Tourism Business in a VUCA World: Marketing and Management Implications

  • Adrian LUBOWIECKI-VIKUK SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Poland
  • Bruno SOUSA CiTUR - Centro de Investigação, Desenvolvimento e Inovação em Turismo, Portugal Instituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave, Portugal


In the context of modern management, we referred to the re-creation of tourism products, modification of segments, and directions of marketing tourism enterprises and destinations development. The COVID-19 crisis should thus be seen as an opportunity to critically reconsider tourism’s growth trajectory, and to question the logic of more arrivals implying greater benefits. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry went from over-tourism to ‘no tourism’. We paid attention to the implementation of the EFE concept (education, flexibility, empathy) and the necessary marketing segmentation. This manuscript aims to further develop the understanding of the marketing involvement for tourism business in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Implications for future research are also presented.


[1] Assaf, A., Scuderi, R. 2020. COVID-19 and the recovery of the tourism industry. Tourism Economics, 26(5). DOI:
[2] Bahcall, S. 2019. Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries. St. Martin’s Press.
[3] Batorski, J. 2013. Instrumenty Zarządzania Kryzysowego W Przedsiębiorstwie Turystycznym: Perspektywa Organizacyjnego Uczenia Się. Uniwersytet Jagielloński.
[4] Baum, T., Mooney, S.K.K., Robinson, R.N.S., Solnet, D. 2020. COVID-19’s impact on the hospitality workforce – new crisis or amplification of the norm? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(9), 2813–2829.
[5] Buhalis, D. 2020. Technology in tourism-from information communication technologies to eTourism and smart tourism towards ambient intelligence tourism: a perspective article. Tourism Review, 75(1), 267–272.
[6] Cave, J., Dredge, D. 2020. Regenerative tourism needs diverse economic practices. Tourism Geographies, 22(3), 503–513.
[7] Chen, H., Huang, X., Li, Z. 2020. A content analysis of Chinese news coverage on COVID-19 and tourism. Current Issues in Tourism, DOI:
[8] Chen, I. -S. 2020. Turning home boredom during the outbreak of COVID-19 into thriving at home and career self-management: the role of online leisure crafting. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(11), 3645–3663.
[9] Costa, C. 2019. Tourism planning: A perspective paper. Tourism Review, 75, 198–202.
[10] Di-Clemente, E., Hernández-Mogollón, J.M., Campón-Cerro, A.M. 2020. Tourists’ involvement and memorable food-based experiences as new determinants of behavioural intentions towards typical products. Current Issues in Tourism, 23(18), 2319–2332.
[11] Dorcic, J., Komsic, J., Markovic, S. 2019. Mobile technologies and applications towards smart tourism – state of the art. Tourism Review, 74(1), 82–103.
[12] Dryglas, D. 2018. Designing a Health Tourism Product Structure Model in the Process of Marketing Management. PWN.
[13] Farmaki, A. 2021. Memory and forgetfulness in tourism crisis research. Tourism Management, 83, Article 104210, DOI:
[14] Farzanegan, M.R., Gholipour, H.F., Feizi, M., Nunkoo, R., Andargoli, A.E. 2020. International Tourism and Outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Cross-Country Analysis. Journal of Travel Research, DOI:
[15] Fotiadis, A., Polyzos, S., Huan, T.C. 2021. The good, the bad and the ugly on COVID-19 tourism recovery. Annals of Tourism Research, 87, Article 103117, DOI:
[16] Gössling, S., Scott, D., Hall, C.M. 2021. Pandemics, tourism and global change: a rapid assessment of COVID-19. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29(1), 1–20.
[17] Gursoy, D., Chi, C.G. 2020. Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on hospitality industry: review of the current situations and a research agenda. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 29(5), 527–529.
[18] Gursoy, D., Chi, C.G., Chi, O.H. 2020. COVID-19 Study 2 Report: Restaurant and Hotel Industry: Restaurant and Hotel Customers’ Sentiment Analysis. Would They Come Back? If They Would, WHEN? (Report No. 2). Carson College of Business, Washington State University.
[19] Hall, C.M., Scott, D., Gössling, S. 2020. Pandemics,transformations and tourism: be careful what you wish for. Tourism Geographies, 22(3), 577–598.
[20] Hao, F., Xiao, Q., Chon, K. 2020. COVID-19 and China’s hotel industry: impacts, a disaster management framework, and post-pandemic agenda. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 90, Article 102636, DOI:
[21] Higgins-Desbiolles, F. 2020a. Socialising tourism for social and ecological justice after COVID-19. Tourism Geographies, 22(3), 610–623.
