Eduardo Fayos-Solà & Chris Cooper (editors) (2019) The Future of Tourism. Innovation and Sustainability. Springer. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. 337 pages.
Various specialists in the fields of tourism business, tourism destinations, and global tourism businesses meet challenges of responsible tourism and real-life needs to analyse tourism business from different perspectives with a multidisciplinary and critical approach.
In general, we can note that innovation management and sustainability management, are two grand future challenges in the field of global tourism business. The role of global governance is a critical issue in relation to sustainable development and innovation processes. Surely, these kinds of key vital challenges have been in the background discussions when the authors have written such a comprehensive milestone book “The Future of Tourism. Innovation and Sustainability”.
Nowadays we cannot expect that “business as usual” (BAU-scenarios) and “normal times” approaches will lead us automatically to a more sustainable world. Certainly, we will not achieve a sustainable economy without our own specific strategies and policies. There has been a long historical time period to assess whether the market would lead us to sustainable development. The tourism business has always had many challenges in terms of sustainability.
There is need to have a paradigm shift in global tourism governance and in the field of tourism and hospitality management practices, whether they are “best practices”, “good practices” or “emerging practices”. Nowadays all practices need critical discussions and focused discussion about alternative futures of tourism. Typically, modern futures studies have focused on: (1) desirability analyses, (2) probability analyses, (3) feasibility analyses, (4) risk analyses and (5) strategic importance and (6) prioritisation analyses. Decision-makers need to perform these kinds of analyses in their daily business and administrative decisions. This book is useful for current needs of decision-makers of tourism business. The aim of the book is to serve as a compass for the future.
The President, Dr. Eduardo Fayos-Solà (the Ulyess Foundation) and Professor Chris Cooper (Leeds Becker University) have edited the new book “The Future of Tourism – Innovation and Sustainability”. Editors are highly ranked experts and experienced specialists in the field of tourism research and tourism R&D activities. Key focus themes of this comprehensive book are innovation and sustainability. The book has three parts, Part I, “Tourism Futures and Technological Facets of Innovation”, Part II, “Cultural Paradigms and Innovation” and Part III, “Tourism Governance Innovation”. All parts have six sub-chapters covering the headlines of three parts of the book. The book includes contributions from 35 tourism researchers and specialists. This book includes contributions from very broad set of experts with dynamic capabilities.
Part I has a very strong technological focus on innovation
This approach of innovation emphasis means that other categories of innovation, business model innovation, and social innovation are not very much discussed although some discussions are presented in sub-chapters of “Resources Eco-efficiency, Sustainability and Innovation in Tourism” (by Margarita Robaina and Mara Madaleno), “The Deepening Effects of the Digital Revolution” (by Carlos Romero Dexeus) and “Tourism and Science: Research, Knowledge Dissemination and Innovation” (Natarajan Ishwaran and Maharaj Vijay Reddy). Other sub-chapters “Tourism and Economics: Technologically Enabled Transactions” (Larry Yu and Philippe Duverger), “Case Studies in Technological Innovation” (Chris Cooper, Eduardo Fayos-Solà, Jafar Jafari, Claudia Lisboa, Cipriano Marin, Yolanda Perdomo, and Zoritsa Urosevic).
In Chapter 1 editors discuss the challenges of innovation and the future of tourism. They admit that it is almost impossible to cover all endogenous main variables of tourism activity. They also note: “If the concept were to be strictly, narrowly understood, it would imply an almost impossible introspective task of primarily considering the endogenous main variables of tourism activity in destinations worldwide, somehow disregarding global scenarios, trends, and paradigm shifts. Much more adequate and interesting seems to explore the subject from a high watchtower observing and analysis Tourism in the Future.” (Fayos-Solà & Cooper, p. 1). From this special perspective, they underline innovation perspective and emerging issues and grand challenges of tourism business. This is in a way advantage – but also disadvantage of the book. As all specialists in the field of foresight and futures research know, it is not easy to analyse tourism futures without foresight tools and methods like trend analysis tools, scenario analyses, Weak Signal and Wild Card analyses. This is also a relevant point when we trying to cope with COVID-19 crisis. Data analyses, foresight methods, strategic planning and vision building “go hand in hand”.
