Territoire et société

(Re)production of coastal tourist space and climate change adaptation in the periphery : Two communities of the Saint-Lawrence River Estuary

Lapointe, D., Lebon, C., Guillemard, A., (Re)production of coastal tourist space and climate change adaptation in the periphery : Two communities of the Saint-Lawrence River Estuary, Tourism Geographies, 2017.


Space and place are the first resources of the tourist industry. Tourism is well known to transform the very own place it has built upon. Coastal tourism is a good example of how spaces, through the form of resources like the shore and the sea, are turn into a tourist product. However, as climate change is transforming the physical space of the coast, the tourist space will also be transformed on the way to adaptation. On one hand, it will transform how tourism, and tourist, interact in coastal space and, on the other hand, it will also transform the fragile cohabitation of many lands uses on the coastal space (residential, commercial, industrial, leisure, tourism, etc.,). Shorelines of the St. Lawrence River are at the heart of the tourist activities in Quebec, Canada, but also are spaces that will be strongly affected by climate change. The erosion and coastal flooding will profoundly change the physical space enhanced by tourism. For coastal communities in the periphery, adapting to these changes is crucial for their development, hence the importance of understanding the process of adaptation that will be implemented. The research aims to explore how climate change, in relation to the discourse of adaptation to climate change, is altering the spatial development of the tourism industry in coastal destinations in the periphery. From a critical approach based on the concept of production of space (Lefebvre, 1974; Harvey, 1996), it will analyze the discourses related to adaptation to climate change in coastal tourist areas. The aim of the paper is to elaborate a production of space framework to analyze the transformation and (re)production of coastal tourist space within a capitalist accumulation process. It will also identify how the discourses of tourist development and climate change adaptation combine to transform space and place, especially coastal tourist space and how local communities can interact with those discourses. The paper will exemplify with cases from the St-Lawrence River estuary, in Québec, Canada.