To read this content please select one of the options below:

Improving tourism destination governance: a complexity science approach

Rodolfo Baggio (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)
Noel Scott (School of Tourism, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia)
Chris Cooper (Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 23 November 2010




The growing interest in complexity science as a framework for understanding social and economic systems has had, in recent times, an influence on the study of tourism destinations. This paper aims to describe this approach and discuss its theoretical and methodological implications in terms of destination governance.


Traditional research has adopted a reductionist approach to modelling tourist destinations: variables and relationships are embedded in simplified linear models that explain observed phenomena and allow implications for management or forecasting of future behaviours. In comparison, this paper adopts an adaptive management approach. Rather than imposing lines of action to force the evolutionary path of a system, the effect of different management actions are modelled, producing experimental results that provide information about the system that is being managed, and used to refine strategies and governance styles. Complex systems provide a theoretical framework in which this adaptive philosophy is naturally embedded. After a brief overview of the complexity framework, the paper discusses its validity and applicability to the study of tourism systems by using a set of network analysis methods and numerical simulations.


This paper discusses a new perspective useful for the study of tourism destination governance, providing insights into its organisational structure and dynamic behaviour.


The paper proposes a philosophy and practical toolset to analyse and understand a tourism destination and the relationships between its stakeholders. It discusses the implications of this new approach with regard to the governance methods.



Baggio, R., Scott, N. and Cooper, C. (2010), "Improving tourism destination governance: a complexity science approach", Tourism Review, Vol. 65 No. 4, pp. 51-60.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles