Relational economic geography and its use in tourism clusters studies

Abstract This paper presents the evolution of the theory of Relational Economic Geography (REG) as a theoretical framework for the regional analysis and tourism destinations analysis. It discusses the origin, foundations, conceptualization trends, and criticism of this perspective. It also contextualizes through a comparison between the analyses of tourism destinations based on productive clusters (networks, districts, clusters, and local productive arrangements) and analysis from the REG perspective. It is a qualitative study, of theoretical and conceptual review, whose objective is to verify if REG is either a complementary perspective to the classic studies of productive agglomerations or a perspective that can substitute them, addressing the gaps that have been pointed out by the researchers. The findings suggest that REG can be used in tourism destination studies, regardless of the territorial/ productive organization. Also, the REG approach can generate tools to translate the relational thinking, taking it out of abstraction and bringing this theoretical concept into the practice of territorial management of tourism destination.