Facing Uncertainty in Global Tourism: Threats and Opportunities
Professor Enrique Bigne, University of Valencia
The global tourism market is evolving in an increasingly uncertain environment. Uncertainty in economic markets shapes demand and the proliferation of a low-cost approach to tourism. Uncertainty in international politics -including past terrorist attacks in iconic cities such Paris- affects consumer decisions on travel destinations. Also, advances in technology (e.g. social media, eWOM, Virtual and Augmented Reality, tourism-oriented Apps, etc.) represent both an opportunity but also a threat to traditional models in tourism management. In this context, the role of research is becoming increasingly important to gain a better knowledge of the new and more complex socio-technological environment in which tourism develops. From neuroscience to machine learning and data mining, tourism research offers researchers a wide range of methods and data analytics to approach the important challenges facing tourism development. Both marketers and researchers using these new techniques can foster a better understanding of consumers’ needs, including how consumers’ concerns regarding sustainability, emerging tourism markets, and ethics in tourism, affect future business models and opportunities.
Sustainable Tourism: the place of eco-innovation
Dr Chris Moon, Middlesex University London
The United Nations World Tourist Organisation (UNWTO, 2017) has highlighted the role of tourism in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Tourism is regarded as a beacon of sustainable development. Therefore, the governance of tourism is in the spotlight. The recent collapse of Thomas Cook from ‘baptism to bankruptcy’ [author description] is a case in point. However, the industry as a whole is also volatile and vulnerable to external risks such as climate change. Aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can increase efficiencies and save costs. Thus, developing the business case for sustainability in tourism is very important. It is also important to build tourism stakeholders’ knowledge and to empower and inspire tourists to act more sustainably. Various recommendations to do this have been proposed including being more inclusive, assessing and monitoring tourism’s contribution, sharing best practices, and local purchasing along the tourism value chain. This keynote address will focus on the place of eco-innovation by highlighting leading examples from the hotel industry. Recommendations are provided on how to steer, sustainably, towards 2030. Key concepts such as circular economy are applied to tourism and this raises questions as to what extent the tourism industry as a whole is gearing up to the challenges identified in the UNWTO report.