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Journal of Sustainable Tourism

For a Special Issue on

How the cost-of-living crisis affects sustainable tourism? Implications and Prospects

Abstract deadline
15 August 2024

Manuscript deadline
30 December 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Hossein Olya, University of Sheffield, UK
[email protected]

Piotr Zientara, University of Gdansk, Poland
[email protected]

An Yu Liu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
[email protected]

Camilla Jensen, Roskilde University, Denmark
[email protected]

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How the cost-of-living crisis affects sustainable tourism? Implications and Prospects

The cost of living and economic recessions can have significant impacts on sustainable tourism, affecting both tourists' behaviours and the overall sustainability of the tourism industry. Relative price between destination and origin has been identified as one of the traditional main drivers of global tourism flows (Zhang & Jensen, 2007). Therefore, the sharp increase in prices must be anticipated to impact a large segment of the industry and may even lead to poverty (Lecerf, 2016).

The cost-of-living crisis presents challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism. Reduced demand for sustainable options, increased resource pressure, and business difficulties are challenges exacerbated by this crisis (Bramwell & Lane, 2003). Tourists may adjust travel plans by delaying vacations, opting for shorter trips, or choosing budget-friendly accommodations and dining, leading to decreased destination revenue (Garau-Vadell, Gutierrez-Taño & Diaz-Armas, 2018). Tighter budgets prompt tourists to prioritize affordability over eco-friendly choices, decreasing demand for sustainable practices like carbon-offsetting flights and eco-lodges. This shift may drive tourists toward destinations with lower environmental standards or activities with higher ecological impact, straining ecosystems and communities. Cost pressures also hinder sustainable businesses' competitiveness, leading to reduced investments in eco-friendly practices and community engagement (Olya, 2023; Olya & Akhshik, 2019), negatively impacting destination sustainability.

Sustainable tourism is a complex and multifaceted concept (Roodbari & Olya, 2024) and cost-of-living crisis also creates opportunities for innovation and a closer connection to local communities and resources. For example, the crisis can be an impetus for innovation in sustainable tourism, emphasizing practices that are not only good for the environment but also budget friendly (Goyens, 2022). Examples include utilizing local food sources, promoting free or low-cost outdoor activities, and fostering community-based tourism initiatives. With less disposable income, tourists may be more inclined to explore their destinations authentically, appreciating local culture and natural resources. This can lead to a deeper understanding of the importance of sustainable practices in preserving these values. The key for the industry is to adapt and find ways to make sustainable travel not only environmentally responsible but also financially attractive for tourists in these challenging times.

The cost-of-living crisis carries broader implications. As is widely recognized, employee engagement is essential for the success of organizational greening initiatives (Zientara & Zamojska, 2018). However, when workers are underpaid and grappling with financial challenges due to the crisis, their motivation to participate in pro-environmental behaviours at work is likely to significantly diminish. This reluctance is particularly pronounced when such actions go unrewarded and extend beyond their regular job responsibilities, as is the case with organizational citizenship behaviours for the environment. These dynamics underscore the far-reaching, albeit less visible, impacts of the crisis on the industry’s sustainability endeavours.

This special issue calls for innovative ideas that ensure sustainability of tourism industry against cost-of-living crisis. This special issue welcomes both conceptual and empirical studies, particularly articles that the motivations, mechanisms, and implications of government intervention, industry collaboration, and consumer education in mitigating negative effects of cost-of-living crisis on sustainable tourism.  We also encourage studies utilizing a range of contemporary methodologies including qualitative (e.g., mobile ethnography and case studies), quantitative (e.g. longitudinal method, causal inference, simulations and machine learning) and multi/mixed methods. Topics within the following areas are highly welcomed, although other relevant areas will be considered:

  • The impacts of cost-of-living crisis on sustainable behaviours of tourists
  • Role of stakeholders, namely government, businesses, services and employee in tackling cost of living crisis
  • Innovative solutions, practices, products that alleviate cost-of-living crisis.
  • Counterfactual analysis of the economic, social and environmental impacts of cost-of-living crisis.
  • Comparative analysis of the impacts of cost-of-living crisis across different destinations and tourism sectors
  • Interplaying the impacts of costs-of-living crisis in relation to other challenges such as over-tourism and overconsumption?
  • Developments and opportunities triggered by cost-of-living crisis.
  • The impact of cost-of-living on CSR or EDI initiatives in tourism and hospitality business




Bramwell, B., & Lane, B. (2003). Tourism and sustainable development in an economic downturn, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 11:1, 1-2, DOI: 10.1080/09669580308667188

Garau-Vadell, J. B., Gutierrez-Taño, D., & Diaz-Armas, R. (2018). Economic crisis and residents’ perception of the impacts of tourism in mass tourism destinations. Journal of destination marketing & management7, 68-75.

Goyens, M. (2022). The Cost of Living Crisis: An opportunity to move to sustainable lifestyles? OECD. Retrieved from

Lecerf, M. (2016). Poverty in the European Union. The crisis and its aftermath. European Parliamentary Research Service. March 2016. Brussels.

Olya, H. G. (2023). Towards advancing theory and methods on tourism development from residents’ perspectives: Developing a framework on the pathway to impact. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 31(2), 329-349.

Olya, H. G., & Akhshik, A. (2019). Tackling the complexity of the pro-environmental behavior intentions of visitors to turtle sites. Journal of Travel Research, 58(2), 313-332.

Olya, H., Kim, N., & Kim, M. J. (2023). Climate change and pro-sustainable behaviors: application of nudge theory. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1-19.

Roodbari, H., & Olya, H. (2024). An integrative framework to evaluate impacts of complex tourism change initiatives.Tourism Management, 100, 104829.

Zhang, J., & Jensen, C. (2007). Comparative advantage: explaining tourism flows. Annals of tourism research34(1), 223-243.

Zientara, P., & Zamojska, A. (2018). Green organizational climates and employee pro-environmental behaviour in the hotel industry. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 26(7), 1142-1159.

Submission Instructions

Select "How the cost-of-living crisis affects sustainable tourism? Implications and Prospects” when submitting your paper to ScholarOne.

Read the general author guidelines before submitting your manuscript to the special issue.

Anticipated special issue publication: 1 July, 2025.

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