Island Studies Journal (Nov 2014)

Tourism capitalism and island urbanization: tourist accommodation diffusion in the Balearics, 1936-2010.

  • Antonis Pons,
  • Onofre Rullán Salamanca,
  • Ivan Murray

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2
pp. 239 – 258


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The Balearic Islands are one of the main tourism regions in Europe, and tourism has been the structural capitalist activity of urban growth there since the 1950s. Mapping tourist accommodation in the Balearics might help spatially explain the important socio-spatial transformation of a small archipelago in the Western Mediterranean. This paper analyses the diffusion of tourist accommodations as the main vehicle for urbanization since the 1950s. The tourism production of space has gone in parallel to economic cycles with particular urban expressions related to the different regimes of accumulation. Over time, as access to sea, air, and road transport, availability of investment capital, and institutional support has changed, so too have the directions of urban tourism development in the islands.