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HomeSport Tourism and Local Sustainable Development

Sport Tourism and Local Sustainable Development

The Dynamics of Action Sports and Cultural Perspectives

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Published on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 by Lucie Choupaut


The increase in nature, freestyle or alternative activities since the 1970s in Europe and North America has been the subject of numerous studies. From recreational activities to outdoor sports, numerous definitions have emerged, provoking intellectual debate in France and internationally. Thus, these “action sports” have emerged as a collection of cultural forms shared both by the world of “sport” and that of “alternative” practices, further interrogating the growing sportivization of physical practices worldwide. Our understanding of culture must take these social practices into account.



The increase in nature, freestyle or alternative activities since the 1970s in Europe and North America has been the subject of numerous studies[1]. From recreational activities to outdoor sports, numerous definitions have emerged, provoking intellectual debate in France and internationally. Several of these terminologies underline the renewed linkages between sport and tourism[2]. The name “action sports,” for which this conference invites particular reflection, is distinguished by its recent development in the literature. Bennett & Lachowetz[3] have defined actions sports as a collection of eclectic, risky, individual and alternative sporting activities. This concise conceptualisation allows for the inclusion of surfing, skateboarding, BMX, wakeboarding, and even motocross. Rather than giving an immutable and personal definition of these diverse sporting practices, Thorpe & Wheaton [4] focus on the context of these practices, as well as the individual character of these unique activities. These authors refer to the community spirit embedded within a counter-cultural expression juxtaposed to an overly “rationalized, technologized, bureaucratized” world[5]. Beginning in the 1960s, the popularity and expansion of these activities led them to be distinguished from other traditional and dominant sports and their defining criteria. Thus, these “action sports” have emerged as a collection of cultural forms shared both by the world of “sport” and that of “alternative” practices, further interrogating the growing sportivization of physical practices worldwide. Our understanding of culture must take these social practices into account. For example, how do these distinct “bodily” practices evolve ? What do they have in common and how do they acquire “social” legitimacy and corresponding sub-cultures ?

Industry and techniques of action sports in the dynamics of tourism

This first focus area of exploration is to study the role of stakeholders and organizations involved within this unique sporting industry. After the development of such sporting cultures, such as surfing, bungee jumping and snowboarding, nicknamed in France les années fun[6] and in North America extreme sports[7], the modern passion for these outdoor activities has expanded to become a fast growing industry. This industry includes manufacturers, suppliers, and various distribution channels. The industry seeks investment funds for further growth. Clubs, athletes or consumers have led to the commercialization of these action sports, altering their meaning and cultural development. This area of focus therefore invites reflections on the multiple economic indicators surrounding the production, consumption and distribution of sporting goods in this particular field, with particular emphasis on their histories, social contexts and cultural resonance in France and in Europe, as well as the role of sport in this increasingly “capitalist” universe. The aim is to understand the issues and particularities of these emergent activities and their material and social relations.

Management and marketing logics of action sports in tourism development

In this second area of exploration, we seek scholars to analyse the strategies and development brands and market share in this emerging industry. As defined by several authors[8] : sport marketing is a section under marketing which concentrates on the promotion and advertisement of Sports teams and sports events in addition to the promotion of merchandises and services in the Sports world. In connection with the work that we carry out within the organizing team[9], there are many perspectives to pursue. This may involve addressing the many activities that comprise the management of this commercial enterprise : setting prices, monitoring sales trends, collecting information on customers and suppliers within a given market. Likewise, this focus area seeks to understand the multiple steps taken to create new and emerging markets, such as the techniques and strategies developed by brands to determine market demand (market research and communication, distribution, customer relations). This also includes mechanisms introduced to influence consumer behavior for increased market growth of a particular product.

Epistemology and definition of the links between action sports and tourism

The third area of exploration of the IRNIST Conference is part of a renewed epistemological reflection across disciplines and between different theoretical trends in the field. This focus area concerns critical studies surrounding the existence and emergence of new knowledge related to the concept of action sport, between sport and tourism[10] and the debates about the sport tourism concept[11]. We invite participants to analyze the processes of conceptual construction and deconstruction and the production of theory to rigorously assess epistemological validity and research limitations. This includes a reflection on the principles, methods, values ​​and consequences connected to emerging concepts of action sport and cultural meaning. Proposals should attempt to understand these two concepts jointly in order to highlight their progressive hybridity, their unique identities and mutual relationship. This third area of focus therefore proposes to pay particular attention, in an epistemological approach, to the concept of sport and culture, as well as to the social and material aspects at this unique nexus.

