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Tourism is transforming: Are you ready? (Survey)

Calling all businesses, tourism organisations, tourism and hospitality employees, policymakers, community groups, and travel consumers to help us understand the tourism sector's readiness for change!

The sector is transitioning to sustainability, and beyond that, many are already recognising that we need to adopt regenerative approaches that give back to communities, to nature, and to places. In other words, tourism needs to be part of the solution, not contribute to the problem. But what are the education and training needs to make this transition? And what kind of policy supports are necessary? Please take 15 minutes to fill out the survey which will provide a global overview on the readiness of the sector for change.

If you would like to be informed of the results, please complete the survey to go into the draw for an Amazon Voucher or a Tourism CoLab course in 2023!

Transformation ahead

People have always travelled and they always will. Travel, and our desire to see, connect, learn, and experience other places and cultures is a key part of being human. However, tourism is a 20th-century invention. It is an industry that emerged in the middle of last century and was designed and promoted as a tool for economic development. Prior to Covid, and on the back of almost 80 years of year-on-year growth, tourism had become the largest service sector accounting for one in 10 jobs worldwide. But times are changing and it's important that we are prepared for the transition ahead.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a lot of talk about bouncing back to normal. Now the conversation has turned to the challenges of not being able to bounce back, and what 'normal' looks like. Further and sustained change is predicted given the transformation of global-local relations, economic restructuring, new relationships between work and life, climate change, and ecosystem disruption. It is no longer a conversation about if the cascading effects of climate change happen, but when.

But what if these challenges are symptomatic of deeper systemic change that is so big that we just can't see it? How can we get ready for the change we cannot see?

There is a growing consensus that this shift is not simply a pivot or a recalibration. There is a clear shift. A new language is emerging with terms like "positive impact", regenerative travel", "nature-positive" and "social license" increasingly common. Bigger, deeper systemic change is underway. Anecdotally, we know from our work at The Tourism Colab that there are different levels of awareness and readiness for the change ahead.

Our ambition with this project is to provide an overview of how well the sector is prepared for the transition ahead. Based on these results we can work with you, your community and organisation to provide the professional development, learning and skills development for the future.

Triggers, transitions and transformation

Understanding how change takes place is useful for individuals and organisations wanting to make the transition and build readiness across their networks. Wheatley and Freize's two loops theory of change has provided an important conversation and engagement tool in our work at The Tourism CoLab (see Fig. 1). It's a tool that allows us to dig into how aware different individuals and organisations are about change, and what kinds of actions they are taking to address the shifts they sense are on the way.

Fig 1. The Tourism CoLab's interpretation of the two loops model.

In essence, there is no simple paradigm in operation at any one time; there are many paradigms with some more dominant than others. They often reinforce or complement each other, resulting in economic, political, social, and business lock-in. These locked-in ways of seeing and working are notoriously difficult to undo!

Transitions between paradigms are non-linear, are often disruptive, and involve push-back and discovery that is unevenly experienced by different cohorts of actors. Some big players fail (e.g think Kodak and Nokia) and new disruptive players usually emerge (e.g. think Uber and Airbnb). In short, businesses, communities, governments, and tourism organisations can have very different trajectories depending on:

  • the triggers they experience

  • the way the transition or shift is understood and managed

  • the capacity to adapt and transform

"Are we ready for the big shift?" is the question that drives our curiosity and our interest in a future-fit travel sector.

What is the readiness of the tourism sector for change?

The aim of this research is to:

  1. Assess the readiness of the tourism and travel sector for the change ahead; and

  2. Identify the education, training and professional development needs of the sector to prepare for the change ahead.

The Tourism Colab is proud to be partnering with the University of Queensland (Ass Prof. Renuka Mahadevan, School of Economics) and Charles Darwin University (Dr Maneka Jayasinghe, College of Business and Law) to undertake this global study.

You are invited to participate in the survey if you fall into any of the following groups:

  • Tourism, hospitality, and event businesses

  • Managers, board members, and leaders in tourism organisations

  • Policymakers

  • Employees in travel and tourism

  • Representatives of community groups

  • Consumers (and that is just about everyone!)

What will this research tell us?

The survey has been designed to shed a light on different levels of readiness for change in tourism. In this first stage of the research, pending sample size, we will be able to share information on aspects such as:

  • Readiness for change in different parts of the sector

  • National differences in readiness for change

  • Awareness and attitudes toward change

  • Practices that are being adopted

  • And more!

Please support this research by completing the survey!

Survey QR Code


Note: Participation in this online survey (which takes about 20 minutes) is voluntary and you are free to withdraw from this survey anytime by exiting the online form. Survey will close on 15 December 2022. All data obtained from participants will be kept confidential and only be reported in an aggregate format.


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