UN Tourism | Bringing the world closer

Ambassadors join un tourism to look ahead to 2027 year of sustainable and resilient tourism, un tourism welcomes 39 new affiliate members, un tourism launches its first regional forum on gastronomy tourism in the philippines, un tourism executive council meets to place tourism in global economic agenda, un tourism partners with uae on integrated e-platform for governing body meetings, launch of the second edition of qatar tourism awards, un tourism hosts first regional forum on gastronomy tourism for africa at victoria falls, zimbabwe, un tourism welcomed to german bundestag and strengthens bilateral relations, un tourism commits to the antigua and barbuda agenda for small island developing states (sids), china recovers its position as top spender in 2023 as asia and the pacific reopens to tourism, un tourism launches the tourism investment guidelines for jordan, un tourism connects leaders for investment conference focused on middle east opportunities.

Current Issues in Tourism

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The set of journals have been ranked according to their SJR and divided into four equal groups, four quartiles. Q1 (green) comprises the quarter of the journals with the highest values, Q2 (yellow) the second highest values, Q3 (orange) the third highest values and Q4 (red) the lowest values.

The SJR is a size-independent prestige indicator that ranks journals by their 'average prestige per article'. It is based on the idea that 'all citations are not created equal'. SJR is a measure of scientific influence of journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from It measures the scientific influence of the average article in a journal, it expresses how central to the global scientific discussion an average article of the journal is.

Evolution of the number of published documents. All types of documents are considered, including citable and non citable documents.

This indicator counts the number of citations received by documents from a journal and divides them by the total number of documents published in that journal. The chart shows the evolution of the average number of times documents published in a journal in the past two, three and four years have been cited in the current year. The two years line is equivalent to journal impact factor ™ (Thomson Reuters) metric.

Evolution of the total number of citations and journal's self-citations received by a journal's published documents during the three previous years. Journal Self-citation is defined as the number of citation from a journal citing article to articles published by the same journal.

Evolution of the number of total citation per document and external citation per document (i.e. journal self-citations removed) received by a journal's published documents during the three previous years. External citations are calculated by subtracting the number of self-citations from the total number of citations received by the journal’s documents.

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Ratio of a journal's items, grouped in three years windows, that have been cited at least once vs. those not cited during the following year.

Evolution of the percentage of female authors.

Evolution of the number of documents cited by public policy documents according to Overton database.

Evoution of the number of documents related to Sustainable Development Goals defined by United Nations. Available from 2018 onwards.

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Framing the travel livestreaming in China: a new star rising under the COVID-19

Towards the quest to reduce income inequality in africa: is there a synergy between tourism development and governance, heterogeneity of inbound tourism driven by exchange rate fluctuations: implications for tourism business recovery and resilience in australia, tourism imagination: a new epistemological debate, psychological consequences of tourism ideal affect, climate change and the future of the olympic winter games: athlete and coach perspectives, crisis how small tourism businesses talk about covid-19 and business change in the uk, using city-bike stopovers to reveal spatial patterns of urban attractiveness, the rise of a new form of virtual tour: airbnb peer-to-peer online experience, social media destination information features and destination loyalty: does perceived coolness and memorable tourism experiences matter, export citation format, share document.

Why a rise in 'tourism-phobia' should give Australians flocking to European summer a cause for pause

People sunbathe under a row of umbrellas at a beach on Greece.

It's that time of year again when social media feeds become flooded with "Euro summer" holiday content.

Every winter, there's a cohort of Australians who escape to the Mediterranean Sea, seeking an idyllic scene to sip Aperol spritz in the sun.

But, they may not all be getting a warm welcome. 

Since pandemic travel restrictions eased, tourism has come surging back and Europe is copping an influx of visitors in record numbers.

And some locals aren't happy about it. 

Graffitti on a wall in Athens saying "Tourists Go Home, Greek State Kills".

Graffiti and stickers exclaiming, "Tourists go home!" and threats such as "We'll spit in your beer" are becoming a common sight across major cities. 

Anti-tourism protests are also spreading, with locals angered by "bad tourists", short-term rentals and "the touristification of daily life".

Experts say at this rate there's no way tourism can be sustainable, and we need to re-think the way we travel so we're not part of the problem. 

A return to overseas travel

Australians are back on the move.

In 2023, nearly 10 million residents returned from a short-term trip overseas , an increase of over 4.7 million on the previous year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

June was a particularly high time to travel, with more Australians leaving the country in mid-last year than in December 2022. 

