The collaborative economy and tourism: Critical perspectives, questionable claims and silenced voices

Dianne Dredge*, Szilvia Gyimóthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


House swapping, ridesharing, voluntourism, couchsurfing, dinner hosting and similar innovations epitomize the collaborative economy. The rise of the collaborative economy, also known as collaborative consumption, the sharing economy and peer-to-peer consumption, has been fuelled by a range of social, economic and technological factors, including a shift away from ownership towards temporary access to goods; the use of technology mediated transactions between producers and consumers; direct host-guest relationships that contribute to a higher level of perceived authenticity of tourism experiences; and higher levels of consumer risk-taking balanced against mechanisms such as peer-to-peer feedback designed to engender trust between producers and consumers. This paper explores and critically assesses the collaborative economy and its implications for tourism industrial systems. It achieves this by mapping out the current knowledge dynamics characterizing tourism and the collaborative economy, paying particular attention to the asymmetries of knowledge that are emerging. The paper then identifies and critically discusses five pervasive claims being made about the collaborative economy, arguing for a balanced assessment of such claims. Highlighting these claims allows us to pursue a more reflective research agenda and leads to a more informed, evidence-based assessment of the collaborative economy and tourism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)286-302
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative consumption
  • Collaborative economy
  • Critical studies
  • Exchange
  • Sharing
  • Tourism

Cite this