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Developments in understanding tourism policy

David Airey (University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 16 November 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine the current stage of the development of the study of tourism policy and some of the key issues that have come in for attention.


The work is based on a review of the literature relating to tourism policy over a 40-year period. Based on one of the models of tourism policy-making, it uses a five-part structure to organise the literature and for each part, it explores the issues dealt with by researchers over the period.


After a slow start, most aspects of tourism policy are now well-covered in the literature, and notably, there has been a marked quickening in the pace of study over the past decade. Influences on policy are well-documented, as are the roles of the different stakeholders in the policy process. This contrasts with the understanding of the work of the policymakers, which is less well-developed, as is the nature and influence of the different forms of policy output. Neoliberalism and governance have been prominent among recent policy themes pursued by researchers.

Research limitations/implications

The paper draws on a wide range of work over 40 years, but it cannot be comprehensive.


The paper’s originality lies in it providing a brief overview of the current state of research into tourism policy.



Airey, D. (2015), "Developments in understanding tourism policy", Tourism Review, Vol. 70 No. 4, pp. 246-258.



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