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SPOT in America. Participation in the AAG 2022 Conference

On February 28 2022, in the context of the American Association of Geographers’ (AAG) Annual Meeting 2022, our SPOT project was presented online in the form of five research papers organized as a session with the title “Landscape and Cultural Tourism. The SPOT EU Project”. Theano S. Terkenli (University of the Aegean) and Milada Štastná (Mendel University in Brno) co-organized and co-chaired this session, which was officially recorded and will remain accessible to all Conference participants, on the AAG website, till August 29, 2022.

The AAG is the most prestigious and acclaimed scientific geographical organization in the United States, and its annual meetings have been a prized institution for thousands of geographers from the States and from around the world. This year, the meeting, originally organized in New York City, took place in an entirely virtual form, with 3.200 presentations in over 1,000 sessions, 18 networking events and 12 workshops.

The SPOT session was sponsored by the following three AAG Specialty Groups: Landscape; European; and Recreation, Tourism and Sports. It consisted of the following papers:

· Landscape for Cultural Tourism: an affair to unfold. Theano S. Terkenli, Marcel Pleijte, Małgorzata Pstrocka-Rak, Giovanna Rech, Milada Štastná, Tijn Rümke and Bas Pedroli.

· Cultural Tourism after COVID-19: first findings. Milada Šťastná, Antonín Vaishar.

· Worth a visit? Challenges and opportunities for touristic valorization of an industrial heritage landscape - the case of the Styrian Iron Route (Austria). Jasmin Sandriester, Jörn Harfst.

· Conflicting perceptions of urban landscapes: the case of tourism and housing in Barcelona. Danielle Bishop, Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway & Montserrat Simó Solsona.

· Piedmont landscapes: cultural resources and visual host/guest encounters in SPOT project. Giovanna Rech, Lorenzo Migliorati.

The session purported to address research inroads and state-of-the-art insights into the interrelationships between landscape and cultural tourism. It presented theoretical and empirical aspects and advances in this scientific area, with an emphasis on European case study examples, based on research carried out in SPOT. In the context of rapidly changing rates and globalizing patterns of mobility and consumption, this session aimed to respond to the need for renewed, place-specific, and more in-depth scientific investigation into the sites and attractions sought by cultural tourists and into the role of landscape in visitor experiences. The papers illustrated and elaborated on distinct and critical issues stemming from and revolving around the interface of landscape and cultural tourism, at a time of increasing demand for a variety of broadly accessible tourism/leisure pursuits and activities, as well as concern about sustainable/‘green’ development for the landscape, for the local societies, and for tourism.

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