A young boy and a man pose for a photo near the Eiffel Tower

Skyscanner Australia travel expert, Jarrod Kris, says there has been an increase in Australians searching for flights to European destinations.

Search volumes for European countries in 2023 were up by 28 per cent on the previous year, with Greece, France, Italy and Spain among the most popular.

Searches were also 16 per cent higher than pre-pandemic 2019, Mr Kris said. 

Based on Skyscanner flight booking data, the most popular 2024 Euro summers destinations for Australians so far are: 

  • 2. Manchester
  • 4. Istanbul

Landing in an overtourism crisis

Many of these popular destinations are facing an "overtourism crisis", Claudio Milano from the University of Barcelona's department of social anthropology, said. 

And it's leading to a resurgence of "tourism-phobia".

The term emerged around the 2008 financial crisis with locals blaming tourists for their deteriorating quality of life.

Now as crowds have come flooding back in record numbers after the pandemic reprieve, so too has social unrest and tourism rejection.

Especially as cities confront housing emergencies, masses of Airbnb lockboxes strewn down residential streets are a scathing sign of the times. 

A woman walks past graffiti on the wall in Spain that says "Guiri go home" which translates to "tourist go home".

Already Europe's foreign tourist arrivals for 2024 have exceeded 2019 levels.

And summer is bringing two major sporting events to the continent — the Paris Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany.

Tourism officials expect 15.3 million visitors to the French capital over the Olympics period. 

Parisians have been staging protests and strikes, calling out the social impact the Games will have on their city, which is already the most-visited destination in the world.

A protester in Paris holds a sign in French that reads: "Lack of Housing Seriously Harms Health".

Locals lash out   

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of residents have also been taking to the streets in Athens, Venice, Barcelona and Spain's Balearic Islands.

Last weekend, protesters occupied beaches frequented by tourists in Mallorca, after about 10,000 demonstrated the previous week under the banner #Mallorca no es ven — Mallorca is not for sale. 

Smaller protests have been held in neighbouring Menorca and the notorious party island Ibiza.

And throughout April, more than 50,000 people from the small Spanish Canary Islands took part in demonstrations.

Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, a lecturer in tourism management at the University of South Australia, says it's clear impacts of overtourism have reached new heights.   

"The recent activism in the Canary Islands, where tens of thousands of people came out in a relatively small community, indicates just how angry people are," she told the ABC.

People hold a banner that reads "Mallorca is not for sale", as they take part in a protest against mass tourism.

Fake signs have been spotted at Spanish beaches warning tourists that there's dangerous jellyfish and falling rocks.

Then small-print in Catalan reads "the problem isn’t a rockfall, it's mass tourism", according to local media reports. 

There's also been more confronting backlash with reports of rentals cars, bikes and tourist buses being vandalised or their tires slashed.

Tourists making life unlivable

Professor Milano says similar messages are being echoed by anti-tourism activists and movements across the board.

Locals are frustrated by cities being oversold and overcrowded with "capitalistic tourism".

Short-term rentals are raising housing costs, taking over residential buildings, and pricing locals out of living in their own towns.

Javier Carbonell, a real estate agent in Mallorca, told Reuters over half of rental properties were used for holiday rentals and were not affordable for locals.

"We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism," Mr Carbonell said.

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said cities and towns have become completely over-run by tourists, making them unlivable and unrecognisable to those who call them home.

Tourists are seen at St Mark's Square in Venice, Italy.

"There's no problem having tourists in the city, the problem is to have only tourists in the city," Professor Milano said. 

He called it the "touristification of daily life".

In places such as Venice, Italy, locals have been displaced due to poorly managed tourism, Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said.

Some shops that sustained local life have been replaced with tacky souvenir shops.

"Because of tourism developments and the way tourism has run, it's made it difficult to lead normal lives," she said.

"Whether you can travel to Venice, and have that accepted, requires thought on the part of the traveller."

A stencilled graffiti on a stone wall saying "Tourist go Home".

Should you still travel?

Professor Milano says for the most part activists are not angered by the tourist encounter, rather the tourism model and the issues it provokes. 

They don't want no tourism at all, but he admitted they do want better tourists. 

And there are ways to minimise negative effects so your travels benefit local businesses. 

Avoid Airbnb 

In Athens, graffiti is sprayed across walls showing buildings up in flames alongside the words "burn Airbnb", according to local media.

And protesters in the city have been waving signs reading "Barcelona: Tourists welcome, locals NOT welcome", and chanting "tourists are taking our houses".

