Knowledge Sharing

Sustainability Transitions and Tourism - Special Issue of Tourism Geographies (2024)

Guest Editors: Piotr Niewiadomski (University of Aberdeen) and Patrick Brouder (Thompson Rivers University)

The ‘sustainability transitions’ agenda has significantly developed over the last 10-15 years to become a well-established inter-disciplinary research field (see Kohler et al., 2019), with both theoretical and empirical literature on the topic mushrooming proportionally to the growing importance of pro-sustainability policy agendas of many national governments and supra-national organisations. Despite this, there is still very little dialogue between research on sustainability and energy transitions and the work on sustainable tourism. Although it has been ten years since UNEP (2011) listed tourism as one of the ten crucial sectors through which a transition to sustainable development should be pursued, and three years since it was identified by UNWTO as a key engine for realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNWTO & UNDP, 2017), neither has the sustainability and energy transitions agenda encompassed the tourism production system, nor have tourism scholars sufficiently utilised the theoretical advancements made in research on wider sustainability and energy transitions. The aim of this special issue is to help bridge this gap and encourage a more enhanced and nuanced exchange of ideas between these two distinct bodies of work. Given that both tourism and sustainability transitions are inherently geographical phenomena and that geographers play an important role in pushing both agendas forward, there is a critical need to look at sustainability and energy transitions in tourism from a spatial perspective and account for their geographical complexity.


Köhler, J., Geels, F.W., Kern, F., Markard, J., Onsongod, E., Wieczorek, A., Alkemade, F., Avelino, F., Bergek, A., Boons, F., Fünfschillingh, L. Hess, D., Holtz, G., Hyysalo, S., Jenkins, K., Kivimaa, P., Martiskainen, M., McMeekin, A., Mühlemeier, M.S., Nykvist, B.,Pel, B., Raven, B., Rohracher, H., Sandén, B., Schot, J., Sovacool, B., Turnheim, B., Welch, D. Wells, P. (2019). An agenda for sustainability transitions research: state of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 31, 1-32.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) (2011). Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. A Synthesis for Policy Makers. United Nations Environment Programme.

UNWTO & UNDP (World Tourism Organization & United Nations Development Programme) (2017). Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals – Journey to 2030. World Tourism Organization., accessed in June 2020.

Tourism Talks

Keynote speaker at the 2nd CREATOUR Creative Tourism meeting, Braga, Portugal.

Pecha Kucha on 'Creative Outposts' at the 6th IPTRN conference in Yukon, Canada.