Circular Economy in Tourism: A System-Level Approach


  • Sanna-Mari Renfors Satakunta University of Applied Sciences



Circular Economy, Circular Tourism;, Sustainable Tourism, Circular Practices


Tourism is a sector where circular economy unfolds extensive opportunities. Despite being classified as a service sector, tourism depends on significant quantities and flows of exhaustible natural resources. As a result, circular economy in tourism has become an emerging field of study. This can also be ascribed to the fact that the topic of circular economy is currently high on the political agenda, especially in Europe. Because circular economy is receiving exponential attention from policy makers, it has also received more interest among tourism scholars.

The aim of this paper is to increase understanding of circular economy in tourism research considering its systemic nature. The paper is based on a review of the scientific articles published in the years 2015-2022. The research question is: What are the recent developments and trends in the research on CE in tourism from a system-level approach?

The findings indicate that the previous studies have mainly focused on the micro level from the environmental and business management perspectives in the hospitality sector. However, there are many emerging research themes, for example circular consumption behaviour, circular economy and smart tourism. In addition, other types of tourism companies should be considered, e.g., spas, events, and programme service providers.  It is evident that more research is required on the meso and macro levels. In all levels, more attention should be paid on the social and cultural aspects of circular economy in tourism.