An Overview of Tourism Seasonality: Key Concepts and Policies


  • Rita Cannas University of Bologna



tourism seasonality, tourism spatiality, seasonality measurements, tourism policy


Seasonality in tourism represents a key topic in academic literature. Since the first study of BarOn (1975) about tourism seasonality, this topic is still currently being tackled over decades by several authors, as well as by policy makers of the tourism sector.

The purpose of the study[1], rather than representing an exhaustive and complete framework of a wide field of study such as seasonality in tourism, is to explore the main characteristics of this phenomenon (causes, impacts, spatiality and temporality, measurements) and to focus the attention on policies and strategies in order to highlight how and in which ways tourism destinations can modify tourism seasonality’s feature. If the rather more common perspective adopted is that seasonality presents business challenges to a destination and to individual operators, it is a crucial aim of this literature review the attempt to point out the main features of these challenges and to provide a rational framework for the tourism seasonality researches.



[1] The paper is drawn from: Cannas, R. (2010) Public Policies for tourism seasonality from a territorial perspective. Cases study in Scotland and Sardinia, PhD thesis, University of Bologna, Department of Economics, unpublished.


Agnew, M. D. & Viner, D. (2001). Potential impacts of climate change on international tourism. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 3 (1): 37-60.

Allcock (1989). “Seasonality”. In Witt S.F. e Moutinho L., Tourism Marketing and Management Handbook. Cambridge: Prentice Hall.

Ashworth, J. & Thomas, B. (1999) Patterns of seasonality in employment in tourism in the UK. Applied Economics Letter, 6 (11): 735-739.

Ball, R. M. (1988). Seasonality: a problem for workers in the tourism labour market? Service Industries Journal, 8 (4): 501-513.

Ball, R. M. (1989). Some aspects of tourism, seasonality and local labour markets. Area, 21 (1): 35-45.

Bar On, R.V. (1975). Seasonality in Tourism. A Guide to the Analysis of Seasonality and Trends for Policy Making. London: The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd., Technical Series N. 2.

Batchelor, R. (2000). The School Year and Tourism - Lessons from Abroad. In British Tourist Authority & English Tourist Board (Eds.), Insights - Tourism Intelligence Papers, 12: 173-181.

Baum, T. & Lundtorpe, W (2001. (a cura di) Seasonality in Tourism. Oxford: Pergamon.

Baum, T. (1999). Seasonality in tourism: understanding the challenges. Introduction. Tourism Economics, Special Edition on Seasonality in Tourism, 5 (1): 5-8.

Baum, T. & Hagen, L. (1999). Responses to seasonality: the experiences of peripheral destinations. International Journal of Tourism Research, 1 (5): 299-312.

Baum, T. (1998). Responding to Seasonality in Peripheral Destinations, Insights, January, London: BTA/ETB, pp.A107-115.

Brännäs, K. & Nordström, J. (2002). Tourist Accommodation Effects of Festivals. University, Department of Economics, Umea Economic Studies N. 580. Umea.

Blass Nogueira, M., Casamayor Lagarda, J., Diaz Mier, M. e Rivas P. (1968). La Estaciolalidad en el Turismo y sus Posibles Correctivos. Cuadernos Monograficos N.11. Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Turisticos.

Boyer (1972). Le Tourisme. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Butler, R. W. (2001). “Seasonality in Tourism: Issues and Implications”. In T. Baum e S. Lundtorpe (a cura di) Seasonality in Tourism. Oxford: Pergamon.

Butler, R.W. & Mao B. (1997). “Seasonality in Tourism: Problems and Measurement”. In P. Murphy (ed.) Quality Management in Urban Tourism. Chichester: Wiley & Sons

Butler R. W. (1994).

“Seasonality in Tourism: Issues and Problems”. In A. V. Seaton (ed.) Tourism: the State of the Art. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Butler R. W. (1975). “Tourism as an Agent of Social Change”. In: Tourism as a Factor in National and Regional Development, Occasional Paper N. 4, Peterborough: Trent University, pp. 85-90.

Calantone, R. & Johar, J.S. (1984). Seasonal segmentation of the tourism market using a benefit segmentation framework, Journal of Travel Research, 23 (2): 14-24.

Candela, G. & Castellani, M. (2009). “Stagionalità e destagionalizzazione”. In A. Celant, L'Italia. Il declino economico e la forza del turismo. Fattori di vulnerabilità e potenziale competitivo di un settore strategico, Roma: Marchesi.

