Sharing Economy


Unravelling Disruption, Innovation and Transformations in Travel and Tourism, Special issue Journal of Travel Research; Deadline 31 Dec 2017

Journal of Travel Research
Special issue on

Sharing economy: unravelling disruption, innovation and transformations in travel and tourism

Guest editors

Professor Marianna Sigala
University of South Australia, Australia

Dr Tom Chen
University of Newcastle, Australia

The scale and scope of the sharing economy continue to expand at exponential rates in all aspects of the tourism and travel industry including: accommodation; transportation; catering – food and beverage; travel guiding and tour operating. The sharing economy has elicited the industry to rethink its definition of tourism and the ways that people will travel and experience tourism in the future, paying particular attention to the broarder stakeholders’ experience in creating core business value. However, the sharing economy brings as many disruptions as it does disputes in the industry. On the one hand, the sharing economy is causing a plethora of disruptions and knock-on effects to entire economic value systems and the socio-economic fabric of economies. On the other hand, disputes among traditional business suppliers argue that the sharing economy bears no difference to a conventional exchange business model and simply offers ways of avoiding regulations, exploiting employees and deceiving customers under the guise of sharing. Nevertheless, more disruptive initiatives are thriving under the sharing economy than conventional business models and they continue to revolutionise the sector and transform tourism.

The sharing economy is widely viewed as a network of connected individuals, communities, and/or organisations, and create value through interaction and integrating idle resources, and revolutionises the customer’s role as a service provider for firms and other customers. The sharing economy has transformed the way tourists and travellers search, book, travel, experience and pay for their tourism and travel experiences. By empowering micro-entrepreneurship and a new breed of entrepreneurs and sub-economies supporting the former, the sharing economy is also causing disruptive changes in living and employment patterns, entrepreneurial opportunities, competitive forces and the structure of economic systems, quality of life and the well-being of citizens and destination communities.

Previous research about the sharing economy in tourism and travel has focused on studying the platform (its business models and functionality), the exchanging actors (e.g. motivations and benefits sought by hosts and guests) as well as the socio-economic and legal impacts of the sharing exchanges on tourism destinations. However, the sharing economy should not only be viewed as a complementary and disruptive new experience and offering in tourism and travel. Future research is needed to also study this new type of micro-entrepreneur and the sub-economies emerging from sharing ecosystems, and their implications on the structure, the operations and the socio-cultural fabric of the economies. Further, competition amongst sharing economy operators provide future business challenges that spark new theories and future research. Hence, there are still many issues and questions that the research has not yet addressed, such as:

  • Whether and how the sharing economy is introducing disruption and innovation in the traditional economy and/or whether the two economies are merging and blurring;
  • The ways traditional companies should respond to such disruptions and better design their business models;
  • The transformational processes and implications of the sharing economy in converting and empowering citizens to become from full-time workers to lifestyle micro-entrepreneurs
  • Does this new form of micro-entrepreneurship in the sharing economy require new entrepreneurial and business skills, new labour and business legislation, and what are they?
  • How does micro-entrepreneurship impact the lives of individual people, their families and their communities?
  • How should educational providers and policy makers respond to such trends?
  • Does the sharing economy create any ethical and/or legal implications such as discrimination, trust, empowerment of female and under-employed people?
  • Whether and how the sharing economy is transforming the profile, preferences and expectations of travel and tourism demand

In this vein, this special issue aims to contribute to our understanding of the evolution, the disruptions innovations, and solutions to disputes caused by the sharing economy in tourism and travel by paying attention to: all the stakeholders being involved and/or affected by the sharing economy; and all the economic, socio-cultural and legal implications of the stakeholders’ social practices. Special interest will be given to the continuously evolving but often ignored role of micro-entrepreneurs in sharing ecosystems, as well as on the impacts of the sharing economy on well-being, employment patterns, entrepreneurial opportunities and the socio-cultural fabric of economies. The special issue welcomes theoretical, empirical, experimental, and case study research contributions. All contributions should clearly address the practical and theoretical implications of the research reported.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Entrepreneurship in the sharing economy
  • Impacts of entrepreneurship on economic and socio-cultural issues such as: employment patterns; capital funding; well-being and quality of life; communities’ coherence, values and systems;
  • Disruptions in the value chain and systems in tourism and travel
  • Business models in the sharing and traditional economy
  • Educational needs and skills for the sharing economy
  • Policy making implications of the sharing economy
  • Innovation in the sharing economy
  • Tourism and travel demand in the sharing economy
  • Ethical and legal issues in the sharing economy


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Review Process

Each paper submitted to this special issue is subject to the standard review procedures and rules of JTR, i.e.:

  • reviewers will be selected for a double-blind review process.
  • Based on the reviewers’ recommendation, the guest editors and the Editor-in-Chief will decide whether the particular submission should be accepted as it is, revised and re-submitted, or rejected.

Key Dates

  • Deadline for submitting the full papers: 31st of December 2017
  • Special issue expected publication date:
  • accepted papers will first be formally published online shortly after acceptance
  • publication of printed special issue: late 2018 or early 2019

Submission guidelines:

All papers should follow the submission guidelines of the JTR.

All papers will be assessed and reviewed according to the JTR review policies.

General submission guidelines for authors can also be found in below link:

Please submit your manuscript by using the journal’s online submission platform: