The need for local place leadership in times of crisis

Figure: Pierart dou Tielt (fl. 1340-1360) – http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=X004175&objnr=20049662, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64384803

by Heather Skinner

The Greek Central Government’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

19th March 2020

Just around one month on from the first cases in Europe of people testing positive for the Covid-19 virus, Greece is now in lockdown as a preventative response to halt the spread of the pandemic across the country that has to date infected 418 people and claimed 6 lives. As of today, the government has made it an offence, punishable with a 1000 Euro fine, for more than 10 people to gather in public spaces. The Civil Protection Ministry has also advised that all non-emergency or non-vital travel outside of the home should be limited to an absolute minimum. The majority of retail establishments are already closed, and many other measures have been put in place at a national level to slow the spread of the virus. We have also heard today that of Sunday 22nd May all international passenger flights in and out of Greece are to be cancelled.

18th March 2020

The Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church bows to Government pressure and announced the closure of all churches and the cessation of all church services. The Government had already earlier overruled the church’s Holy Synod to enforce the of church services of all denominations, including Greek Orthodox, until the end of this month, despite the Orthodox church’s earlier claims about the potential efficacy of faith and prayer against the virus.

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Containing ‘places’?

Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester

By Prof Gary Warnaby

Parts of many town and city centres have almost begun to resemble docklands in the sense that shipping containers – sometimes singly, sometimes stacked in different permutations – have appeared in urban space. By transplanting these metal boxes into a different context their use has changed – from shipping to, primarily, shopping.  This repurposing has led to a neologism – ‘cargotecture’ – to describe the resulting architectural adaptations into shopping venues (and in many cases, peoples’ homes). It is one manifestation of a broader concept of ‘container urbanism’, where repurposed shipping containers become, among other things, part of broader place-making initiatives.

“This standardisation enables a far greater flexibility, both in its original use, through incorporation into intermodal supply chains, and also through adaptive architectural re-use.”

Using shipping containers in this way is explained in part by their flexibility and design. In one way, their design is standardised and inflexible – Martin describes the shipping container very simply as a ‘box’ for transporting stuff: “its size, shape and form were agreed upon, made standard, and applied on a near universal basis”[1]. However, this standardisation – now widely captured in the baseline ‘twenty-foot equivalent’ (or TEU) shipping container – enables a far greater flexibility, both in its original use, through incorporation into intermodal supply chains (being equally part of road-based and sea-borne transportation), and also through adaptive architectural re-use. Indeed, a search through Google Images reveals the ingenuity and effort expended in modifying these structures to create new spaces in which to live and work. 

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A new role for maps in urban place marketing?

The Bünting Clover Leaf Map, also known as The World in a Cloverleaf, (German title: “Die ganze Welt in einem Kleberblat/Welches ist der Stadt Hannover meines lieben Vaterlandes Wapen”) is an historic mappa mundi drawn by the German Protestant pastor, theologist, and cartographer Heinrich Bünting. The map was published in his book Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae (Travel through Holy Scripture) in 1581

by Prof Gary Warnaby

In the first volume of the Journal of Place Management and Development in 2008, I wrote an article about why place marketers should understand cartography. In it, I argued that maps – as frameworks for spatial communication and representation – could be an important aspect of place marketing activity.[1]  The process of mapping can “symbolize, depict, portray, describe, present clearly to the mind” a particular milieu[2] and can, thus, arguably be part of a place marketer’s ‘toolkit’. Indeed, maps have been a long-standing element of place marketing ‘representation work’.[3]  The use of maps in this particular context is evident at two spatial scales: the inter-urban (where maps are used to emphasise location in relation to other places), and the intra-urban (where the purpose of the map is primarily to facilitate navigation around a particular locale)[4], and it is the latter that is the focus of this discussion.

In the past, perhaps the most obvious example of urban place promotion which incorporated cartography at the intra-urban scale was the town guide – a well-established staple of urban place marketing activity, which according to Burgess, had to “serve many functions at the same time – residential guide, tourist guide, commercial and industrial directory and planning handbook”.[5]  Narrowing the spatial focus further, a more contemporary cartographic manifestation is the town centre guide, which is one of the most commonly used promotional activities employed by (especially retail oriented) urban place marketing actors. In the past, I have analysed the content of how town/city centres are represented cartographically in such guides, in relation to graphic interface features of scale, projection and symbolisation, to assess their effectiveness as aids to navigation for place users.[6] 

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Naked Yoga on the Beach

Labyrinth on Arillas Beach, Corfu. Image: Green Corfu

by Dr Heather Skinner and Pepé Soomers

In a special issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology focusing on “Niche Tourism and Residents’ Well-Being in Island Destinations” Dr Heather Skinner, IPM Senior Fellow and Chair of the IPM’s Visiting Places Special Interest Group, and Pepé Soomers, an independent researcher and member of the spiritual community in the small village of Arillas situated in the North West of the Greek island of Corfu, have written an article based on their research into the way spiritual tourism has had a transformational effect on the place and its residents.

Skinner, H. and Soomers, P. (2019) ‘Spiritual tourism on the island of Corfu: Positive impacts of niche tourism versus the challenges of contested space’ International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 7(10), pp. 21-39. DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2019.098099

Corfu is a relatively small island, only 64km in length and 32km at its widest point, with a permanent resident population of around 120,000, 40% of which live in the main town. The island, situated between the East of the boot of Italy, and West of the border between Greece and Albania, has attracted tourists since the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, since the boom time of the 1980s and early 1990s there has been a decline in numbers of tourists visiting the island. Those that do visit, especially those taking All-Inclusive packages, are spending less time and money in local tourism-related businesses such as restaurants, tavernas, bars and shops. The tourist season that used to see resorts all across the island full of holidaymakers from April to October is now basically reduced to the high season of July and August in many places.

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Understanding Responsible Tourism

Overtourism
Amsterdam: One of the cities in Europe trying to push back against overtourism

by Dr Heather Skinner

While the term “responsible tourism” is widely used these days, are we really sure we understand what the term means, and who is actually “responsible”? This article will address both of these questions, along with some related issues concerning tourism ethics and the concept of sustainability. While it has been recognised that, for tourism businesses, responsibility is seen to encompass ethics and sustainability, there remains little written about these issues[1]. It is also important to note that many tourism businesses are Small and Medium Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) whose business focus is not always on such matters, especially in a highly competitive and crowded market, in times of continuing financial crisis or constraint.

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Should destinations focus on yield rather than arrivals?

Should destinations focus on yield rather than arrivals?
By Prof Harold Goodwin*
From a consumer or traveller perspective there are many answers, but it is not difficult for a traveller or holidaymaker to say why they are travelling. It could relate to business, leisure, adventure, pilgrimage, to visit family and friends, to play golf or to watch their team.

“Increasing numbers of destinations are addressing whether we’re going to use tourism, or if it’s going to use us.”

It’s much more difficult from a destination perspective. The industry often simply wants more, accommodation providers in particular. They look to city and national governments to attract more tourists, more overnight visitors. The industry looks to government, the public purse, for its marketing and to attract and stage events which bring them their clients.

This raises the question, why?

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