneration, or urban renewal/redevelopment, is a significant challenge in tourism destinations as well. On the one hand, local assets ought to be recognised and effectively incorporated in a development project. That applies to, for instance, less obvious elements of cultural heritage that are prone to sustaining irreversible losses (Pielesiak, 2015). On the other hand, though, investments should serve the purpose of raising local communities’ environmental, cultural, social, and economic awareness (Leśniewska-Napierała and Napierała, 2017). Hence, a European approach to innovative, sustainable, and inclusive tourism planning should be developed and matched to the goals of sustainable Europe (TA2030).

To add further complexity to this framework, one should notice that the concept of sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations implies that (1) a specific set of institutions and instruments exists and they are dedicated to sustainable spatial planning, and that (2) these institutions and instruments include, more or less explicitly, tourism and the related dynamics in their scope of activity. While this condition may appear tautological to some, recent comparative studies focusing on spatial governance and planning systems around Europe have shown that it is not necessarily the case, with tourism issues constituting the explicit focus of spatial planning activities only in few countries or regions, while in all the remaining contexts these issues are encompassed by planning activities in an implicit manner at best (ESPON COMPASS, 2018). In these terms, the role of regional and local tourism planning institutions, actions, and practices cannot be overstated, and the same stands true for recent, more innovative yet episodic “smart” tourism spatial planning activities that incorporate the latest technology to effectively manage tourist flows and all the resources that tourism destinations offer (Leśniewska-Napierała et al., 2020).

Considering the above issues, it seems clear how any analysis of the spatial planning of tourism destinations should engage with multiple complexities. On the one hand, the characteristics of the overarching regional development multi-level governance framework, and spatial planning systems that characterise the countries and regions under investigation should be considered (Berisha et al., 2021; Cotella et al., 2021). On the other hand, additional, more nuanced aspects should be studied, as the actions of destination management organisations, regional and local authorities, various tourism enterprises, NGOs and chambers of commerce related to tourism should be included.

Potential topics

This special issue aims at bringing together these multiple scales of analysis, from the framing of spatial planning activities dedicated to the management and regulation of development dynamics in tourism destinations, to actual actions and interactions of public and private stakeholders on the ground, and the impact that the different relations between the state, the market and the civil society specific for each local context may have on them.

To this end, the special issue welcomes contributions focusing on a rather varied set of themes that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • theoretical and conceptual contributions focusing on the implementation of concepts, ideas, and core values of European spatial policy, including territorial cohesion and spatial justice, into sustainable tourism spatial planning;
  • methodological advances in capturing the scope and scale of the different forms of tourism spatial planning;
  • contributions showing how spatial governance and planning systems and practices encompass tourism destinations in their scope and action in selected countries and regions;
  • empirical contributions to tourism spatial planning in a context of sustainable development;
  • place and social practices in European tourism spatial planning;
  • educational aspect of tourism spatial planning;
  • good practices and guidance available at the national, regional, and local levels;
  • urban regeneration and revitalisation process in tourism destinations;
  • different geographical contexts of tourism spatial planning.

Interdisciplinary studies are more than welcome, and so are comparative contributions that consider and synoptically analyse more than one context or case.

This special issue will be edited by

Key deadlines

Abstract submission (300-500 words): 28th February 2022;

Full paper submission: 1st May 2022;

Issue due to be published: by the end of December 2022.

Additional information

If you are interested in submitting a paper to this special issue of ESR&P, please send your abstract (300-500 words) by the indicated deadline to Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała (katarzyna.lesniewska@geo.uni.lodz.pl).

Abstract submission should contain the title of the paper, contact person and email address, authors and their affiliations. The abstract should describe: the goal of the paper, methods (obligatory for empirical articles only), findings, and the originality/value of the paper.

ESR&P follows a double-blind peer-review process and upholds high standards of review. Once your paper is assessed as acceptable by the editors, it is next subjected to a double-blind peer review by independent, anonymous referees.


  • BERISHA, E., COTELLA, G., JANIN RIVOLIN, U., and SOLLY, A. (2021), ‘Spatial governance and planning systems in the public control of spatial development: a European typology’, European Planning Studies, 29(1), 181–200. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2020.1726295
  • BRIASSOULIS, H. (2002), ‘Sustainable Tourism and the Question of the Commons’, Annals of Tourism Research, 29(4), 1065–1085.
  • CEC – Commission of the European Communities (2021), Territorial Agenda 2030. A future for all places, Brussels: Office for the Official Pubblications of the European Communities. Available at: https://territorialagenda.eu/
  • COTELLA, G., RIVOLIN, U. J., PEDE, E., and PIOLETTI, M. (2021), ‘Multi-level regional development governance: A European typology’, European Spatial Research and Policy, 28(1), 201–221. https://doi.org/10.18778/1231-1952.28.1.11
  • ESPON (2018), COMPASS – Comparative Analysis or Territorial Governance and Spatial Planning Systems in Europe. Final Report, Luxembourg. ESPON EGTC.
  • TE2030. Communication from The Commission to The European Parliament, The Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and The Committee of The Regions. Next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability. European Commission. (2016). COM/2016/0739.
  • LEŚNIEWSKA-NAPIERAŁA, K., and NAPIERAŁA, T. (2017), ‘The Function of Hotels in Revitalizing Rural Areas: Case Studies in Pomerania Province’, Turyzm/Tourism, 27(2), 63–72. https://doi.org/10.1515/tour-2017-0014
  • LEŚNIEWSKA-NAPIERAŁA, K., NAPIERAŁA, T., BIRDIR, K., and SAHILLI BIRDIR, S. (2020), ‘Smart Tourism Planning: Geographical Evidence From Poland’, [in:] E. ÇELTEK (ed.), Handbook of Research on Smart Technology Applications in the Tourism Industry (473–487). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-1989-9.ch022
  • PIELESIAK, I. (2015), ‘Managing «ordinary heritage» in Poland: Łódź and its post-industrial legacy’, European Spatial Research and Policy, 22(2), 73–92. https://doi.org/10.1515/esrp-2015-0026
  • SHAW, G., and WILLIAMS, A.M. (2004), Tourism and tourism spaces, Sage.
  • UN-WTO. (2019). The Tourism for Sustainable Development Goals Platform. http://tourism4sdgs.org/

COVID-19 impact on tourism: case of Polish hotels

COVID-19 pandemic started just three months after SPOT project kick-off meeting. Pandemic outbreak triggered a major global crisis affecting various human activities, including travel and tourism. It also influenced SPOT project as already planned mobilities of students and researchers had to be postponed or even cancelled. As thus, our first focus was on delivering analysis of evidenced and expected impact of COVID-19 pandemic on tourism. Hotels are recognized as a core element of tourism infrastructure. In consequence, hotels are of particular interest of destination management organizations and institutions responsible for spatial planning. This was a reason we decided to consider the situation of hotel industry during pandemic times. Urban hotel markets in Poland were our case.

Negative COVID-19 impact on Polish urban hotel markets were more significant in less internationalized and less populated destinations. Thus, in the short-term perspective, the recovery of hotel industry would be much easier, reflecting only an epidemic in the national context. Hotels located in destinations targeting domestic tourism mainly are less influenced by international crises. On the contrary, recovery of the investigated industry in more internationalized and more populated destinations will be much more complicated and affected by health strategies applied not only in Poland but, also, in tourist-generating countries. Thus, the geographical segmentation of hotel markets as well as increase of sustainable approach in general should become the focus of hotel managers but also destination management organizations.

To find more details of our research, do not hesitate to read our paper entitled: Impact of Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 Cases on Hotels’ Performances: Case of Polish Cities.

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