It’s as if this sector is stuck between a rock and a hard place – more success, in terms of numbers’ growth, brings with it problems of congestion, resentment from local residents, and environmental stress, along with the start of a long decline in visitor satisfaction, the number of repeat visits and or referrals. At the same time, a host of external factors – be they climate-related, natural hazards (fires, floods) that result in infrastructure damage; or food or water shortages; economic slowdown in source markets; growing political instability; and rapid changes in public values can all cause demand to stop. Elsewhere, I have likened the current scale and scope of demand to a “tsunami” that we cannot control. It’s worth noting that, in nature, tsunamis cause as much damage on their retreat from a shoreline as they do racing up it.
In response to these increasingly wicked challenges, a small but growing number of thinkers from within and outside tourism are now applying their time, imagination and brain power to conceive of an alternative way of “seeing/framing” and delivering hospitality services at a scale and in a manner that delivers positive net benefit to all participants (commercial and non-commercial hosts and guests). In fact, we go further, believing that tourism has the potential to become an agent of positive transformation that can contribute to a better quality of life for all.