A Research Agenda for Sustainable Tourism
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A Research Agenda for Sustainable Tourism

Edited by Stephen F. McCool and Keith Bosak

Exploring tourism in an increasingly valuable landscape, this forward-looking book examines the importance of the sustainability of global travel. Leading authors in the field outline the major trajectories for research helpful in developing a sustainable and environmentally-minded industry.
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Chapter 2: The tourism system

Keith Bosak


Research about tourism has been partly hampered by the lack of understanding of tourism being conceptualized as a system or being part of a larger system. This results in challenges not only in understanding of what tourism is but also in thinking about how parts of the system relate to each other. More recently, beginning in the late 1990s. researchers began to use systems thinking to define it as a system. Even more recently, tourism has been conceived of as a complex adaptive system, with emergent properties. This recognition has permitted, I believe, with more informed decision-making about the purpose of the system. One way of responding to this complex system is thinking about its purpose, which some have argued could be thought of as resilience, which is the ability to respond to shocks from the system in which tourism is embedded within.

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