Professor Milano said travellers should avoid booking Airbnb and instead find a hotel.

And tourists should try to spend money on local businesses as much as they can. 

A lot of frustration stems from outside entities profiting while locals suffer, Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said. 

"The most simple advice that I could give to make sure you're welcome — no matter where you go — is to knowledgeably and intentionally spend money in that local economy." 

Beware of 'live like a local' myths 

Travellers are being warned about falling for commercial narratives that promote getting a local's experience. 

"With Airbnb, we have brought tourism into our buildings," Professor Milano said. 

"Airbnb used to be promoted as 'live like a local' ... But it’s not 'live like a local' because the property manager is a big company that probably owns 200 apartments in Barcelona."

In some cities, residential areas are becoming so congested locals can't easily access their own streets or get on a bus. 

The advice is to stay away from the crowded areas and avoid travelling at peak seasons.

Tourists read a travel guide of Rome as they sit near Colosseum crowds in Rome.

Scrap the multi-stop trips

What has been called the "Ryanair revolution" has enabled travellers to jet between European destinations for next to nothing.

This hyper mobility is a big part of the problem, Professor Milano said.

Regularly flying to Europe for two weeks and visiting several destinations isn't uncommon for some Australians. 

But Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says we need to consider slowing down — not just for the wellbeing of the local communities, but for the environment.

"Access to these places is not our right, it’s a privilege," she said.

"We need to get more considered in our consumption."

She said we don't need to stop holidaying, but it would be better to scale it back to one big holiday every few years, and staying in the one country.

'Don't be a jerk'

Protesters in the Canary Islands have been calling out "bad tourists" who disrespect the land and culture.

While campaigns in Amsterdam have been targeting badly-behaved tourists with the slogan "stay away" if your plan is to come for a messy night "getting trashed".

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says if you want to be accepted in cities, simply "don’t be a jerk".

"You're a visitor in somebody's home, and that's the thing about these destinations that we forget — these are local people's homes," she said.

"Visitors think they have a right to go to places, that their money buys them access, and that they don't need to be thoughtful and sensitive."

This also applies to "commodifying travels", and the lengths people will take to get the perfect social media shot. 

Listen to communities 

Policies and measures are being rolled out in many places to address overcrowding, such as introducing tourist taxes, entry fees, and capping visitor numbers at peak times. 

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says it's also important to listen to what communities want, because locals are saying this isn't enough.

"We should stop emphasising continual economic growth to instead look at wellbeing," she said. 

Countries outside Europe have been developing responsible tourist pledges for visitors to sign when they arrive.

The Pacific Island nation of Palau has taken this a step further, opening up local opportunities for tourists who abide by the pledge and show respect.

"That's what gets you a warm welcome into these places," Dr Higgins-Desbiolles said.

"We really should centre tourism on local community rights. That would make the difference."

  • X (formerly Twitter)

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Global Growth Is Stabilizing for the First Time in Three Years

But 80% of world population will experience slower growth than in pre-COVID decade

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2024 — The global economy is expected to stabilize for the first time in three years in 2024—but at a level that is weak by recent historical standards, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report.

Global growth is projected to hold steady at 2.6% in 2024 before edging up to an average of 2.7% in 2025-26. That is well below the 3.1% average in the decade before COVID-19. The forecast implies that over the course of 2024-26 countries that collectively account for more than 80% of the world’s population and global GDP would still be growing more slowly than they did in the decade before COVID-19.

Overall, developing economies are projected to grow 4% on average over 2024-25, slightly slower than in 2023. Growth in low-income economies is expected to accelerate to 5% in 2024 from 3.8% in 2023. However, the forecasts for 2024 growth reflect downgrades in three out of every four low-income economies since January. In advanced economies, growth is set to remain steady at 1.5% in 2024 before rising to 1.7% in 2025.

“Four years after the upheavals caused by the pandemic, conflicts, inflation, and monetary tightening, it appears that global economic growth is steadying,” said Indermit Gill, the World Bank Group’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President. “ However, growth is at lower levels than before 2020. Prospects for the world’s poorest economies are even more worrisome. They face punishing levels of debt service, constricting trade possibilities, and costly climate events. Developing economies will have to find ways to encourage private investment, reduce public debt, and improve education, health, and basic infrastructure. The poorest among them—especially the 75 countries eligible for concessional assistance from the International Development Association—will not be able to do this without international support.”

