Chapter 11 Sustainable supply chains in travel and tourism: towards a circular approach
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The boundaries of the tourism industry are infinite. At the supply side, tourism is composed of products developed by a large number of suppliers, including transportation, accommodation, entertainment, dining/drinking, and shopping. Suppliers in the tourism industry experience strong processes of digitization in production and distribution processes. Especially tour operators and travel agents have been forced to innovate, to enhance their competitive advantage. Tourism suppliers that control ownership and prices of key assets (e.g. beds, airplane seats, restaurant tables) are more successful. Tourism supply chain management is defined as a set of approaches used to efficiently manage all operations of the tourism supply chain. Supply chain management originated in the manufacturing industry and limited examples exist in tourism. As a consequence, little attention is paid to the opportunities of creating improved supply chains in tourism as a strategy to enhance competitive advantages. This is a missed opportunity: advanced digitization and progress with data-driven decision making, provide opportunities to transfer experiences from manufacturing industries to tourism such as effective methods to reduce costs and waste in supply chains and to increasing resource efficiency. Still, high energy consumption for trip planning, inefficient and polluting movements of people and goods, high levels of water use and food waste in restaurants and hotels, sub-optimal stock and warehousing in shops, etc. are present in tourism. This chapter looks to tourism supply chain management through the lens of sustainable development. It proposes a method that allows researchers to understand inefficiencies and spillovers in tourism supply chains and propose solutions through a circular economy approach. Here, supply chains can be composed while using options to reduce waste, re-use resources and recycle valuable materials. The success of a circular approach requires effective collaboration between organisations across the supply chain.

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Editor: Anna Spenceley