This talk will offer ideas on how behavior-smart thinking can enhance our understanding for and ability to address the complex challenges faced by the contemporary tourism industry. Behavior-smart thinking is inspired by behavioral economics, a fast-growing knowledge domain that uses insights from psychology to explain phenomena across different socio-economic contexts (from why people make the wrong decisions about their health and finances to why they fail to be responsible to the environment even if they truly value nature).
A lot of the complex challenges in the tourism sector are (partly) fuelled by systematic errors in the assumed choices and actions of travelers, entrepreneurs, hosts, or destination professionals. This presentation will demonstrate the benefits of aligning assumptions with the most current insights from behavioral sciences. Using business- and destination-level examples, it will demonstrate how behavior-smart thinking can inform the design of innovative human-centered solutions that optimize commercial and sustainability practices across different levels. It will also offer insights on how a behavioral perspective can help accelerate the travel industry’s recovery towards the post-COVID-19 New Normal.
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