Book launch: ‘International Tourism Development and the Gulf Cooperation Council States: Challenges and Opportunities
Edited by Marcus L. Stephenson & Ala Al-Hamarneh (Routledge: London, 2017)
We are pleased to invite you to a special first Research Seminar for the academic year 2017-2018. It will be held Sunday September 24th from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park. The Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 200 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. This week’s seminar is organized in collaboration with the Association for Travel and Leisure Education and Research’s Middle East Regional Section.
Presentation: ‘Introduction- Deciphering International Tourism Development in the GCC Region’
Prof. Marcus L. Stephenson
University of the South Pacific
This book examines the challenges facing the development of tourism in the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This region, which largely comprises the Arabian Peninsula, possesses some of the fastest growing economies in the world and is remarkably unique. It shares similar associations and affinities: tribal histories, royal kinship, Bedu cultural roots, Islamic heritage, rapid urbanization, oil wealth, rentier dynamics, state capitalist structures, migrant labour, economic diversification policies, and institutional restructuring. Therefore, this volume takes the study of tourism away from its normative unit of analysis, where tourism in the region is being examined within the context of the Middle East and the wider Islamic and Arab world, towards an enquiry focussing on a specific geo-political territory and socially defined region. Although international tourism development in the region embodies a range of challenges, complexities and conflicts, which are deeply contextualised in this volume, the approach overall does not endorse the normative ‘Gulf bashing’ position that has predominated within the critical enquiries in the region. It presents a forward looking and realistic assessment of international tourism development, examining development potentialities and constructive ways forward for GCC states and the region as a whole. This edited volume provides a real attempt to examine critically ways in which tourism and its development intersect with the socio-cultural, economic, political, environmental and industrial change that is taking place in the region. By doing so, the book provides a theoretically engaged analysis of the social transformations and discourses that shape our contemporary understanding of tourism development within the GCC region. In addition to state-specific illustrations and destination case studies, the work provides insights into relatable themes associated with international tourism development in the region, such as tourism’s relationship with religion, heritage and identity, the environment and sustainability, mobility and cross-border movements, the transport industry, image production and destination branding, mega-development, and political stability and instability. The book combines theory with diverse case study illustrations, drawing on disciplinary knowledge from such fields as sociology, political economy and social geography.