This year, one in four developing economies is expected to remain poorer than it was on the eve of the pandemic in 2019. This proportion is twice as high for countries in fragile- and conflict-affected situations. Moreover, the income gap between developing economies and advanced economies is set to widen in nearly half of developing economies over 2020-24 —the highest share since the 1990s. Per capita income in these economies—an important indicator of living standards—is expected to grow by 3.0% on average through 2026, well below the average of 3.8% in the decade before COVID-19.

Global inflation is expected to moderate to 3.5% in 2024 and 2.9% in 2025, but the pace of decline is slower than was projected just six months ago. Many central banks, as a result, are expected to remain cautious in lowering policy interest rates. Global interest rates are likely to remain high by the standards of recent decades—averaging about 4% over 2025-26, roughly double the 2000-19 average.

“Although food and energy prices have moderated across the world, core inflation remains relatively high—and could stay that way,” said Ayhan Kose, the World Bank’s Deputy Chief Economist and Director of the Prospects Group . “That could prompt central banks in major advanced economies to delay interest-rate cuts. An environment of ‘higher-for-longer’ rates would mean tighter global financial conditions and much weaker growth in developing economies.”

The latest Global Economic Prospects report also features two analytical chapters of topical importance. The first outlines how public investment can be used to accelerate private investment and promote economic growth. It finds that public investment growth in developing economies has halved since the global financial crisis, dropping to an annual average of 5% in the past decade. Yet public investment can be a powerful policy lever. For developing economies with ample fiscal space and efficient government spending practices, scaling up public investment by 1% of GDP can increase the level of output by up to 1.6% over the medium term.

The second analytical chapter explores why small states—those with a population of around 1.5 million or less—suffer chronic fiscal difficulties. Two-fifths of the 35 developing economies that are small states are at high risk of debt distress or already in it. That’s roughly twice the share for other developing economies. Comprehensive reforms are needed to address the fiscal challenges of small states. Revenues could be drawn from a more stable and secure tax base. Spending efficiency could be improved —especially in health, education, and infrastructure. Fiscal frameworks could be adopted to manage the higher frequency of natural disasters and other shocks. Targeted and coordinated global policies can also help put these countries on a more sustainable fiscal path.

Download the full report: https://bit.ly/GEP-June-2024-FullReport

Download growth data:   https://bit.ly/GEP-June-2024-Data

Download charts: https://bit.ly/GEP-June-2024-Charts

Regional Outlooks:

East Asia and Pacific:  Growth is expected to decelerate to 4.8% in 2024 and to 4.2% in 2025. For more, see  regional overview.

Europe and Central Asia:  Growth is expected to edge down to 3.0% in 2024 before moderating to 2.9% in 2025. For more, see  regional overview .

Latin America and the Caribbean:  Growth is expected to decline to 1.8% in 2024 before picking up to 2.7% in 2025. For more, see  regional overview .

Middle East and North Africa:  Growth is expected to pick up to 2.8% in 2024 and 4.2% in 2025. For more, see  regional overview.

South Asia:  Growth is expected to slow to 6.2% in 2024 and remain steady at 6.2% in 2025. For more, see regional overview.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Growth is expected to pick up to 3.5% in 2024 and to 3.9% in 2025. For more, see  regional overview.

Website:  www.worldbank.org/gep

Facebook:  facebook.com/worldbank

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YouTube:  youtube.com/worldbank

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California Management Review

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On a warm morning at 8am in Copenhagen, 70 Americans make their way by bike and metro to the offices of Rambøll. For a San Francisco bicycle commuter like me, this is a minor miracle. I’ve biked to company offices before, but my colleagues generally call a car. I listened in a giddy mood as my whole class of fellow MBA students chatted happily about the pleasant (and low-carbon emission) trip. 

Related CMR Articles

“Global Sustainability Frontrunners: Lessons from the Nordics” by Robert Strand

Many companies, finally maneuvering to act on climate change, can skip years of fuddling by adopting the practices of trailblazers. Firms have published nifty environmental goals for years but found success elusive and produced only meager results. 11   While the business consequences of this failure have been minor, the future will be different as citizens and governments increasingly demand measurable and meaningful results. Adopting Nordic methods can serve as a learning shortcut. Many Nordic firms have, through trial and error, experiments and crisis, found a number of practices that work. 2   

Rambøll, an engineering, architecture and consulting firm based in Copenhagen, scrambled my American assumptions (and resignation) about the meager authenticity of business sustainability statements. In the auditorium we learned the basics of many of their methods, but what the COO of Rambøll, Michael Thorndahl Simmelsgaard, said sticks with me: “20% of my bonus is tied to our scope 3 emissions, mostly travel”. That’s saying something for a firm whose business is working with clients around the world. Business travel is inherent in their work. Yet revenues have grown 20% from 2021 to 2023. 3  