Sports tourism and action sports within small island territories

The objective of this research area is to analyse the contribution of sports tourism and action sports to sustainable local development in several small island territories or archipelagos around the world. In this way, this focus area aims to fill a gap in the literature of sports tourism[12] and sustainable development[13]. The definition of “islands”, “small states” or “island territories” for this project will be understood as a common set of geographical and topographical features spread over several oceans and seas. Islands are also characterized by a common history of colonialism, cultural and social independence and codependence framed by neoliberal policies of capital accumulation and linear models of development[14]. This focus of the 8th IRNIST Conference, in conjunction with the book project on this theme[15], seeks to challenge these models and provide innovative practices that are more inclusive, culturally sensitive, with a focus on promoting authentic and intentional sustainable development. The site or geographic location accounts for different modalities of activities, including surfing, paragliding, funboarding and other action sports. The articulation of local, regional, national, and international stakeholders in these sport tourism destinations or sites determines the contextual meaning of governance and the types of collaboration, planning, and implementation, particularly with respect to promoting local sustainable development. This process of articulation within the sport tourism sector therefore draws on the spatial, historical, socio-economic and political dimensions of sport tourism and sustainable development. This area of focus will aim to propose a theoretical and empirical review, presenting multiple case studies and a critical discussion on the relationship between tourism and sport in the context of small island territories and genuine sustainable development.

Pierre Durand and André Suchet, co-head of Organisation committee

Submission Guidelines

Proposals for oral presentations should be submitted by December 30th 2021 to thefollowing address:


Email should include Abstract submission in the subject.

Proposals should include the title, the list of authors, their institutional affiliations, their contact details and an abstract no longer than 600 words, with theoretical framework, method and main results (in Word DOC or DOCX). Text must be in 12-point Times Roman.

Language: British or American English.

2 or 3 references, follow the guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Scientific Committee[16]

  • Claude Sobry, Université de Lille, France
  • Derek van Rheenen, Université de Californie à Berkeley, USA
  • Ricardo Melo, Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, Portugal
  • Olivier Naria, Université de La Réunion, France
  • Sorina Cernaianu, University of Craiova, Roumanie
  • Sanella Skoric, University of Zagreb, Croatie
  • Elie Moussa, Université du Balamand, Liban
  • Irena Slepickova, Charles University in Prague, République Tchèque
  • Jean-Pierre Augustin, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, France
  • Olivier Bessy, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, France
  • André Suchet, Université de Bordeaux
  • Jean-François Loudcher, Université de Bordeaux
  • Pierre Durand, Université de Bordeaux
  • Holly Thorpe, University of Waikato, New Zealand
  • Anna Maria Pioletti, Università della Valle d’Aosta
  • Clémence Perrin-Malterre, Université Savoie Mont-Blanc
  • John Tuppen, Université de Grenoble-Alpes
  • Salvador Anton Clavé, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Espagne
  • Jean Saint-Martin, Université de Strasbourg
  • Belinda Wheaton University of Waikato, New Zealand

Local Organizing Committee

  • Pierre Durand (co-head of Local Committee),
  • André Suchet (co-head of Committee),
  • Francis Adolin,
  • Clément Brun,
  • Maël Fauviaux,
  • Annabelle Caprais,
  • Frederic Subra.
  • Maya Cunchinabe and the secretary of the LACES.

Award for the Best Presentation by a Doctoral Student

The prize for the best presentation by a doctoral student will be awarded at the end of the conference. The jury will be composed of esteemed scholars in the field of sports tourism.


[1] Rinehart, R. E. & Sydnor, S. (Eds.). (2003). To the Extreme. Alternative Sports, Inside and Out. Albany, State University of New York Press. Vertinsky, P. & Bale, J. (Eds.). (2004). Sites of Sport. London, Routledge. Stebbins, R. A. (2005), Challenging Mountain Nature : Risk, Motive and Lifestyle in Three Hobbyist Sports. Calgary, Detselig. Weed, M. (2006), « Sports Tourism Research 2000–2004 : A Systematic Review of Knowledge and a Meta-Evaluation of Methods ». Journal of Sport & Tourism, vol. 11, n° 1, p. 5-30, or for a French review Suchet, A. & Tuppen, J. (2014). Pratiques fun, aventures sportives et sports de nature. Trois moments dans l’évolution des dynamiques sportives de nature en France (1970-2010). In J.-P. Callède, F. Sabatier & C. Bouneau (Eds.), Sport, nature et développement durable. Une question de génération ? (pp. 389-406). Pessac : Maison des Sciences de l’Homme d’Aquitaine. Melo, R., Van Rheenen, D. & Gammon, S. (2019). (Eds.). Nature Sports : A Unifying Concept (Part I). Special issue of Annals of Leisure Research 22(5), and Melo, R., Van Rheenen, D. & Gammon, S. (Eds.). (2020). Nature Sports : current trends and the path (part II). Special issue of Annals of Leisure Research, 23(2).

[2] Bourdeau, P., Corneloup, J. & Mao, P. (2002), « Adventure Sports and Tourism in the French Mountains : Dynamics of Change and Challenges for Sustainable Development ». Current Issues in Tourism, vol. 5, n° 1, p. 22-32. Sobry, C. (dir.). (2004). Le tourisme sportif. Villeneuve d’Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion.

 Sobry, C. (dir.). (2016). Sport Tourism and Local Sustainable Development. Paris, L’Harmattan. Bessy, O. (dir.). (2008). Sport, loisir, tourisme et développement durable des territoires. Voiron, Presses univ. du sport.

