Symptoms of complexity in a tourism system

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163 Citations (Scopus)


Tourism destinations behave as dynamic evolving complex systems, encompassing numerous factors and activities that are interdependent and whose relationships might be highly nonlinear. Traditional research in this field has looked after a linear approach: variables and relationships are monitored in order to forecast future outcomes with simplified models and to derive implications for management organizations. The limitations of this approach have become apparent in many cases, and several authors claim for a new and different attitude. While complex systems ideas are among the most promising interdisciplinary research themes emerged in the last few decades, very little has been done so far in the field of tourism. This article presents a brief overview of the complexity framework as a means to understand structures, characteristics, and relationships, and explores the implications and contributions of the complexity literature on tourism systems. The objective is to allow the reader to gain a deeper appreciation of this point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalTourism Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chaos
  • Complex systems
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Tourism destinations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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