[22] Higgins-Desbiolles, F. 2020b. The “war over tourism’: challenges to sustainable tourism in the tourism academy after COVID-19. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI:
[23] Huang, A., Makridis, C., Baker, M., Medeiros, M., Guo, Z. 2020. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 intervention policies on the hospitality labor market. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 91, Article 102660, DOI:
[24] Huang, H., & Liu, S.Q. 2020. “Donate to help combat COVID-19!’ How typeface affects the effectiveness of CSR marketing? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(10), 3315–3333.
[25] Ivanov, S.H., Webster, C., Stoilova, E., Slobodskoy, D. 2020. Biosecurity, crisis management, automation technologies and economic performance of travel, tourism and hospitality companies – A conceptual framework. Tourism Economics, DOI:
[26] Ivanova, M., Ivanov, I.K., Ivanov, S. 2020. Travel behaviour after the pandemic: the case of Bulgaria. Anatolia, DOI:
[27] Jamal, T., Budke, C. 2020. Tourism in a world with pandemics: local-global responsibility and action. Journal of Tourism Futures, 6(2), 181–188.
[28] Jones, P., Comfort, D. 2020. The COVID-19 crisis and sustainability in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(10), 3037–3050.
[29] Kaivo-oja, J.R.L., Lauraeus, I.T. 2018. The VUCA approach as a solution concept to corporate foresight challenges and global technological disruption. Foresight, 20(1), 27–49.
[30] Kasim, A. 2008. Socially responsible hospitality and tourism marketing. In H. Oh, & A. Pizam (Eds.), Handbook of Hospitality Marketing Management, 32–58. Elsevier.
[31] Kim, J., Lee, J C. 2020. Effects of COVID-19 on preferences for private dining facilities in restaurants. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 45, 67–70.
[32] Kock, F., Nørfelt, A., Josiassen, A., Assaf, A.G., Tsionas, M.G. 2020. Understanding the COVID-19 tourist psyche: The evolutionary tourism paradigm. Annals of Tourism Research, 85, Article 103053, DOI:
[33] Koh, E. 2020. The end of over-tourism? Opportunities in a post-Covid-19 world. International Journal of Tourism Cities, DOI:
[34] Kotler, P., Caslione, J.A. 2009. Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence Hardcover. AMACOM.
[35] Krämer, A. 2016. Pricing in a VUCA world: How to optimize prices, if the economic, social and legal framework changes rapidly. In O. Mack, A. Khare, A. Krämer, & T. Burgartz (Eds.), Managing in a VUCA World, 115–128, Springer.
[36] Laczniak, G.R., Murphy, P.E. 2006. Normative perspectives for ethical and socially responsible marketing. Journal of Macromarketing, 26(2), 154–177.
[37] Lai, I.K.W., Wong, J.W.C. 2020. Comparing crisis management practices in the hotel industry between initial and pandemic stages of COVID-19. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(10), 3135–3156.
[38] Ma, S.D., Kirilenko, A.P., Stepchenkova, S. 2020. Special interest tourism is not so special after all: Big data evidence from the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse. Tourism Management, 77, Article 104021, DOI:
[39] Mack, O., Khare, A. 2016. Perspectives on a VUCA World. In O. Mack, A. Khare, A. Kramer, & T. Burgartz (Eds.), Managing in a VUCA World, 3–19. Springer.
[40] Matiza, T. 2020. Post-COVID-19 crisis travel behaviour: towards mitigating the effects of perceived risk. Journal of Tourism Futures, DOI:
[41] Mikulić, J. 2020. Tourism in a VUCA world. Tourism: An International Interdisciplinary Journal, 68(2), 119.
[42] Mohanty, P., Hassan, A., Ekis, E. 2020. Augmented reality for relaunching tourism post-COVID-19: socially distant, virtually connected. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 12(6), 753–760.
[43] Navarrete, A.P., Shaw, G. 2020. Spa tourism opportunities as strategic sector in aiding recovery from Covid-19: The Spanish model. Tourism and Hospitality Research, DOI:
[44] Önder, I., Gunter, U. 2020. Is it the future for the tourism and hospitality industry. Tourism Economics, DOI:
[45] Page, S.J., Connell, J. 2006. Tourism. A Modern Synthesis. Thomson Learning.
[46] Panasiuk, A. 2019. Rynek Turystyczny. Struktura, Procesy, Tendencje. (2nd ed.). Difin.
[47] Park, E., Kim, W.-H., Kim, S.-B. 2020. Tracking tourism and hospitality employees’ real-time perceptions and emotions in an online community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current Issues in Tourism, DOI:
[48] Polish Tourism Organization. 2020. Plany wakacyjne Polaków 2020. Report, July 2020. Retrieved from
[49] Polyzos, S., Samitas, A., Spyridou, A.F. 2020. Tourism demand and the COVID-19 pandemic: an LSTM approach. Tourism Recreation Research, DOI:
[50] Popova, N., Shynkarenko, V., Kryvoruchko, O., Zéman Z. 2018. Enterprise management in VUCA conditions. Economic Annals-XXI, 170(3-4), 27–31.