It’s no surprise that Rambøll came from Denmark, as the Nordics are decades ahead of the US in developing sustainable business practices2. As with all wicked challenges that qualify to be articulated by the UN as a Sustainable Development Goal, 4   Climate Action (SDG 13) will not be achieved by any single action, but a broad array of actions at all levels of society and business. Nordic firms have implemented many actions, including supply chain emissions reporting, nudging employees to commute by bike and metro, and even wholly transforming business models from fossil fuel to renewable energy. 2, 5 Rambøll, amongst other actions, puts their money where their mouth is: 6  

“To reduce emissions from Business travel, we included a performance indicator […] for top 300 managers. This links a percentage of their bonus to achieving a percentage reduction in CO2 emissions from business travel, by 2025.”

Air Travel is a major contributor to climate change, estimated at 2.5% of global emissions, 15-20% of which is business travel. 7   Business travel is a significant source of emissions for firms in many industries but is especially pronounced in firms working with clients. Deloitte’s 2023 business travel accounted for 28% of their total scope 1,2 & 3 emissions. 8   Though many firms link bonuses to various ESG metrics, 9   many are unfocused (linking to many metrics, diluting all), complicated (uninspiring and vulnerable to gaming the system), or of token size. Rambøll makes it simple and significant: 20% of the bonus is tied to business travel.  

Other firms should adopt this straightforward and powerful pay structure. It positions firms for the future, uses existing incentive structures, and adjusts to the local choices of an employee.

Fitness for the future  

Firms need to be fit to compete in the future world, not the past world. Like it or not, carbon pricing, mandated reporting, and public expectations are all widely expected to intensify. Governments, particularly in OECD countries, are debating or enacting carbon taxes and border adjustments. 10   Agencies such as the SEC are signaling imminent reporting regulation by drafting requirements of environmental metrics. Brands risk is rising for the many companies claiming ‘sustainability’ as a core value - they may reek of greenwashing, two-faced and unwilling to be who they say they are. 11  

Readily Implementable

When considering actions to reduce scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions, business travel is within easy reach. Calculating CO2 emissions from business travel is straightforward, and the necessary data is already logged in the company’s expense management system. Firms are already well versed at gathering and reporting performance metrics to decision makers, so adding scope 3 emissions from company travel is entirely achievable in the short term. Using metrics to drive results is already the norm at high performing firms and signals to managers what’s important. 

Adjustable to scope of authority

To drive action, the employee being incentivized needs meaningful influence over the results being measured. Like the proverbial beach ball falling in the middle of a group, bonuses tied to company-wide metrics suffer from the problem of everyone expecting others to act. To address this, many high performing firms tie incentive pay to the local financial results of a manager’s department, not the whole firm. 12   A manager could be similarly incentivized using business travel emissions from their unit.

Business travel incentives can be adjusted to fit the scope of authority of any employee. A front-line employee assigned to travel by their management shouldn’t have their bonus tied to business travel, but the executive setting policy for the department should.  An office-going employee who chooses how they commute could be incentivized to choose low emission commuting (e.g. metro, bike, walking etc.).

A Chance to Catch Up

Global firms have their work cut out for them, and the business costs and reputational risks of being laggards on climate action will only intensify from here. The Nordic firms are by no means perfect or even carbon neutral, but they have gained valuable experience and are willing to share their methods. 

A meaningful action firms can implement in the short term is linking bonuses to business travel emissions. This will reduce business risks, fit with current incentive models, and adjust to the scope of authority of managers. Business travel norms don’t change overnight, so managers need an incentive today to reformulate contracts and develop travel-light methods.


