Tourism’s contribution to a circular economy: How can compound tourist practices change?

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The growth of tourism and especially cheap air-borne tourism together with increasing amounts of short-time trips emerges as a still more central and complex challenge for the environmental sustainability of planet Earth. There is thus a huge need for developing tourist practices moving in the opposite direction through contributing to sustainable development. We suggest that a Circular Economy approach combined with a practice approach may help such a turn-around, bypassing moral ambivalence and generalising doomsday images, to arrive at practical and realistic processes of change. Thereby we hope to help open a new path to research in tourism sustainability and tourist practices (cp. Gössling and Hall 2006; Sharpley 2009) Circular Economy (CE) research focuses primarily on how companies may adopt and apply CE production principles, and this approach has been introduced in tourism development (Manniche et al. 2017). Nevertheless, in tourism consumers are important (co-)producers of tourism experiences and play an active and integrated role in the tourism system (Sørensen, Jensen & Hagedorn, 2018; Bærenholdt, Haldrup, Larsen & Urry, 2004). Thus, tourists may play a central role for developing Circular Economy principles in Tourism (CET). In this paper, we report the findings of an exploratory Delphi study in October 2018 followed by a Futurelab in May 2019 that aimed to identify potential tourist practices that support CET, from the perspective of tourist practices to, from and within Denmark.Thus, the focus is not on innovation in products or production processes but in what people do (Pantzar & Shove,2010).Applying a practice approach to tourism (Bispo 2016, Ren et al 2018) highlights how tourism practices are compound and there by also weaved in to many other practices, such as tourist’s practices when not travelling, transport practice regimes, practices and regulations at the destination and the practices of multiple tourism businesses. Taking the compound character of tourist practices with CE principles into account, helps understand the paradoxes of tourist practice. A significant example of this is the paradox that Delphi panel members on one side saw the sharing economy as a contribution to CE, while they on the other side acknowledged cheap air transport as the major barrier for tourism’s contribution to a circular economy.The paradox is that the sharing economy in accommodation (Airbnb) is one of the forces propelling air-borne tourism and short trips, not only for guests but also for hosts travelling for the money earned by renting out. Alternative paths of development will be to also make the Circular Economy Tourist Practices (CETP) the better and more rewarding experiences, for example extending the slow tourism idea (Dickinson&Lumsdon 2010; Fullagar et al. 2012) to include transport to the destination. The paper will further explain trends and scenarios suggested by actors involved in tourism development in the May 2019 Futurelab.
Publikationsdato24 okt. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 24 okt. 2019
Begivenhed28th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research: Tourism and Hospitality at a Crossroads - Roskilde Universitet, Roskilde, Danmark
Varighed: 23 okt. 201925 okt. 2019
Konferencens nummer: 28


Symposium28th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research
LokationRoskilde Universitet
AndetTourism and hospitality at a crossroads<br/><br/>The tourism and hospitality sector has succeeded in many respects; globally tourism is experiencing major growth both in numbers of visitors and income generated. The sector has also become more innovative and continuously develops new and more varied experiences, which also contributes further to inter-cultural interaction. Lately, the growth has been most significant in cities, but tourism also contributes significantly to the development of peripheral rural districts, often as the only industrial possibility. For these reasons, tourism and hospitality as an economic sector as well as an academic field is gaining increasing attention.<br/><br/> <br/><br/>However, the successes also leads to dilemmas. Tourism takes a toll on the world’s natural resources and people often behave less responsively when they travel than when they are at home. This raises questions, not only about how more climate friendly tourism options can be developed, but also about how tourist decision-making and behavior can and should be changed for the better. A part of the solution to such problems might be to make tourists travel less and to destinations that are closer to their homes. This puts domestic tourism back on the agenda. Increasingly debates about over-tourism have also risen, as tourism in some destinations has reached a level where it threatens the inhabitants’ social life. This challenges the default growth agenda among tourism planners and decision makers. Other destinations do not benefit from tourism growth at all; here we may talk about under-tourism. Tourism as a distinct activity defined, for example, as one where people stay overnight away from their home is also dissolving. Traditional tourism, leisure activities and even work are fusing together, while technology allows people to travel virtually, without physical mobility. These new developments create new opportunities, but also new challenges.<br/><br/> <br/><br/>Thus it can be argued that tourism and hospitality and tourism and hospitality research is at a crossroads. Some things may have to change, while others must remain in order for the tourism and hospitality sectors to continue thriving. What are new roads to take? How may old ones be developed? How does the industry, local communities, policy makers and other stakeholders find a balance between economic development and environmental strain? And what is the role of research in answering these questions? These are some of the questions that the 28th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality held in Roskilde, Denmark will emphasize.<br/><br/>

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