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Tourism policy in advanced economies: how can it be effective and efficient?

Peter Keller (Department of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 16 November 2015




This paper aims to outline the theoretical background of tourism policy, taking into account the political changes in advanced economies. It proposes presenting a new definition of tourism policy considering its origins and the stages it went through. It aims to show the possibilities and limits of promotional and horizontal policies and to stress on the need for strategic policies and good governance to make tourism policies more effective and efficient.


The conceptual paper is essentially an essay based on the long-time experience of the author in leading positions in the field of tourism policy at the national and intergovernmental level, It is a synthesis of four decades of politics from a practitioner’s side.


Economic objectives prevail in tourism policies of advanced economies. The complexity of the market and the strong presence of the state make it difficult to plan and implement effective and efficient promotional measures. There is a need for strategic tourism policies with targeted and lean instruments, embedded horizontally into the relevant state policies.

Research limitations/implications

Research is limited to tourism policies at the national level in advanced economies.

Practical implications

The paper may help practitioners to evaluate tourism policies as a whole, taking into account the framework conditions. It may help to create a body of knowledge in the field of tourism policies and politics.


This paper is a holistic introduction into the nature and the origin of tourism policy in liberal market economies. It shows that this policy has to change the focus under conditions of an always growing but indebted state. It proposes a switch from promotional to horizontal politics to create tourism-friendly framework conditions rather than to subsidise a sector where there are only few market failures.



Keller, P. (2015), "Tourism policy in advanced economies: how can it be effective and efficient?", Tourism Review, Vol. 70 No. 4, pp. 264-275.



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