  • Accenture. (2023). Destination Net Zero 2023 Report. Retrieved from https://www.accenture.com/content/dam/accenture/final/accenture-com/document-2/Destination-Net-Zero-2023-Report.pdf
  • Strand, R. (2024). Global sustainability frontrunners: Lessons from the Nordics. California Management Review, 66(3). https://doi.org/10.1177/00081256241234709
  • Ramboll. (2023). Ramboll annual report 2023 (p. 10). Retrieved from https://www.ramboll.com/annual-report-2023
  • United Nations. (n.d.). Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved May 19, 2024, from https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal13
  • McKinsey & Company. (2020, July 10). Ørsted’s renewable-energy transformation. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/sustainability/our-insights/orsteds-renewable-energy-transformation
  • Ramboll Group. (2023). Annual Report 2023. Ramboll. Retrieved from https://www.ramboll.com/annual-report-2023/ar-2023-company
  • McCain, M., Dowd, A., Salzer, D., Toothaker, E., & Xu, S. (2021). Business travel GHG emissions analysis: Factors, tools, and cases for calculating GHG emissions and setting science-based targets for organizations. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.46830/wriwp.20.00086
  • Deloitte. (2024). Deloitte global report 2023: Building better futures (p. 100). Retrieved from https://www.deloitte.com/content/dam/assets-shared/docs/about/2024/gx-about-deloitte-global-report-full-version.pdf
  • Lisam. (2021, April 6). 17 major companies linking executive pay to ESG performance. *Lisam*. Retrieved from https://www.lisam.com/news/17-major-companies-linking-executive-pay-to-esg-performance/
  • European Commission. (n.d.). Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://taxation-customs.ec.europa.eu/carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism_en
  • Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance. (2023, July 24). Greenwashing: Navigating the risk. Harvard Law School. Retrieved from https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2023/07/24/greenwashing-navigating-the-risk/
  • McKinsey & Company. (2023). The powerful role financial incentives can play in a transformation. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/transformation/our-insights/the-powerful-role-financial-incentives-can-play-in-a-transformation

Stuart Collins


Current issue.

Spring 2024 | Volume 66 Issue 3

Volume 66, Issue 3 Spring 2024

Recent CMR Articles

Global Sustainability Frontrunners: Lessons from the Nordics

Essential Capabilities for Successful Digital Service Innovation at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Digital Transformation in Corporate Banking: Toward a Blended Service Model

Digital Platform Grafting: Strategies for Entering Established Ecosystems

Developing and Diffusing New Technologies

Developing and Diffusing New Technologies

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

We urgently need to kickstart tourism’s recovery but crisis offers an opportunity to rethink it

tourism current issues

International tourist arrivals fell to levels not seen since 1990. Image:  Lukas Souza on Unsplash

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tourism current issues

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  • With vaccination advancing in most developed economies, we would have expected the tourism situation today to be significantly better than this time last year. Sadly, it is not.
  • Less than 10 years away from our global goal of ensuring shared prosperity by 2030, we need to kickstart tourism’s recovery for the millions who have been left struggling.
  • We must look beyond the immediate restart of tourism – this crisis is an opportunity to rethink tourism policies and management.

This should be the time of year when people are packing suitcases and travel documents for their summer holidays – at least in the northern hemisphere. For many economies, these months are critical, and millions of businesses and workers are eager for tourists to return, especially given how badly the sector has already been hit.

Last year was catastrophic for tourism and the millions of people who depend on it. After six decades of extraordinary growth, the sector was brought to a near-complete standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic.

International tourist arrivals fell to levels not seen since 1990. We estimate that the crisis has cost the world about $4 trillion and placed over 100 million direct tourism jobs at risk. The impact is so big because of the numerous suppliers and businesses that are linked to the core sector. To put these numbers into perspective, the impact is almost equivalent to the GDP of France.

tourism current issues

Slow progress

With vaccinations being rolled out in most developed economies, we would have expected the situation today to be significantly better than this time last year. Unfortunately, it is not.

So, what has happened? On the one hand, relatively slow progress in vaccination puts many tourism workers at risk, thus affecting the supply side. Tourism workers in developing economies, including destinations such as small island developing states, where tourism is a lifeline and a key driver of development, are particularly at risk.

On the other hand, travellers’ confidence is affected by the ever-changing travel restrictions that cannot be eased or lifted right now, particularly in light of new variants of the virus emerging and in the absence of sufficient roll-out of vaccinations.

Added to that, we have the costs of tests, a lack of coordination and clarity over regulations in place at destinations, limited international cooperation, the cancellation or rescheduling of flights, and general uncertainty about the evolution of the virus. It is small wonder so many people remain wary of travelling.

Have you read?

4 ways nature tourism can help drive a green covid-19 recovery, international tourism is set to plunge by 80% this year – but some regions could recover more quickly, tourism industry experts fear long road to recovery.

But tourists – and their money – are so needed right now. International tourism is a vital source of income for many countries. The foreign exchange earned through tourism is in many places a critical source for funds to finance public spending, investment for much-needed payment of relief and recovery measures, and for servicing debt repayments that have been piling up.

