Most Alpine destinations are currently in the mature phase of the development life cycle, placing them near the precipice that leads toward a period of irreversible decline. After describing the principal reasons for this phenomenon, the paper aims to set forth a strategic response, within the logic of destination re‐engineering, that is based on recent changes in the motivations and behaviors of tourists. A new market segment has emerged that shows a heightened sensitivity to environmental protection, local cultural preservation and to the overall authenticity of the vacation experience. This segment, defined with several terms (eco‐tourism, nature‐based tourism, responsible tourism …), is potentially a very important market in terms of both quantity and quality, on the condition that the destinations should be able to compete by maintaining originally and authentically attractions.
The study is based on field research with the administration of about 1,000 questionnaires to tourists in one of the main valleys in the Dolomites.
The paper presents a definition (including the diverse approaches emerging thus far) and a set of descriptive variables of the tourist segment identified as “4L tourism” (landscape, leisure, learning and limit), which could provide the mature destinations to innovate the offering in a sustainable way.
The results make it possible to identify some elements of a behavioral and motivational profile of a new segment of tourist, and to identify new offerings.
The paper presents identification and analysis in the logic of destination marketing of an emerging segment of tourist.
Franch, M., Martini, U., Buffa, F. and Parisi, G. (2008), "4L tourism (landscape, leisure, learning and limit): responding to new motivations and expectations of tourists to improve the competitiveness of Alpine destinations in a sustainable way", Tourism Review, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 4-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/16605370810861008
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