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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Sustainable Tourism

For a Special Issue on
Digitalization and Sustainability in the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors

Manuscript deadline
01 December 2021

Cover image - Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Special Issue Editor(s)

Stefano Bresciani, University of Turin (Italy)
[email protected]

Robin Nunkoo, University of Mauritius (Mauritius)
[email protected]

Sascha Kraus, Durham University (United Kingdom)
[email protected]

Gabriele Santoro, University of Turin (Italy)
[email protected]

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Digitalization and Sustainability in the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors

The tourism and hospitality sectors are characterized by severe competition and complex dynamics (Thrassou et al., 2014; Kallmuenzer et al., 2019).  Globalisation and the growth of travel poses several threat to the sustainability of the tourism and hospitality sectors.  The concept of sustainability aims to find a balance between economic, social, and environmental development (Bramwell & Lane, 1993; Nunkoo & Ramkissoon, 2011; Buckley, 2012). Accordingly, sustainable tourism and hospitality aims to create economic value, while preserving the natural and social resources of the territory (Higham & Carr, 2002; Dans & González, 2019).

This preservation and maintenance of the “status quo” may clash with the need to innovate, thus creating a trade-off between sustainability and technological development. The latter, in particular, is driven by new cutting-edge technologies and digital tools.  However, this new technological paradigm which is shaping the underlying forces of the tourism and hospitality sectors as well as creating multi stakeholder opportunities (Serravalle et al., 2019), could also be seen as a springboard to foster sustainable solutions.  In fact, we are witnessing the rise of IT-driven innovative tourism and hospitality businesses, some of which exploit the principles of the sharing economy (Gössling & Michael Hall, 2019), and social media to build social capital and sustainable practices (Dickinson et al., 2017).

Despite this, the literature seems to have overlooked the role of digital technologies in fostering the sustainable development of tourism and hospitality sectors, in favouring the advance of solutions to environmental and social issues, and the rise of sustainable business models (Franceschelli et al., 2018; Fissi et al., 2019). In other words, while a great debate has emerged around the concept of sustainable tourism (e.g. Bramwell et al., 2017), and despite the fact that T&H sectors are undergoing a proliferation of innovations in business models and new competitive and organizational dynamics driven by digitalization (Mariani et al., 2019), academics so far only generated very few insights on the intersection between sustainability and digitalization in T&H businesses (e.g. Gössling & Michael Hall, 2019).

As a consequence, there is a need to explore how digitalization may create not just economic or financial sustainability, but also social and environmental value in line with the principles of sustainable development goals (SDGs).  This “digital” and “social” value creation process should be explored both at the organizational and the ecosystem level, which involves an analysis of the value created and/or captured by companies, citizens, tourists, communities, governments and territories at large.  Accordingly, this Call for Papers seeks for original and relevant conceptual and empirical papers on how digitalization offers new opportunities for economic, social and environmental value creation for tourism and hospitality actors, organizations, territories and ecosystems.  Topics of interest and research questions of the special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital business models to tackle social and environmental issues in tourism and hospitality businesses
  • Big data analytics for sustainable tourism
  • Impact of digitalization on social value creation in tourism and hospitality businesses
  • Digital tools (for example social media, big data analytics, CRM software, chatbots and digital assistants, machine learning, blockchain) that foster sustainable development in tourism and hospitality businesses
  • Digital social innovation in tourism and hospitality businesses
  • Sustainable economic growth in tourism and hospitality ecosystems
  • Digitalization for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage
  • Digitalization for waste issues in tourism and hospitality businesses
  • Climate change and tourism in a digital world
  • Customers’ sustainable behaviours and digital tools in tourism and hospitality businesses
  • Public policies sustaining digitalization in tourism and hospitality ecosystems

Submission Instructions

Expressions of interest/extended abstract due: October 30, 2020.

Manuscript due date: 31 March 31, 2021.

Special issue publication: End of 2021 (note that early submissions are welcome and if accepted will be available online well before the full special issue is printed).

Expressions of interest are welcome in the form of an extended abstract (1000-1500 words excluding references), to be sent to co-editors, Stefano Bresciani ([email protected]to.it), Robin Nunkoo ([email protected]) and Sascha Kraus ([email protected]). Abstracts should include the title, authorship, author affiliation(s) and contact information (including the email addresses of all authors) and keywords (maximum six).  All full paper submissions will be subject to the normal peer review processes of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

The Guest Editors welcome contributions from researchers and practitioners from around the world to contribute manuscripts for the special issue. Contributors have to follow the journal’s “Instructions for Authors”. An invitation from the guest editors to submit a full paper does not guarantee publication.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article