Tourism and social marketing: an integrative review

V. Dao Truong, Stephen G. Saunders, Aaron Tkaczynski, Sharyn Rundle-Thiele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper presents an integrative review of how social marketing principles and practices have been conceptualised and applied in tourism studies. A systematic literature search was conducted, which found 41 relevant tourism-related journal articles published from 1971 to January 2024. Thirty-six articles self-identified as social marketing, while five studies did not self-identify as social marketing. Findings show most tourism studies conceptualise social marketing from a downstream or micro- perspective, seeking to influence behaviour change in individual tourists. Studies applying an upstream or systems perspective in tourism are rare, indicating opportunities for future research in tourism to align approaches with contemporary social marketing practice. Often theory and model use are not reported, making it challenging to identify the requisite key success factors for effective social marketing interventions. Not only are the impacts of interventions rarely documented, but they also tend to be short-term. Long-term evaluation of interventions, particularly at the macro-level, is missing. A model of social marketing application in tourism is suggested that integrates approaches across the downstream, community, upstream, and macro- levels. Implications for further utilisation of social marketing to achieve sustainable tourism are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • behaviour change
  • climate change
  • environment
  • Sustainability
  • tourism systems

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