Transition management: a tool for implementing sustainable tourism scenarios?

Juli 2012

There is academic, political and industry consensus that tourism should achieve greater sustainability, a process requiring stakeholder involvement on various levels. It is less clear how significant actor numbers can be mobilized to pro-actively work towards sustainability goals, achieving significant systemic change.

This paper explores the transition management literature to provide a theoretical framework for stakeholder involvement and policy implementation processes in sustainable tourism. A selection of sustainable tourism initiatives by global tourism and transport organizations are reviewed and discussed with regard to the mechanisms and approaches used to involve stakeholders, and their success or otherwise in achieving change. This is compared to the results of a national tourism sustainability initiative by the Norwegian government initiated in 2010.

The initiative brought together 62 leading stakeholders from all tourism interests, except airlines, for a series of six intensive discussion and goal setting sessions. Evaluation shows that stakeholder awareness and knowledge appear to have improved substantially, and potential government policy initiatives legitimized – though few tangible results can yet be seen. Overall results suggest that transition management provides a valuable theoretical framework to understand change processes, while the dialetics of stakeholder involvement and policy implementation are an essential precondition for successful governance.