University of Oulu

Siamak Seyfi, C. Michael Hall & Jarkko Saarinen (2022) Rethinking sustainable substitution between domestic and international tourism: a policy thought experiment, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, DOI: 10.1080/19407963.2022.2100410

Rethinking sustainable substitution between domestic and international tourism : a policy thought experiment

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Author: Seyfi, Siamak1; Hall, C. Michael1,2,3,4; Saarinen, Jarkko1,4,5
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
3School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
4School of Tourism & Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
5Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, Sustainable Destination Development, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-08-24


The role of domestic tourism as a substitute for international tourism has not received adequate attention in the literature. However, the potential for substitution has become particularly important in the COVID-19 pandemic context which has significantly impacted travel flows as well as the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing upon data on major tourism destinations and generating markets, a tourism policy thought experiment is conducted to explore the substitutability of domestic for international tourism in selected countries in light of COVID-19 and other situations, such as the climate crisis and the urgent need for low carbon tourism. The analysis and discussion highlight the complexities in achieving sustainable substitution in rescaling international mobilities to domestic. It is argued that without careful changes to overall tourism provision and consumption behaviours in the international-domestic tourism division, a (partial) shift may provide short gains but is likely to fail in the long term. The paper concludes with a critical analysis of contemporary debates on COVID-19 related tourism transformation in relation to substitution between domestic and international tourism and sustainable tourism futures.

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Series: Journal of policy research in tourism, leisure & events
ISSN: 1940-7963
ISSN-E: 1940-7971
ISSN-L: 1940-7963
Issue: Online first
DOI: 10.1080/19407963.2022.2100410
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.