Destinations-clusters have come to play a key role in tourism markets. It is there where competitiveness and sustainability can be achieved, ultimately resulting in thesuccess or failure of tourism activities. Policy and governance must therefore refer to tourism destinations-clusters. However, the structure and dynamics of tourism destinations still lack proper analysis and frameworks for optimal action, both at macro public-private level and in business and small organizations. Besides, practice has often been concerned with management, not enough attention being paid to the strategic positioningof destinations and participative decision-making-governance. This track of the conference will thus advance knowledge in the theory and practice of tourism destinations, useful for decision-makers in government, enterprises and civil society.

Vision and Strategic Positioning

In dealing with tourism destinations or clusters it is too often the case that only short term issues of demand and profitability are examined. Long term considerations regarding the positioning of the destination vis-à-vis changes in scenarios (economic, socio-cultural, environmental etc.) and markets are ignored or taken for granted. This is a serious omission, especially in times of swift and deep change. The conference will examine the state of the affairs as concernsvision and strategic positioning of destinations and how to take decisionson this in governance frameworks, both essential questions for destination stakeholders.

Development and Governance

A broad agreement exists among professionals and politicians that tourism is an effective instrument for social and economic development. However, there is no specific theoretical or practical framework of tourism for development to be found. Often, only lip service is paid to development, quality of life and sustainability. Many key questions have remained unformulated: (i) what does the concept of development entail? (ii) what are tourism’s contributions to such development?, and (iii) what types of tourism policy and governance are congruent with the intended tourism for development? The Conference will examine and debate these questions in trying to make proposals in line withthe latest advances in development theory, especially from the perspective of the New Institutional Economics and the Theory of Social Capital.

Destination Marketing

Tourism marketing is undergoing a deep transformation as a result of profound changes in society, markets and technology. The constraints and opportunities for tourism destinations and clusters deserve a proactive debate resulting in insights and proposals, affecting marketing research, planning and implementation. In this framework, destination branding has lately been the subject of considerable attention, and appears closely linked to many matters in tourism policy and destination governance. The conference will be an opportunity to study, debate and move forward in many destination marketing areas.

The Social Economy Approach

The Social Economy, including Co-ops, mutual societies, non-profit associations, foundations and social enterprises, provides a wide range of products and services across Europe and generates millions of jobs.

The principles of the Social Economy are: (i) primacy of the individual and the social objective over capital; (ii) voluntary and open membership; (iii) democratic control by membership; (iv) combination of the interests of members/users and/or the general interest; (v) defence and application of the principle of solidarity and responsibility; (vi) autonomous management and independence from public authorities; and (vii) use of most of their surpluses in pursuit of sustainable development objectives, services of interest to members or the general interest.

The economic and social significance of Social Economy enterprises is widely recognized, and their importance is growing in the face of new emerging needs. Particularly, in these times of difficult economic conditions, they are an example of flexibility, adaptability and innovative adjustment to the new environment.

The Social Economy principles and strengths can be applied to the governance of tourism destinations. This conference sub-track aims to motivate theoretical knowledge and analysis of practical experiences in establishing a road-map for Social Economy contributions to Tourism for Development.



The tourism sector is at a crossroads. On the one hand, the economic and institutional crisis is having deep effects on the tourism activity. On the other, the need for a substantial contribution of tourism to sustainable growth and efficiency has become urgent, including factors such as the impacts and effects of climate change on tourism products and destinations.

Science and technology together with innovation and creativity foster a knowledge management approach to the issues of supply and demand in different tourism market segments. They are also key factors for business profitability and sustainability in the new scenarios.

This conference track seeks to address a deep analysis on many of the challenges related to tourism markets, innovation, energy efficiency, business cooperation, and new business models for tourism.

 Science and Technology for Resilience, Sustainability & Efficiency

The rational use of resources, the implementation of management and control models, the application and integration of technologies (automation, co-generation, packaging, etc.) and new energy sources are some of the mechanisms for the modernization and updating of the sector by using science and technology for resilience, sustainability and efficiency.

This conference sub-track is committed to encourage contributions that link good business initiatives, which allow a positive interaction, with their environment. This link results in creating processes that promote on the one hand, customers’, employees’ and other stakeholders’ welfare; and on the other, a greater efficiency and sustainability. In both cases the main objective is to protect those processes against the overwhelming influence of risk factors. The above-mentioned initiatives may result from a specific strategy or collaboration of companies with knowledge institutions such as universities.

Creative Hospitality Management

The success of the hospitality industry should not only take into account the quality of its products and services, but also how they are delivered. The quality of staff and how these perform are often more important than tangible products in making a hospitality experience satisfactory.

Nowadays, hospitality management requires excellent flexibility, customization, adaptation to new demands and trust among the various stakeholders in order to offer innovative experiences tailored to customer needs. The implementation of new business ideas, models and concepts (Innovation Management) can help to plan, organize, manage and control the available resources as well as a responsible business culture and an organizational model based on knowledge.

Innovation is the axis of this Conference, as the main engine for sustainable tourism, being both creativity and the organizational models oriented to Hospitality and Social Responsibility its main basis.

Trends in Accommodation, Food and Beverage, Transportation, Leisure and Events

In order to meet customers’ needs it is necessary to develop effective systems that enable to anticipate change so that the tourism enterprise offer can be adapted to an ever-changing demand. It is not a matter of elaborating on where we are or what we offer, but rather on where we are going and what we will be able to offer.

The identification of actors, factors and agents of development and change is essential to foresee the different scenarios of growth. Technology and competitive watch, market intelligence, benchmarking and other tools facilitate not only the information needed for decision-making but also, the creation of a new vision of the organization in order to give response to new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

This Conference expects to gather research, methodological proposals, experiences and good practices related to the above aspects, covering all the different segments of the hospitality industry from F&B (with especial emphasis on culinary arts) to accommodation, transportation (cruises and passenger transport), leisure and events, and tour-operators and distribution. 

Marketing Issues

Marketing actions raise both ethical issues to consider and the ability to measure impact, i.e. the relationship between their costs and their corporate profitability.

There are many aspects that can be included within the Hospitality and Tourism Marketing such as, (i) marketing strategies; (ii) consumer behaviour; (iii) segmentation; (iv) revenue management; (v) communication and advertising; (vi) customer relationship management; (vii) brand management and corporate reputation; (viii) the relationship between marketing and environment; (ix) e-commerce; (x) brokering and distribution; (xi) event marketing; (xii) information technology and marketing; (xiii) social media marketing; etc.

This conference sub-track invites to address these issues through the analysis of those cases related to Services Marketing and Tourism Marketing and Hospitality. Undoubtedly, all the cases being developed by and for tourism enterprises would become a priority.

Entrepreneurship and the Co-op Initiatives

Co-ops can generate favourable behaviour towards the local development of a specific area. Consequently, they offer an alternative to unemployment and can also cover specific services and/or products which capital enterprises or the Public Sector may not satisfy – and if they do, it is under less advantageous conditions for customers.

The General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Co-ops, highlighting the contribution of these organizations to economic and social development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, job creation and social integration.

This conference sub-track encourages researchers and representatives of Co-op organizations to share their experiences and analysis, with two objectives. On the one hand, to spread awareness about the current role of these initiatives in the tourism sector as well as their potential. And on the other, to find out the keys that can boost improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of their performance. 

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