Campbell, R. (1995). “Managing Seasonality: Hotels in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland”. University of Paisley, Department of Economics and Management, Working Papers N. 82. Paisley.

Dallari, F. (1982). “La neve ed il turismo invernale nell'Appennino settentrionale”. In C. Brusa (ed.) Riflessioni geografiche sull'Emilia-Romagna. Milano: Unicopli, pp. 207-213.

Dominicus, H. (2006). Causes for Seasonality Fluctuation and its Effects on the Tourist Industry and Managing Seasonalities. Case Studies and Best Practices. Prooceding da ETIN e Seasonality Conference, European Parliament, Bruxelles.

Doxey G. (1975). “A Causation Theory of Visitor-Resident Irritants: Methodology and Research Infererences”. In: Impact of Tourism, Sixth Annual Conference Proceeding, San Diego: Travel Research Association.

Donatos, G. & Zairis, P. (1991). Seasonality of foreign tourism in the Greek Island of Crete. Annals of Tourism Research, 18 (3): 515-519.

Drakatos, C. (1987). Seasonal concentration of tourism in Greece. Annals of Tourism Research, 14 (4): 582-586.

Drobuskez, F. (2006). An analysis of European low-cost airlines and their networks. Journal of Transport Geography, 14 (4): 249–264.

Fitzpatrick Associates (1993). All-Season Tourism: Analysis of Experience, Suitable Products and Clientele. Commission of the European Communities. Directorate-General XXIII - Tourism Unit. Luxembourg .

Flognfeldt, T. (2001). “Long-Term Positive Adjustments to Seasonality: Consequences of Summer Tourism in the Jotunheimen Area, Norway”. In T. Baum & S. Lundtorp (eds.) Seasonality in Tourism. Oxford: Pergamon.

Frechling, D. C. (2001). Forecasting Tourism Demand: Methods and Strategies. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Getz, D. (2008). Event Tourism: Definition, evolution, and research, Tourism Management, 9 (3): 403-428.

Getz, D. & Nilsson, P. A. (2004). Responses of family businesses to extreme seasonality in demand: the case of Bornholm. Tourism Management, 25(1): 17-30.

Getz, D. (1997). Event management e Event Tourism (1° ed.). New York: Cognizant Communications Corp.

Getz, D. (1991). Festivals, Special Events and Tourism. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Getz, D. (1989). Special Events: Defining the product. Tourism Management, 10 (2):125-137.

Grainger, J. & Judge, G. (1996). Changing patterns of seasonality in hotel and tourism demand: an analysis of Portsmouth monthly arrivals data. University of Portsmouth, Department of Economics, Discussion Paper Number 73. Portsmouth.

Grant, M., Human, B. & Le Pelley, E. (1997). Seasonality, Insights, London: BTA/ETB, pp.A5-A9.

Goh, C. & Law, R. (2002). Modelling and forecasting tourism demand for arrivals with stochastic non stationary seasonality and intervention. Tourism Management, 23(5): 499-510.

Goulding, P. J. (2006). Conceptualising supply-side seasonality in tourism: a study of the temporal trading behaviours for small tourism businesses in Scotland, PhD Thesis, Glasgow: Business School, Strathclyde University.

Gustafson, P. (2002). Tourism and Seasonal Retirement Migration, Annals of Tourism Research, 29 (4): 899-918.

Gustavsson, P. & Nordström, J. (2001). The impact of seasonal unit roots and vector ARMA modelling on forecasting monthly tourism flows. Tourism Economics, 7 (2): 117-133.

Hartmann, R. (1986). Tourism, seasonality and social change. Leisure Studies, 5 (1): 25-33.

Higham, J. & Hinch,T. D. (2002). Tourism, sport and seasons: the challenges and potential of overcoming seasonality in the sport and tourism sectors. Tourism Management, 23 (2): 175- 185.

Hinch, T. D. & Jackson, E. L. (2000). Leisure constraints research: its value as a framework for understanding tourism seasonality. Current Issues in Tourism, 3 (2): 87-106.

Jeffrey, D. & Barden, R. R. D. (1999). An analysis of the nature, causes and marketing implications of seasonality in the occupancy performance of English hotels. Tourism Economics, 5 (1): 69-91.

Kerr, W. R. (2003). Tourism Public Policy, and the Strategic Management of Failure. Oxford: Pergamon.

Kim, J. H. & Moosa, I. (2001). Seasonal behaviour of monthly international tourist flows: specification and implications for forecasting models. Tourism Economics, 7 (4): 381-396.

