Embedding slow tourism and the ‘slow phases’ framework: The case of Cambridge, UK

Mike Duignan, Chris Wilbert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter addresses, in detail, the current and future tourism opportunities and challenges for Cambridge (UK) and illustrates the potential role of ‘slow’ tourism as an antidote to what authors previously referred to as the ‘one day tourist’ problematic (see Wilbert and Duignan, 2015). It outlines how the historic and internationally famous city of Cambridge is considering a refresh toward its perspective on tourism management – and – the development of its destination brand. This process is currently underway with the 2016 introduction of Cambridge’s new regional Destination Management Organisation (DMO): ‘Visit Cambridge and Beyond’ (VCB). In order to compete within the world’s competitive global urban hierarchy and tourism system; the decisions that regional tourism policy makers take will ultimately determine the city’s future success in convincing an eclectic demographic of visitors to better engage with the city. This includes: i) staying longer, ii) increasing consumption, and more importantly iii) distribute time and spending across both central and well-known attractions that form a major tourism attractor, but also across smaller and peripheral attractions and communities in the city and beyond across the region. The DMO and Wilbert and Duignan (2015) argue that it is through connecting up spaces and places that currently sit in individualised silos out of view by ‘normal’ visitor streams that a ‘slow tourism’ approach can be sought. Through embedding a ‘slow tourism’ approach, aided in part by the ‘Slow Phases’ (SP) framework proposed in the latter section, regions can better re-distributing economic injections derived through the visitor economy toward less visible and more locally rooted communities and idiosyncrasies and divert visitor experiences away from the more ‘spectacular’ elements of cities. This is particularly important in light of neoliberal globalisation; the on-going shift toward corporate chains through the ‘clone town’ effect, and the valorisation effects underway in central urban environments. It is in light of these arguments that we must consider Miles’s (2010) critique that the increasing appeasement of global consumers as opposed to local and host communities illustrates how public money can tend to support private interests. The authors argue that the principles associated with ‘slow tourism’ offer a potential antidote to the problematic addressed in this paper, helped through embedding the ‘Slow Phases’ (SP) framework.

The chapter is the output of a three year project (Centrality of Territories) collaborative working with a host of European universities across this agenda. Several in-depth interviews with key informants, including the Chief Executive and regional festival directors, alongside views from major attractions and small businesses themselves underpin the empirical analysis presented. This is compliments by observational fly-on-the-wall ethnographies from the authors based on initial experiences sitting on the Advisory Board of the DMO. It is through in-depth detailed analysis of Cambridge’s tourism idiosyncrasies and linkage to theories of slow and political economy that this chapter makes a useful contribution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSlow Tourism, Food and Cities: Pace and the Search for the ‘Good Life’.
EditorsMichael Clancy
ISBN (Electronic)9781315686714
ISBN (Print)9781138920910
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Slow tourism
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Small businesses
  • Place development
  • Slow Phases Framework
  • Cambridge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Embedding slow tourism and the ‘slow phases’ framework: The case of Cambridge, UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this