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Road block(chain): bit(coin)s for tourism sustainable development goals?

Aaron Tham (Faculty of Business, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia)
Marianna Sigala (University of South Australia Business School, Adelaide, Australia)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 31 January 2020

Issue publication date: 8 September 2020




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the disrupting usage and impacts of blockchains and cryptocurrencies and advocate their role as enablers of sustainable tourism development goals.


Literature on blockchains and cryptocurrencies is critically synthesized, debated and expanded to identify and discuss their implications toward sustainable tourism futures.


As a distributive digital ledger, blockchains have the potential to create a more inclusive tourism future to address debates around tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development that alludes to value accruing to only certain providers and consumers. Blockchains and their cryptocurrencies (as a financial transaction capability) elevate trust and relational capabilities in an expedited and holistic manner, democratize participation in economic systems and re-distribute power and economic relations amongst actors by influencing the way data (the currency of the digital economy and the lifeblood of tourism) is collected, stored, exchange, owned and traded for co-creating value.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is conceptual and speculative by identifying ways in which blockchain and cryptocurrencies can support sustainable tourism development goals. Directions for future research are provided for further elaborating and collecting primary evidence on whether the premise and applications of these technologies can deliver the acclaimed sustainable impacts.


The paper contributes to the emerging but controversial literature about the trajectories between technology and sustainability by critically debating on how blockchains, through cryptocurrency economies, can be positioned to facilitate sustainable tourism futures.


本论文旨在讨论区块链和加密货币的使用和影响, 并且建议其对于可持续旅游发展目标的积极作用。


区块链和加密货币的文献得到批判式的综述, 作者对有些文献进行辩论, 有些学说进行延伸, 以确立和探究其对可持续旅游发展未来的作用深意。


区块链作为分布式电子账本技术, 有潜力创造一个更加融合的旅游未来, 以解决旅游作为媒介打造可持续发展的争论问题。区块链和加密货币(作为一种财务交易能力)通过以价值共创为前提, 影响数据(数字经济货币和旅游生命力)收集、储存、交换、所有、以及交易, 快速全面地提高了信任和关系能力, 使得经济系统参与更加民主化, 并且重新分配了各种角色中的权力和经济关系。


本论文是概念性文章, 主要通过指出区块链和加密货币如何支持可持续旅游发展目标的方式来进行讨论。未来研究可以深入探讨并且收集数据来验证是否这些科技的应用可以影响所谓的可持续发展。


本论文对这个前沿又充满争议的文献进行梳理和讨论, 指出了科技与可持续性之间的多种联系, 批判地综述了区块链如何通过加密货币经济能够帮助可持续旅游的未来。


加密货币, 电子付款, 破坏性创新, 分布式账本, 旅游业, 可持续发展





This paper forms part of special section “Technology in Tourism and Hospitality to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, guest edited by Alisha Ali and S. Mostafa Rasoolimanesh.


Tham, A. and Sigala, M. (2020), "Road block(chain): bit(coin)s for tourism sustainable development goals?", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 203-222.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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