Koenig, N. & Bischoff, E.E. (2005). Seasonality: The State of The Art. International Journal of Tourism Research, 7, 201-219.

Kulendran, N. (1996). Modelling quarterly tourist flows to Australia using cointegration analysis. Tourism Economics, 2 (3): 203-222.

Kulendran, N. & King, & M. L. (1997). Forecasting international quarterly tourist flows using error-correction and time-series models. International Journal of Forecasting, 13 (3): 319-327.

Kusnets, S. (1933). Seasonal Variations in Industry and Trade. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Lickorish, L.J (1988). U.K. tourism development. A 10 year review, Tourism Management, 9 (4): 270-278.

Lim, C. & McAleer, M. (2003). Modelling international travel demand from Singapore to Australia.; accessed 02.03.2004, CIRJE-F-214, Discussion Paper. Tokyo.

Lundtorp, S., Rassing, C. R., & Wanhill, S. R. C. (1999). The off-season is 'no season': the case of the Danish island of Bornholm. Tourism Economics, 5(1): 49-68.

McEnnif, J. (1992). Seasonality of tourism demand in the European Community. EIU Travel & Tourism Analyst, 3: 67-88.

Manning, R. E. & Powers, L. A. (1984). Peak and off-peak use: redistributing the outdoor recreation/tourism load. Journal of Travel Research, 23 (2): 25-31.

Markant-Adviesbureau (1992). Briefing document for the L’Amelioration de l’Etalement Saisonnier du Turisme, Conference 16-17 October 1991. Noordwijk: Nederlands Ministerie van Economische Zaken.

Mathieson, A. & Wall, G. (1982). Tourism. Economic, Physical and Social Impacts. Essex: Longmann.

Mill, R. C. & Morrison, A. M. (1998). The Tourism System. An Introductory Text (3° ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.

Morrison, A. (1998). “The Tourist Accommodation Sector in Scotland”. In MacLelland, R. e Smith, R. (eds.) Tourism in Scotland. Oxford: International Thomson Business Press.

Mourdoukoutas, P. (1988). Seasonal Employment, Seasonal Unemployment and Unemployment Compensation: the case of the Tourist Industry of the Greek Island, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 47 (3): 315:329.

Murphy, P. E. (1985). Tourism, A Community Approach. London: Methuen.

Nash R. & Martin A (2003). Tourism in Peripheral Areas – The Challenges for Northeast Scotland, International Journal of Tourism Research, 5, 161-181.

Owens, D. J. (1994). The all-season opportunity for Canada's resorts. The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 35(5): 28-41.

Rossellò J., Riera A. & Sanso A. (2004). The Economic Determinants of Seasonal Patterns, Annals of Tourism Research, 31 (3): 697-711.

Rossello, J., Riera, A., & Sanso, A. (2003). “The economic determinants of seasonal patterns. Seasonality in monthly international arrivals to the Balearic Islands”. Paper presentado al VI Encuentro De Economia Aplicada, Granada.

Snepenger, D., Houser, B. & Snepenger, M. (1990). Seasonality of Demand, Annals of Tourism Research, 17(4): 628-630.

Stratigea A. & Giaoutzi M. (2007). “ICTs and Local Touristic Development in Peripheral Regions”. In M. Gauzy and P. Nijkamp, Tourism and Regional Development. New pathways. Hants: Ashgate, pp.83-98.

Sutcliffe, C. M. & Sinclair, M. T. (1980). The measurement of seasonality within the tourist industry: an application to tourist arrivals in Spain. Applied Economics, 12(4): 429-441.

Yacoumis, J. (1980). Tackling seasonality. The case of Sri Lanka. International Journal of Tourism Management, 1(2): 84-98.

Wall, G. & Yan, M. (2003). Disaggregating visitor flows - the example of China. Tourism Analysis, 7(3/4): 191-205.

Wanhill, S. R. C. (1980). Tackling seasonality: a technical note. International Journal of Tourism Management, 1(4): 243-245.

Weaver, D. & Lawton, L. (2002). Tourism Management. Brisbane: Wiley & Sons.

Williams, A. M. & Shaw, G. (1991). Tourism and Economic Development. Western European Experiences (2° ed.). Chichester: Wiley & Sons.




How to Cite

Cannas, R. (2012). An Overview of Tourism Seasonality: Key Concepts and Policies. Almatourism - Journal of Tourism, Culture and Territorial Development, 3(5), 40–58.