Tourism’s impact goes beyond economics. The sector is a key pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a unique ability to contribute to most – if not all – of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including through providing opportunities for youth and women, and helping preserve and promote natural and cultural heritage.

Kickstarting the recovery

We are now less than 10 years away from our global goal of ensuring shared prosperity by 2030. The pandemic has put our joint progress on hold. We thus need urgent action. We need to kickstart tourism’s recovery for the millions who, for more than a year now, have been left struggling.

First and foremost, we need to collectively ensure that vaccination is equitably available across the world. One key concern is that developing countries, many of which are highly dependent on international tourism, are bearing the heaviest brunt of the uneven vaccination roll-out. Addressing this will require unprecedented levels of cooperation. However, while leaders have pledged their commitment to international solidarity, their words are yet to be backed up by actions.

On our side, the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the UN World Tourism Organization are leading the way in providing clear, updated and trusted data and analysis used by governments and businesses to inform recovery policies and decision-making.

Countries should also ensure that their tourism businesses of all sizes can survive the current crisis so that the power of the sector can be tapped when tourists return. This requires measures such as credit lines for tourism businesses and the provision of social protection for tourism workers.

In addition, digital technologies need to be used to increase security and boost travellers’ confidence. It is also time to step up digitalization among companies and the tourism workforce, upskilling the sector to become more resilient.

As other sectors proceed to decarbonize, the aviation sector could account for a much higher share of global greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century than its 2%-3% share today.

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) can reduce the life-cycle carbon footprint of aviation fuel by up to 80%, but they currently make up less than 0.1% of total aviation fuel consumption. Enabling a shift from fossil fuels to SAFs will require a significant increase in production, which is a costly investment.

The Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) Coalition is a global initiative driving the transition to sustainable aviation fuels as part of the aviation industry’s ambitious efforts to achieve carbon-neutral flying.

The coalition brings together government leaders, climate experts and CEOs from aviation, energy, finance and other sectors who agree on the urgent need to help the aviation industry reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The coalition aims to advance the commercial scale of viable production of sustainable low-carbon aviation fuels (bio and synthetic) for broad adoption in the industry by 2030. Initiatives include a mechanism for aggregating demand for carbon-neutral flying, a co-investment vehicle and geographically specific value-chain industry blueprints.

Learn more about the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition's impact and contact us to find out how you can get involved.

At the same time, we must look beyond the immediate restart of tourism. This crisis is an opportunity to rethink tourism. For instance, so-called “overtourism” had been a concern in many places prior to the pandemic.

Now is the moment to redesign and adjust tourism policies and management, including through greater diversification, more innovative products and the revitalisation of rural areas. Across the world, people have started to rediscover their own countries through domestic tourism and this offers an opportunity to spread the sector’s benefits more widely.

As we enter another peak travel season with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, we need to face up to the fact that the crisis confronting tourism is far from over.

Last year, we set out three possible scenarios for the pandemic’s expected impact on the sector. The worst-case scenario turned out to be too optimistic. And this year, even in the most optimistic scenario, we will still be 60% below the levels of 2019.

But again, this should be seized as an opportunity to realign the sector towards greater sustainability and inclusivity rather than simply going back to the way we were before. Tourism is the sector with the broadest economic value chain and the deepest social footprint. Herein lies the opportunity to rethink, restart and to grow back better. But first, we need to restart tourism.

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The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Here’s the state of abortion rights now in the US

Judges, state lawmakers and voters are deciding the future of abortion in the U.S. two years after the Supreme Court jolted the legal status quo with a ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade


FILE - People march through downtown Amarillo to protest a lawsuit to ban the abortion drug mifepristone, Feb. 11, 2023, in Amarillo, Texas. Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a nationwide right to abortion, travel and pills have become big parts of the issue.(AP Photo/Justin Rex, File)

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FILE - Paul Meacham holds high a sign that reads “Ohio is pro-life” as the crowd prays during the Ohio March for Life rally at the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a nationwide right to abortion, travel and pills have become big parts of the issue. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Judges, state lawmakers and voters are deciding the future of abortion in the U.S. two years after the Supreme Court jolted the legal status quo with a ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade .

The June 24, 2022, ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sparked legislative action, protest and numerous lawsuits — placing the issue at the center of politics across the country.

Abortion is now banned at all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions, in 14 Republican-controlled states. In three other states, it’s barred after about the first six weeks, which is before many know they are pregnant. Most Democratic-led states have taken actions to protect abortion rights, and become sanctuaries for out-of-state patients seeking care.

