Tourism Management
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Tourism management is defined as the orchestration of resources towards creating value for a range of stakeholders through tourism and leisure activities. The tourism industry includes a range of interlinked businesses and organizations that deliver the tourism product (Leiper, 2004). Tourism is effectively an amalgam of different economic activities delivered by a range of different sectors (Cooper, 2021). These sectors include attractions, accommodation, hospitality, catering, entertainment, the organization and management of events, intermediaries and transportation that operate a range of enterprises at the destination. The coordination of different tourism organizations, with different aims, objectives, management structures and ownership, is a prerequisite of effective tourism management. Destination management, marketing and branding is therefore particularly challenging (Buhalis and Park, 2021). Public sector organizations provide the infrastructure for tourism to flourish and manage the sustainability of regions and destinations. Destinations and local residents own the resources that travellers consume/experience to satisfy their needs and wants. An entire tourism ecosystem, which includes entrepreneurs and investors, employees, intermediaries and the public sector, has emerged to facilitate tourism activity and the co-creation of value (Buhalis, 2000; Cooper, 2021). Resources include natural and human-made resources, human resources, skills and competencies, financial, technological and knowledge resources. Tourism management is required for the coordination of all stakeholders and the smart utilization of resources towards co-creating value for all in a sustainable way (Buhalis, 2020).

Management involves the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, often working together in groups, effectively and efficiently accomplish preselected aims and objectives. Management engages in various activities and processes to support the planning, decision making, organizing, leading, motivating and controlling the human resources as well as deploying the financial, physical and information resources of the organization to reach its goals (Koontz, Weihrich and Cannice, 2020). Management includes strategic aspects where long-term options are explored and planned; tactical management as the intermediate-range (one to three years) actions designed to implement the strategic objectives; and operational management that delivers functional processes to achieve goals and objectives in the short term. Mintzberg (2011) shows that in the real world, managers cannot be the reflective, systematic planners idealized in most management books. Hence, management is a dynamic process in which managers accomplish their purpose by working through information, through people, and, more rarely, through direct action, simultaneously, determining the balance best suited to their unique situation.

In tourism, as resources are often public, the impacts and the actions of one organization often have direct consequences for all stakeholders. Tourism management is therefore engaged in both the micro/enterprise and macro/destination levels. Tourism management and tourism businesses usually operate within very volatile political, economic and socio-cultural environments (Beech and Chadwick, 2005). Managing tourism demand and supply brings a range of challenges as several factors affect the competitive environment for tourism businesses and organizations (Page, 2019).

Tourism management is a goal-oriented activity that involves the coordination and administration of the tourism system activities to achieve the goals, objectives, purpose and vision of a tourism organization or destination. Tourism management should be performed in a collective way that takes into consideration the interests and responsibilities of all stakeholders (Buhalis, 2000). Developing organizational or destination strategies needs to be in harmony with local vulnerabilities, whilst sustainability of resources is ensured (Swarbrooke, 1999). The process is ongoing and requires constant monitoring and adjustment. The fact that most resources are publicly owned, whilst most assets are private and aim for profit, makes the management and organization of tourism incredibly complex. Tourism management is also an intangible element of tourism that determines the competitiveness of destinations and operators. It is nonetheless essential for all tourism organizations and destinations to ensure the co-creation of value for all stakeholders in the long term.

Each tourism organization can be viewed as a value chain or as a system that requires overarching management to be effective, as illustrated in the table. The systems approach applies to all tourism organizations and destinations, irrespective of their nature, type, structure and size. As a system, all tourism functions, activities and processes of the organization or destination are linked. Effective management is therefore essential to coordinate these to achieve desired outcomes. Tourism organizations and destinations consist of myriad stakeholders, each with different needs, expectations, motives and beliefs (Cooper, 2021). Global alliances are often formulated in tourism management to coordinate different stakeholders (Crotts, Buhalis and March, 2000). Management draws together these stakeholders to bind them to the organization’s goals. This requires persuasion, vision, teamwork and coordination.

