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Traditional Mass Tourism Destinations: the decline of Fordist tourism facing the rise of vocational diversification.

Governance and sustainability in new tourism trends.

by Giorgio Conti | Carlo Perelli

The crisis affecting some traditional mass tourism destinations can be related to the evolutionary patterns of the international tourism industry described in the tourism literature by the Post Fordism debate. Tourism supply diversification is the most common action implemented by local tourism policies. But supply diversification is to be considered a new stage in tourism Fordist productive organisation or is the pioneering phase of a new tourism organisational structure? During the 80's the dominant tendency has been to enlarge the tourism season creating new tourism products without a break with the traditional tourism supply. Nowadays the tendency seems to be more related to a radical differentiation in tourism products that create the conditions for a new scenario.

A shift from destinations to territories centrality is nowadays observable as one of the main tendency of local tourism policies. The destinations can generally support a new seasonal supply but the majority of the mass tourism destinations show a tendency to new relationship with surrounding territories to provide a more complete and integrated tourism supply. Individual experience and personal motivations are the new asset determining tourist's flows and as a consequence territorial vocations seems to be the new development driving force. As a result the collective consumption of undifferentiated tourism products is no more able to satisfy the new tourism demand. Governance processes are a core element in this evolutionary phase. Competition for limited resources between traditional tourism stakeholders and the new protagonists of niche tourism sectors oppose conflicting interests. At the same time from an industry point of view the need for effective quality standards in the new tourism sectors is far from reducing the relevance of Fordist standardised products in a new flexible specialization scenario. The main consequence is the need for relevant innovations in management strategies and in operator education. From a demand side point of view the tourists are more and more prosumers and marketing or e - commerce strategies need a new coherence and quality standards that are now generally underdeveloped, e.g. limiting the expansion of the on line reservations. Collaborative strategies are needed to face this evolutionary phase and to support a destinations long-lasting relevance on the international tourism market.