Sustainable tourism 2040

Albert Postma*, Elena Cavagnaro, Ernesto Spruyt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In tourism, it is a challenge to connect the commercial (economic) interests of the industry with the creation of social and environmental values along the principles of sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that can inspire businesses to use sustainability as a leading principle for their commercial activities, by means of expert consultation. Design/methodology/approach: A study was conducted in which sustainability, foresight and business identity featured as the guiding concepts. Data were collected by means of expert consultation. Findings: The study resulted in four scenarios for a sustainable tourism industry in 2040 which were framed by the key uncertainties driving this 2040 future. These scenarios offer a source of inspiration for tourism businesses to develop a proactive attitude and robust strategies for a sustainable yet competitive future. Subsequently, for each of the four business types (based on their identity or DNA) strategic questions were listed together with actionable strategic propositions with reference to sustainable development. Research limitations/implications: Data were collected with a sample of partners in the European Tourism Futures Research Network (convenience sample). Practical implications: The key strategic questions and actionable strategic propositions are presented for four different business styles that allow them to implement sustainability in a commercial way. Originality/value: The connection between the core concepts of sustainability, foresight and business identity offers a novel approach to the field of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Tourism Futures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3-Apr-2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Business identity
  • Foresight
  • Scenarios
  • Strategy
  • Sustainable tourism


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable tourism 2040'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this