p. 442Managing the tourism system

Manage Inputs Achieve Outcomes
Natural and human-made resources Positive impacts and sustainability
Investment, financial and technological resources Competitiveness and profitability
Business functions, knowledge and innovation Good value for consumers
Human resources, skills and competencies Decent work, elimination of poverty, well-being of employees and society
Resilience and crisis management planning Business continuity and economic sustainability
Stakeholders Value Acquired
Residents Prosperity, wealth, sustainability
Entrepreneurs and investors Return on investment and growth
Employees Decent work, elimination of poverty, well-being
Public sector Fair play, taxes and sustainability
Intermediaries Return on investment and profitability
Tourists/travellers Transformative memorable experiences and value for money and time

Tourism management controls the inputs to the system, develops processes for the development of the product and facilitates the co-creation of useful outcomes. The system is set within a socio-economic environment, including social, political, legal, technological, environmental and economic factors (Cooper et al., 2018). Management must monitor these factors and make adjustments to the management process of the system as the external environment changes. To achieve these outcomes, tourism management uses planning, organizing, directing and controlling the resources as inputs of the organization or destination. Tourism management needs to deploy these available resources efficiently and effectively to achieve organizational goals, purpose and vision – that is, the outcomes of the tourism system and the benefits expected for all stakeholders (Buhalis, 2000; Pender and Sharpley, 2005).

These resources include natural and human-made resources that are provided at the macro/destination level. Tourism management should ensure that positive impacts are created and distributed to all stakeholders whilst the sustainability of the resources is maintained. p. 443Investments, financial and technological resources as well as competence should lead to tourism competitiveness and profitability, generating sufficient returns to improve well-being for the communities. Business functions, knowledge and innovation should enable tourism organizations and destinations to provide good value for consumers, satisfy tourism demand and develop customer loyalty and advocacy. The human resources, skills and competencies used in the system should be compensated and ensure decent work, elimination of poverty and well-being of employees and society. As the tourism environment is extremely volatile, resilience and crisis management planning should also lead to business continuity and economic sustainability.

Tourism management engages all those elements and factors that contribute to tourism consumption and production. Leiper (2004) established an entire tourism ecosystem that consists of consumption and production and the experiences that are generated. As tourists move from a generating or source region – which is the permanent residence of the tourist – this is the place where the journey begins and ends. The transit route – that is, the path through the region across which the tourist must travel to reach their destination – requires the management of transportation and dissemination of information through a plethora of intermediaries. The destination region is the region the tourist chooses to visit and is a core element of tourism. This is where the magic happens, when all actors and stakeholders meet to co-create value in harmony. The needs and wants of each stakeholder need to be addressed responsibly in a way that adds value to all stakeholders (Buhalis, 2000).

Tourism management is complex as it is affected by a range of issues, including globalization, global conflict, sustainability, climate change, developments in digital technology and the rise of the sharing economy (Inkson and Minnaert, 2018). Okumus et al. (2019) suggest that the rapidly changing socio-economic and political global landscape and the cultural and socio-economic complexities of hospitality and tourism organizations requires careful management of finance, business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Tourism management requires tourism organizations and destinations to critically examine emerging trends and future considerations through a social, economic, technological, environmental and political analysis (Cooper et al., 2018). Tourism destinations and businesses are becoming increasingly prone to the impacts of crises and disasters due to global environmental change and security risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has generated an enormously challenging external environment. Innovative and adaptive management is therefore required for success in the tourism industry (Weaver and Lawton, 2016). A strategic approach is required to manage the nature of tourism crises and disasters through crisis and disaster planning, response, and longer-term recovery and knowledge management strategies (Ritchie, 2009).

Tourism management will need to be smart in the future as technological innovations bring all stakeholders together in tourism service ecosystems (Buhalis, 2020). Recent developments in big data, artificial intelligence (AI), political external environment, social media and eMarketing, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, absorptive capacity, alternative realities, and innovation (Evans, 2019) demonstrate that tourism management should be holistic and integrated. Technological innovations, including AI and robots, change the entire production processes as well as consumer interactions. Technology-empowered high-tech and high-touch tourism experiences should lead to value co-creation for all stakeholders. Smart environments eventually introduce ambient intelligence and transform tourism management as they disrupt industry structures, processes and practices, service innovations, and strategy. The competitiveness of tourism management will be increasingly determined by human–computer interactions, natural language and gesture processing, AI and neuromarketing. Using smartness and smart systems can also support destiantion response and resilience to address challenges and crises (Bethune, Buhalis and Miles, 2022). Managing the entire smart tourism ecosystem dynamically, using collective agility, can support the creation of competitive advantage for tourism destinations and organizations (Buhalis, 2020).


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