That’s changed the landscape of abortion access, making it more of a logistical and financial ordeal for many in conservative states. But it has not reduced the overall number of procedures done each month across the U.S.

Here’s what to know about the state of abortion rights in the U.S. now.

Limited abortion access prompts more out-of-state travel

Bans in Republican-led states have prompted many people seeking abortions to travel to get care.


That translates into higher costs for gas or plane tickets, hotels and meals; more logistics to figure out, including child care; and more days off work.

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion access, found that out of just over a million abortions provided in clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices, more than 161,000 — or 16% — were for people who crossed state lines to get them.

More than two-thirds of abortions done in Kansas and New Mexico were for out-of-staters, particularly Texans.

Since Florida’s six-week abortion ban kicked in in May, many people had to travel farther than before, since throughout the Southeast, most states have bans.

Low-income patients and those lacking legal permission to be in the country are more likely to be unable to travel. There can be lasting costs for those who do.

In Alabama, the Yellowhammer Fund, which previously helped residents pay for the procedure has paused doing so since facing threats of litigation from the state .

Jenice Fountain, Yellowhammer’s executive director, said she met a woman recently who traveled from Alabama to neighboring Georgia for an abortion but found she couldn’t get one there because she was slightly too far into her pregnancy. So she then went to Virginia. The journey wiped out her rent money and she needed help to remain housed.

“We’re having people use every dime that they have to get out of state, or use every dime they have to have another child,” Fountain said.

It’s usually provided with pills rather than procedures

FILE - People march through downtown Amarillo to protest a lawsuit to ban the abortion drug mifepristone, Feb. 11, 2023, in Amarillo, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex, File)

Nearly two-thirds of known abortions last year were provided with pills rather than procedures .

One report found that pills are prescribed via telehealth and mailed to about 6,000 people a month who live in states with abortion bans. They’re sent by medical providers in states with laws intended to protect them from prosecution for those prescriptions. The laws in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Washington specifically protect medical providers who prescribe the pills to patients in states with bans.

The growing prominence of pills, which were used in about half of all abortions just before the Dobbs ruling, is a frontier in the latest chapter of the legal fight.

The U.S. Supreme Court this month unanimously rejected an effort by abortion opponents who were seeking to overturn or roll back the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs usually used together for medication abortions. The issue is likely to return .

Abortion is on the 2024 ballot

In this presidential election year, abortion is a key issue.

Protecting access has emerged as a key theme in the campaigns of Democrats, including President Joe Biden in his reelection bid . Former President Donald Trump , the presumptive Republican nominee, has said states should decide whether to restrict abortions. He also suggested states could limit contraception use but changed his tune on that.

“We recognize this could be the last Dobbs anniversary we celebrate,” Kelsey Pritchard, a spokesperson for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said in an interview, noting that if Democrats win the presidency and regain control of both chambers of Congress, a right to abortion could be enshrined in the law.

The issue will also be put directly before voters in at least four states. Colorado, Florida, Maryland and South Dakota have ballot measures this year asking voters to approve state constitutional amendments that would protect or expand access to abortion. A New York measure would bar discrimination against someone who has an abortion. There are attempts to put questions about abortion access on the ballots this year in Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and Nevada.

There’s also a push for a ballot measure in Arizona, where the state Supreme Court this year ruled that an 1864 abortion ban could be enforced. With the help of some Republicans — Democrats in the Legislature were able to repeal that law .

Generally, abortion rights expand when voters are deciding. In the seven statewide abortion policy-related votes since 2022, voters have sided with abortion rights advocates in every case.

It’s still up to the courts — including the Supreme Court


FILE - Paul Meacham holds high a sign that reads “Ohio is pro-life” as the crowd prays during the Ohio March for Life rally at the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Dobbs ruling and its aftermath gave rise to a bevy of legal questions and lawsuits challenging nearly every ban and restriction.

Many of those questions deal with how exceptions — which come into play far more often when abortion is barred earlier in pregnancy — should apply. The issue is often raised by those who wanted to be pregnant but who experienced life-threatening complications.

A group of women who had serious pregnancy complications but were denied abortions in Texas sued, claiming the state’s ban is vague about which exceptions are allowed. The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court disagreed in a May ruling.

The Supreme Court also heard arguments in April on the federal government’s lawsuit against Idaho, which says its ban on abortions at all stages of pregnancy can extend to women in medical emergencies. The Biden administration says that violates federal law. A ruling on that case could be issued at any time.

Meanwhile, bans have been put on hold by judges in Iowa, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

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