Contested discourses in social tourism: A relational political economy perspective

Raoul V. Bianchi, Scott McCabe*, José David Cisneros-Martínez, J. Andrés Domínguez-Gómez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Social tourism initiatives often have economic as well as objectives, particularly national schemes such as the Spanish IMSERSO programme, designed to stimulate off-season tourism in mass coastal tourism destinations. Yet, there is little evidence of how such schemes responded to crises or that explores the effects on the tourism industry actors responsible for programme delivery. This article applies a relational political economy approach to assess the contested discourses surrounding the governance of the scheme. We examine the evolution of the IMSERSO programme longitudinally following the global financial crisis and up until the COVID-19 pandemic to assess the relational dynamics at play social tourism governance on destination stakeholders, outlining implications for social tourism policies internationally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103640
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Early online date10 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the British Academy [SRG18R1\180504]

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Governance discourse
  • Political economy
  • Social tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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