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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Rural Society

For a Special Issue on
Revitalisation of the Rural Periphery via Transformative Tourism Geographies

Abstract deadline
31 December 2022

Manuscript deadline
31 July 2023

Cover image - Rural Society

Special Issue Editor(s)

Joseph M. Cheer PhD, Center for Tourism Research, Wakayama University, Japan; Geography, Tourism & Planning, Western Sydney University, Australia; Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism Management, UCSI University, Malaysia; Faculty of Culture and Society, AUT, New Zealand
[email protected]

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Revitalisation of the Rural Periphery via Transformative Tourism Geographies

History will show that pandemic disruptions beginning in 2020 have been catastrophic for tourism visitation across the globe and, in turn, this has inadvertently turned the gaze toward rural and peripheral areas where the wide open spaces and proximity to nature have proved to be an attraction for urban dwellers (Romagossa, 2020). The allure of the rural periphery and the countryside for tourism is long established (Kordel, 2016; Clark & Chabrel, 2007), and the enforced tourism hiatus has given it a new and, in some cases, urgently needed lease on life. However, the appreciation of what is referred to as countryside capital (Eimermann, 2016), and the ensuing and renewed attention, raises myriad concerns, especially regarding the extent to which rural communities can absorb and adapt to the growing demands for constrained provisions of housing, services and amenities, among other exigencies. This has manifested as threats to the way of life of incumbent communities and their social and ecological inheritances, and as a barrier to the attraction of in-migrants. On balance, contestations suggest that tourism expansion might not be worth the imposition for resident communities because of the transformed and heightened contest for space and amenity, and the subsequent ripple effects that tends to be induced. It is obvious that tourism is at the
vanguard of the revived clamor for the rural idyll, but unless in situ communities are active participants shaping the nature of this expansion, the capacity for development to prioritise their interests will remain constrained. Moreover, the social and ecological assets (for example, water availability) of communities at the rural periphery are usually prized and are what heighten their appeal, but the extent to which tourism expansion puts these under strain, remains a pressing concern (Marzo-Navarro et al, 2015).

Apropos, and unsurprisingly, as the persistence of international border and wider travel restrictions (and their enduring impacts) have encouraged domestic and ‘near home’ travel, proximity tourism has emerged as a key driver for tourist visitation, often involving domestic or cross border travel, and to places within close reach through the usage of ground transport. Jeuring and Haartsen (2017, p. 120) describe proximity tourism as vacationing near home or a type of tourism “promoted by a drive to behave responsibly by acting locally near home, enhancing one’s own regional economy, local culture and social networks”. This phenomenon has been brought into stark relief in pandemic times as the desire to lower chances of contagion have intensified (Butler, Szili Hay & Cutler, 2022). In some countries, like Japan, the renewed interest in the rural periphery has boosted attempts toward employing
tourism as a vehicle for rural revitalisation, and what have been sleepy backwaters for the most part are now undergoing renewed interest and revitalisation (Cheer et al, 2022; Qu & Cheer, 2021). Queries and solid understandings as to how the resulting transformations are likely to play out, and the subsequent implications for the management and planning of tourism expansion at the rural periphery, have generally lagged visitation growth.

Notwithstanding, the status quo of rural tourism and the challenges and opportunities faced remain formidable in the present where global recession looms, workforce shortages have intensified, climate change-induced effects demand urgent adaptation, and where rural population decline and its converse, urbanisation, continues apace. The role that social capital plays in all of this reinforces the assertions made by Park et al (2015, p. 130) - “community social capital makes important contributions to governance, especially in situations where the market and government fail to allocate resources because of lack of information to design and enforce beneficial exchanges”. This raises questions as to whether tourism growth strengthens or dilutes the cohesion of communities at the rural periphery. Moreover, contestation and anxieties centered on the maintenance and protection of what are considered contexts with fragile ‘sense of place’ and ‘way of life’ resonates (Derrett, 2003). This is supported my McHenry (2009, p. 61) who argues that “the social wellbeing of a community, directly through tourism, income generation and employment opportunities, and indirectly by enhancing participation and creativity in public decision-making, strengthening community capacity, and strengthening identity and sense of place”, are key imperatives.

Questions about how to promote and stimulate entrepreneurship and inward investment in the rural periphery remain a formidable constraint (Ikonen, 2016; Yachin & Ioannides, 2019), particularly where local level capacity and buy-in is in short supply (Qu & Cheer, 2021). A key concern for communities at the rural periphery, as Measham et al (2014) pose, is the extent to which they can shape their own futures, and by extension, adapt to what are usually
externally consequential headwinds. Another pressing concern is the “debate about smart rural development beyond broadband connectivity and the urban-rural digital divide” (Cowie et al., p. 174), for without unhindered connectivity, the periphery remains practically estranged (Klien, 2020). Further, issues of social-ecological resilience building and how tourism expansion abides comfortably by the local context remain formidable and often difficult constraints to negotiate (Cheer, Milano & Novelli, 2019; Cheer & Lew, 2017; Lew & Cheer, 2017).

Potential pathways and interventions for engagement in this special issue might include multi-, inter- and cross-disciplinary queries into some of the following:

  • Engagement with rural revitalisation and wider rural development initiatives
  • Contexts beyond what are typically considered rurality or the countryside towards analyses undertaken in outer islands, remote mountain communities, coastal hamlets, desert and/or outback, among others, and places generally off the beaten track
  • Best practice of rural and proximity tourism
  • Specialty rural tourism focus areas, including: Indigenous and First Nations culture and heritage; farm stays; gastronomy/culinary; pilgrimage trails; rural heritage (agriculture and mining); special events (culture and sports); dark sky tourism; alpine areas; art; nature-based and safari/game tourism, among others
  • Tourism as a pillar for rural and regional development
  • Tourism policy and strategic planning in rural periphery contexts
  • Theoretical entanglements at the juncture between tourism, rural development and socio-ecological entanglements
  • Tourism, rurality and the commons
  • Tourism and rural-urban migration
  • Rural entrepreneurship and tourism-led development
  • Critical engagements with rural tourism-led marginalisations
  • Economic transition from extractive industries such as mining and fisheries to tourism and the wider visitor economy

This is a partly closed call and prepared for the Australia Japan Foundation project (2021 – 2022), Benchmarking Rural Tourism in Australia and Japan. Additional papers will be selected subject to suitability to the specific needs of this special issue and in alignment with the aims and scope of the the journal.

Submission Instructions

Abstract Guidelines

  • Contributions must align with the aims and scope of Rural Society
  • Extended abstracts for this Call should be prepared in accordance with journal guidelines - this includes:
    • A length of 1000 words (maximum) adhering to the following: introduction, Literature Review & Theory, Research Methods, Findings, Discussion & Conclusion (References are excluded from word count)
    • Up to 5 appropriate keywords should be included
    • Abstracts should be sent to [email protected] by no later than 31 December, 2022
    • Full author affiliations and email address of corresponding author required
  • References and in-text citations must adhere strictly to the American Psychological Association's 7th edition referencing style
  • Full articles must be between 6000 an 8000 words (including tables, references, and captions). The maximum number of tables/figures/images is 8 per paper.

Special Issue Timeline:
Abstract Submission Deadline: 31 December 2022
Abstract Decision Deadline: 30 January 2023
Manuscript Submission Deadline: 31 July 2023
Publication of Special Issue: mid-2024

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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