[3] Bennett, G. & Lachowetz, T. (2004). « Marketing to Lifestyles : Action Sports and Generation Y ». Sport Marketing Quarterly, 13(4), pp. 239-243.

[4] Wheaton, B. (dir.). (2004). Understanding lifestyle sports : consumption, identity and difference. London, Routledge, Thorpe, H. & Wheaton, B. (2011), « “Generation X Games”, Action Sports and the Olympic Movement : Understanding the Cultural Politics of Incorporation ». Sociology, vol. 45, n° 5, p. 830-847.

[5] Thorpe & Wheaton, p. 832, 2011.

[6] Loret, A. (1995). Génération glisse. Dans l’eau, l’air, la neige... la révolution du sport des “années fun. Paris : Autrement.

[7] Rinehart, R. E. & Sydnor, S. (Eds.). (2003). To the Extreme. Alternative Sports, Inside and Out. Albany : State University of New York Press.

[8] Desbordes, M., Ohl, F. & Tribou, G. (2004). Marketing du sport. Paris : Economica. Mullin, B., Hardy, S. & Sutton, W. (2014). Sport Marketing. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics.

[9] The aim of the MI2PAS SDG Master is to train executives professionals in the field of management in the field of action sports and board sports. Established in the agglomeration of Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz for 20 years and endowed with strong relationships with the surf industry sector and the boarding economy, the course enjoys international recognition in this field

[10] In particular, see in french Morisset, L. K., Sarrasin, B. & Ethier, G. D. (Eds.). (2012). Épistémologie des études touristiques. Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec. Guibert, C. & Taunay, B. (Eds.). (2017). Tourisme et sciences sociales, ancrages disciplinaires et épistémologiques. Paris : L’Harmattan. Klein, G. (Ed.). (1998). Quelles sciences pour le sport ?. Clermont-Ferrand : AFRAPS.

[11] In particular, see in french : Pigeassou, C., Bui-Xuân, G. & Gleyse, J. (2003). Epistemological Issues on Sport Tourism : Challenge for a New Scientific Field. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 8(1), pp. 27-34. Escadafal, A. (2002). Tourisme sportif et stations touristiques. Sud-Ouest Européen, 13, pp. 101-104. Suchet, A. (2021). Tourisme sportif et mythe de Sisyphe : limites et critique d’une notion dans l’intelligibilité des pratiques récréatives. In T. Riffaud, N. Le Roux & E. Perera (Eds.), Tourisme sportif, territoires et sociétés. Grenoble : Elya.

[12] Bull C., Weed M. (1999). « Niche markets and small island tourism : the development of sports tourism » in Malta, Managing Leisure, 4(3), pp. 142-155. Pieters R., Gevers D. (1995). « A framework for tourism development of fragile island destinations : the case of Bonaire. In Conlin M., Baum V., T. (Eds). Island tourism : management principles and practice (pp. 123-132). New York : Wiley. Epitropoulos M. F, Karlis G., Kartakoullis N., Lagopoulos K., Micropantremenos M. (2003) Sport Tourism and Karpathos : the PanAegean Games of 2002, Journal of Sport & Tourism, 8(4), pp. 313-319. Elcock Y.J. (2005) Sports tourism in Barbados : the development of sports facilities and special events, Journal of Sport & Tourism, 10(2), pp. 129-134.

[13] Bouchet P., Gay J-C. (1998). « Les Hauts de La Réunion conquis par les loisirs », Mappemonde, 58, pp. 31-37. Bessy O., Naria O., (2005). « Les enjeux des loisirs et du tourisme sportif de nature dans le développement durable de l’île de la Réunion », in P. Bouchet., C. Sobry (Eds.). Management et marketing du sport : du local au global (pp. 307-339), Lille : Presses universitaires du Septentrion. Bessy, O. (Eds.). (2008). Sport, loisir, tourisme et développement durable des territoires. Voiron, Presses universitaires du sport. Naria O., Sherwin K. (2011) « Tourisme, sports de nature et développement durable aux Seychelles », Etudes Caribéennes, 19, pp. 46-67.

[14] Naria O., Van Rheenen D., Melo R., Sobry C. (2021), « Sport tourism, island territories and sustainable development : approach to a methodological framework for research based on the insular context of the Indian Ocean » 7th IRNIST Conference, Roma, 23rd - 24th June 2021.

[15] The provisional title is : Sport Tourism and Local Sustainable Development in Small Island Territories : A Comparative Perspective (Van Rheenen et al., forthcoming)..

[16] Head of Committee, as part of the IRNIST, as part of the local Organizing Committee.


  • Biarritz, France (64)

Event format

Full on-site event


  • Thursday, December 30, 2021


  • freestyle, alternative sport, sport tourism, urban


  • André Suchet
    courriel : andre [dot] suchet [at] u-bordeaux [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • André Suchet
    courriel : andre [dot] suchet [at] u-bordeaux [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Sport Tourism and Local Sustainable Development », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, December 21, 2021,

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