18. Powered by blowing winds, routed by glittering stars, drifted by unfavourable streams? Being at sea as a tourism resource in geographical thought

Chairs: Alberto Forte, Alessia Mariotti (University of Bologna, Italy) and Julie Wilson (University Oberta de Catalunya, Spain)

Type: hybrid

The contribution of the UN Decade of Ocean Science (2021-2030) to the theme of ‘reuniting with the sea’ is unprecedented and coincidental with the flourishing of a wealth of related initiatives. The positive ethos of this narrative leaves space for reflection on a range of areas drawing on emerging views over the sea-land dichotomy (Forte, 2022). Geographical contributions problematised a terra-centric approach that marginalises “the sea and its role in processes related to landed life” (Peters, 2015: 4); marine biologists refer to ‘the sea’ as the great unknown (Ravaioli, 2022); the biophilia hypothesis and regenerative framework suggest that sustainable development requires shared knowledge deriving from a deep connection and understanding of the element; others (e.g. Steinberg, 2008) argued that knowledge of the oceans’ materiality depends on direct experience through exposure to its material nature. In turn, notions of tourism as an enabler of contact with the materiality of seas and oceans, and related effects – following the sustainable tourism development and regenerative tourism tenets – remain marginally explored. Accordingly, this session welcomes geographical contributions to the following (although not mutually exclusive) research avenues:
• Oceans and seas as relational geographical objects: multidimensionality of going by, and being at, sea as pull factor in (e.g. sport/yachting) tourism; thrill seeking vs deep connection – generational drives and sea-based tourism/leisure practices.
• Heritage and tourism: culture of the sea as maritime intangible cultural heritage; traditional seaside tourism as an agent of cultural normalisation ‘by the sea’ colliding with other marine tourism practices.
• Use of ocean resources: going by, and being at, sea as a tourism resource – the more-than-human interaction with the marine “other”; tourism as enabler of inclusion in experiential encounters with the materiality of the sea.
• Relational dimension of high seas and the urbanised coast: sea communities, the high sea-land continuum and coastal resort change; regenerative development, evolution, and the bio-cultural dimension of tourism at sea.
• Mobility at sea: tourism and time at sea – space and time compression vs space and time expansion Conceptual, empirical and practitioner-based contributions, philosophically oriented towards works that span all areas of the globe and are open to context-specific research, are welcomed.

Keywords: tourism, sea-land continuum, being at/going by sea, relational, evolution.