Part II has a very strong cultural approach to innovation research
In Part II, the paradoxes of postmodernism are discussed in sub-chapter “Paradoxes of Postmodern Tourists and Innovation in Tourism Marketing” (Enrique Bigne and Alain Decrop). Ethical challenges and questions are discussed in sub-chapter “The Future of Ethics in Tourism” (David A. Fennel). In sub-chapter “Cultural Paradigm Inertia and Urban Tourism” (Chiara Ronchild), the topic of cultural paradigm inertia is widely discussed. A highly important issue of walkability is analysed in sub-chapter “Urban Tourism and walkability” (Salvador Anton Clave). In a Sub-chapter “Intelligence and Innovation for City Tourism Sustainability”, Jaume Mata analyses the key topic of the book, city tourism sustainability, broadly. Again, in final sub-chapter case studies are reported in “Case Studies in Sociocultural Innovation” (Chris Cooper, Francois Bedard, Benoit Dugnay, Donald Hawkins, Mohamed Reda Khomsi, Jaume Mata and Yolanda Perdomo). Personally, I expected more assessments of sustainable transport and mobility, such as bicycling and rail transportation, in this section.
Part III “Tourism Governance Innovation” has strong governance emphasis
The first sub-chapter “Measuring Tourism: Methods, Indicators, and Needs” is probably the most interesting part from methodological perspective. It is a very interesting contribution to further tourism research discussions. The second sub-chapter “Tourism Destination Re-positioning and Strategies” (Alan Fyall) provides a very updated discussion about one classical research topic of tourism research, tourism destination and destination strategy analyses. The third sub-chapter “Competition for Tourism Destination Policy and Governance: The Century of Local Power” (Maya Damayanti, Noel Scott and Lisa Ruhanen) pays more attention to local tourism destination policy and governance. This sub-chapter is actual and highly relevant for local tourism planners and strategists. Sub-chapter “Focusing on Knowledge Exchange: The Role of Trust in Tourism Networks” (Conor McTierman, Rhodri Thomas and Stephanie Jameson) provides interesting insights into knowledge management in organisations. Knowledge exchange and trust in innovation management are classical research themes in the field of innovation research and from this special perspective this sub-chapter is a very relevant part of the book. Again, a case study section is presented. Sub-chapter “Case Studies in Tourism Governance” (Chris Cooper, David Betbesë, Bertil Vlintbom, and Beatriz Përe-Aguilar) is a final case study section in this comprehensive book.
Actually, it is never easy to make a high-quality case study, but in the context of this special book authors do it professionally. The case studies are presented in an interesting and instructive way and lessons could be learned from this in the field of foresight research in general.
The book “The Future of Tourism – Innovation and Sustainability” includes sub-chapter with conclusions “Conclusion: The Futures of Tourism -Innovation for Inclusive Sustainable Development” (Eduardo Fayos-Solä and Chris Cooper). To sum up, this comprehensive book is certainly useful reading for tourism professionals, but also for researchers in the field. Perhaps one additional chapter on key trends and scenario studies in the tourism industry would have been good to include. Nonetheless, the book contains a lot of future-oriented topics and focuses on the key challenges facing the future of the tourism industry. Therefore, the book can also be recommended as training material for the tourism field specialists and as a background reading for tourism and hospitality researchers. Clearly, writing this milestone book has been a big effort and surely deserves a full professional attention in the field.
Of course, many things have changed with the COVID-19 crisis in the tourism industry. Perhaps a new edition of the book should be taken soon to assess the tourism industry in the post-COVID19 crisis period? Many tourism trends need now more critical analyses and full re-evaluation. Certainly, the challenges of sustainability and the challenges of innovation policy are now seen in a slightly different way than in this book. Also, many presented trend analyses and scenarios analyses of global tourism industry must be updated.
Research Director, Adjunct Professor, Dr., Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku
Research Director, Dr Jari Kaivo-oja is a reviewer of the Journal of Tourism Futures, Journal of Tourism Futures | Emerald Publishing. He follows inbound and outbound trends of the Finnish tourism and hospitality business.