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Destination leadership: a new paradigm for tourist destinations?

Harald Pechlaner (Director at the European Academy Bozen-Bolzano (Italy) and Professor at Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt (Germany))
Metin Kozak (Professor at the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey)
Michael Volgger (Researcher at the European Academy of Bozen-Bolzano (EURAC Research), Bolzano, Italy)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 14 April 2014




This special issue of Tourism Review provides an original body of work that complements existing research on tourist destinations, and offers an opportunity for tourism research to contribute to broader leadership theorizing.


This editorial introduction embeds the included papers into general reflections about destination leadership.


This introduction summarizes how the papers in this special issue contribute to two streams of research: First, the papers use and advance leadership theories that are particularly suited to inter-organizational contexts, such as distributed and systemic leadership. Second, they illustrate that destination leadership needs to be treated and understood in relationship to governance arrangements, power structures, and social networks among leaders.


Sustainable destination competitiveness greatly depends on effective strategies as well as efficient and inclusive processes and structures. Existing research on destination management and destination governance clearly illustrates the relevance of these requirements. However, the human factor in the form of motivation, inspiration, and role modeling – i.e. destination leadership – is also crucial. Yet, so far leadership has not received the necessary attention in both tourist destinations and networked environments in general. This is all the more remarkable since social networks pose particular challenges for leadership.



Received 16 September 2013 Revised 18 September 2013 Accepted 22 September 2013


Pechlaner, H., Kozak, M. and Volgger, M. (2014), "Destination leadership: a new paradigm for tourist destinations?", Tourism Review, Vol. 69 No. 1, pp. 1-9.



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