Family firms in tourism and hospitality (FFTH) are often characterized by their long-term orientation and strong “familiness” and embeddedness in tourism destinations. Families however are often confronted with and have to adapt to global change and can sometimes struggle with drastic changes in the tourism industry. And while the current COVID-19 pandemic will mean even more challenges for FFTH, it may also lead to opportunities for responsible tourism development. This chapter attempts to shed light on FFTH’s ability to manage change, discussing their specific characteristics through the lens of sustainability and responsibility. The following chapters will analyze FFTH characteristics to develop recommendations for FFTH in supporting responsible tourism, and present ideas for a tourism policy that promotes FFTH.
Crises In Tourism
All tourism systems face numerous vulnerabilities (Lew, 2014). The internationalization of tourism has made this sector more susceptible to global risks (Jessop, 1999). Tourism is argued as being impacted by the global change which forms contemporary destinations and influences them (Cheer and Lew, 2018). In other words: global change determines the current state of tourism and leads to policy, governance, and management challenges (Dogru et al., 2019; Luthe and Wyss, 2014). In this vein, tourism is extremely dependent on external factors (Ritchie, 2004). A globalized, accelerated world with its respective change processes requires tourism to respond and adapt to changing environmental, social, and economic conditions (Luthe and Wyss, 2014). Moreover, the increasing number of crises and disasters affecting the tourism industry makes it necessary to react to these changes as effectively as possible (Prayag, 2020).
The current COVID-19 crisis is however regarded as the “deadliest epidemy” (Fotiadis et al., 2021) compared to events such as the SARS, Ebola, and H1N1 epidemics, or the 2008 financial crisis. Although the tourism industry has proven itself resilient, the COVID-19 crisis with its global, multidimensional, and interconnected impacts is intensively challenging and questioning current tourism systems and values (Sigala, 2020). Moreover, the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic is viewed as a larger-scale crisis compared to previous ones, particularly due to its global scope and widespread shutdown of tourism, business activities, and general activity (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020). One year after the COVID-19 outbreak, uncertainty remains about when normal tourism activity can resume. In this regard, the pandemic is still impacting socio-cultural and political systems as well as the global economy (Sigala, 2020). But despite the absence of tourists, there is a need to develop recovery strategies that will set the pathway for future tourism (Assaf and Scuderi, 2020). As the tourism and hospitality industries prepare for recovery (Fotiadis et al., 2021), recommendations for their upcoming strategies are needed.