Towards a future conceptualization of destination resilience: exploring the role of actors, agency and resilience narratives

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Purpose: Despite the widespread use and application of resilience, much uncertainty about the conceptualization and operationalization in the context of tourism destinations still exists. The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual elaboration on destination resilience and to introduce a model for an improved understanding of the concept. Design/methodology/approach: Taking a conceptual research approach, this paper seeks to untangle the fuzziness surrounding the destination and resilience concept by providing a new interpretation that synthesizes theories and concepts from various academic disciplines. It analyses the current debate to derive theoretic baselines and conceptual elements that subsequently inform the development of a new “Destination Resilience Model”. Findings: The contribution advances the debate by proposing three key themes for future resilience conceptualizations: (1) the value of an actor-centered and agency-based resilience perspective; (2) the importance of the dynamic nature of resilience and the (mis)use of measurement approaches; (3) the adoption of a dualistic resilience perspective distinguishing specified and general resilience. Building on these propositions, we introduce a conceptual model that innovatively links elements central to the concepts of destination and risk and combines different narratives of resilience. Originality/value: The contribution advances the debate surrounding destination resilience by critically examining the conceptualization and operationalization of destination resilience within previous research and by subsequently proposing a “Destination Resilience Model” that picks up central element of the three new frontiers identified in the conceptually driven review. The innovative integration strengthens the comprehension of the resilience concept at destination level and supports building future capacities to manage immediate adverse impacts as well as novel and systemic risks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Tourism Futures
Number of pages15
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26.03.2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, Eva Posch, Elena Eckert and Benni Thiebes.