[51] Puczko, L., Stackpole, I. 2020. Marketing handbook for health tourism: Updated for COVID-19. Retrieved from Accessed September 29, 2020
[52] Qiu, R.T.R., Park, J., Li, S., Song, H. 2020. Social costs of tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Annals of Tourism Research, 84, Article 102994, DOI:
[53] Read, S., Dew, N., Sarasvathy, S.D., Song, M., Wiltbank, R. 2009. Marketing under uncertainty: the logic of an effectual approach. Journal of Marketing, 73(3), 1–18.
[54] Ritchie, B.W. 2004. Chaos, crises and disasters: a strategic approach to crisis management in the tourism industry. Tourism Management, 25(6), 669–683.
[55] Rittichainuwat, B., et al. 2020. Resilience to crises of Thai MICE stakeholders: A longitudinal study of the destination image of Thailand as a MICE destination. Tourism Management Perspectives, 35, Article 100704, DOI:
[56] Robinson, M., Novelli, M. 2005. Niche tourism: An introduction. In M. Novelli (Ed.), Niche Tourism: Contemporary issues, trends and cases, 1–14, Routledge.
[57] Santos, V.R., Ramos P., Sousa, B.B. 2021a. Is wine tourism a niche tourism? antecedents and consequences of wine as a niche tourism, a conceptual model. In: J. V. de Carvalho, Á. Rocha, P. Liberato, A. Peña (Eds.), Advances in Tourism, Technology and Systems. ICOTTS 2020. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, 353–362, Springer. DOI:
[58] Santos, V., Ramos, P., Sousa, B., Valeri, M. 2021b. Towards a framework for the global wine tourism system. Journal of Organizational Change Management, DOI:
[59] Seraphin, H., Dosquet, F. 2020. Mountain tourism and second home tourism as post COVID-19 lockdown placebo? Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 12(4), 485–500.
[60] Sharma, G.D., Thomas, A., Paul, J. 2021. Reviving tourism industry post-COVID-19: A resilience-based framework. Tourism Management Perspectives, 37, Article 100786, DOI:
[61] Sigala, M. 2020. Tourism and COVID-19: Impacts and implications for advancing and resetting industry and research. Journal of Business Research, 117, 312–321.
[62] Smith, S.L. 1998. Tourism as an industry: debates and concepts. In D. Ioannides, & K. G. Debbage (Eds.), The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: A Supply-Side Analysis, 31–52. Routledge.
[63] Sönmez, S., Apostolopoulos, Y., Lemke, M.K., Hsieh, Y.C. 2020. Understanding the effects of COVID-19 on the health and safety of immigrant hospitality workers in the United States. Tourism Management Perspectives, 35, Article 100717, DOI:
[64] Su, L., Hsu, M.K., Boostrom, R.E. 2020. From recreation to responsibility: Increasing environmentally responsible behavior in tourism. Journal of Business Research, 109, 557–573. DOI:
[65] Trauer, B. 2006. Conceptualizing special interest tourism-frameworks for analysis. Tourism Management, 27(2), 183–200.
[66] Triarchi, E., Karamanis, T. 2017. The evolution of alternative forms of tourism: A theoretical background. Business & Entrepreneurship Journal, 6(1), 39–59.
[67] Turker, D. 2018. Managing Social Responsibility: Functional Strategies, Decisions and Practices. Springer.
[68] Wen, J., Kozak, M., Yang, S., Liu, F. 2020. COVID-19: potential effects on Chinese citizens’ lifestyle and travel. Tourism Review, DOI:
[69] Vaishar, A., Šťastná, M. 2020. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural tourism in Czechia preliminary considerations. Current Issues in Tourism, DOI:
[70] Yang, Y., Liu, H., Chen, X. 2020. COVID-19 and restaurant demand: early effects of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, DOI:
[71] Yeh, S.-S. 2020. Tourism recovery strategy against COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism Recreation Research, DOI:
[72] Zenker, S., Kock, F. 2020. The coronavirus pandemic – A critical discussion of a tourism research agenda. Tourism Management, 81, Article 104164, DOI:
[73] Zhang, J., Xie, C., Wang, J., Morrison, A.M., Coca-Stefaniak, J.A. 2020. Responding to a major global crisis: the effects of hotel safety leadership on employee safety behavior during COVID-19. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(11), 3365–3389.
[74] Zwanka, R.J., Buff, C. 2020. COVID-19 generation: a conceptual framework of the consumer behavioral shifts to be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, DOI:
[75] UNWTO. 2020. UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, 18(2), DOI:
How to Cite
LUBOWIECKI-VIKUK, Adrian; SOUSA, Bruno. Tourism Business in a VUCA World: Marketing and Management Implications. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 4, p. 867-876, june 2021. ISSN 2068-7729. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 16 aug. 2022. doi: