A dynamic vulnerability approach for tourism destinations

J.R. Student*, M.A.J. Lamers, S.B. Amelung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Tourism destinations are vulnerable to increasing environmental change. The available scientific knowledge, however, is of little practical use as it is too aggregate, too conceptual, or too static. Various authors have called for dynamic vulnerability assessments, but the principles for dynamic vulnerability assessments have not been specified nor is it clear how to operationalise these principles. This paper formulates five principles: human agency, heterogeneity, feedbacks, uncertainty, and iteration. To address these principles, it proposes a dynamic approach that involves stakeholders. The approach’s proposed methodological tools enable system integration as well as the opportunity for both researchers and stakeholders to experience and experiment with dynamic vulnerabilities, which is key to moving beyond aggregate and static assessments. To demonstrate some of the approach’s added value for tourism destinations, a short illustration is provided of the critical challenge of sea level rise for coastal tourism in the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Curaçao. Future application of the approach can extend well beyond Caribbean coastal destinations to any other tourism destination vulnerable to environmental change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-496
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number3
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • vulnerability
  • dynamic approach
  • systems thinking
  • comparion modelling
  • human-environmental dynamics
  • coastal tourism destination
  • sea level rise (SLR)


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