Proceedings of the 44th Congress of the European Regional Science Association
Congress of the Regional Science Association edition:44 location:Paris date:August 29th - september 2nd
The invisibility of urban tourism and the near impossibility of demarcating it within an inner city is a major problem for the research discipline.
The tourism interaction system is a systematic approach of looking at a tourism location as a material and symbolical spatial entity – nucleus and marker. The tourism place is influenced by forces external to the tourism interaction system, but is also affected by the way several actor groups intervene in the production process of tourist space. Also the tourist modifies the material location by being there and using it, but also by interpreting it as a destination, worthwhile to visit.
An inner city is a continuity of sights, streets, squares that can be seen as tourist interaction systems on themselves, but within the urban tourist system those locations do not operate independently. The inner city can be viewed as a potential surface, where the different elements of the tourist interaction system interact.
The different element of the tourist interaction system were collected and analyzed in de medium-sized historic City of Ghent, Belgium, with the use of Geographic Information Systems and multivariate data analysis. Not only locational data were needed about the supply elements of the tourism system, but also about the spatial behaviour of tourists and types of activities undertaken. The data were integrated in a georelational database and used as an input for point pattern analysis and cluster analysis. Map interpretation of the results provides an insight in the diversity of the inner city as a material and mental tourism space and offers a useful starting point for decision making and visitor management.