A Theoretical Approach to Tourism Sustainability

Casagrandi, R. & Rinaldi, S. (2002). A Theoretical Approach to Tourism Sustainability. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-02-051

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The aim of this paper is to show that it is difficult, if not impossible, to find policies that guarantee that tourism can be maintained for a long time without severely impacting on the environment. The analysis is purely theoretical and is based on very simple and general assumptions on the interactions between the three main compartments of the system: tourists, environment, and capital. These assumptions are encapsulated in a so-called minimal model which is used to predict the economic and environmental impact of any given policy. The paper has three merits. Firstly, it introduces the approach of minimal descriptive models in the context of tourism, which has been traditionally dominated by the use of black-box econometric models. Secondly, the specific results are quite interesting. It is shown, in fact, that tourism sustainability can be obtained provided the agents a re cautious in reinvesting their benefits and willing to protect the environment, and that sustainability is very often at risk, since accidental shocks can easily trigger a switch from a profitable and compatible behavior to an unprofitable or incompatible one. All these results are in line with conventional wisdom and observations, but the interesting fact is that they are here theoretically derived from a few very simple and abstract premises. Finally, the third merit is not strictly related with the problem of tourism but with the general topic of sustainability. In fact, this is one of the first times that the notion of sustainability, which is more and more pervasive in the field of resource management, is strictly interpreted in terms of structural properties of the attractors of a dynamic system. This creates an important and promising bridge between sustainability and bifurcation theory, one of the most important chapters of systems analysis.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Adaptive Dynamics Network (ADN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:14
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:17
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/6734

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