Multinational corporations, co-evolution, and sustainable tourism
in Africa


Antonia Mercedes García-Cabrera1* , Sonia María Suárez-Ortega2
and Juan José Durán-Herrera3


Received: 08/09/2015 Accepted: 02/02/2016


1Edificio de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales (Despacho C-3.03), Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; phone: +34 928458141; fax: +34 928458685; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
2Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
3Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
*Corresponding author



Co-evolution as an approach to tourism sustainability has been under-researched in the tourism literature, which has mainly focused on the more natural evolutionary principles. Relevant questions about the co-evolutionary process remain understudied, especially in the case of multinational companies (MNCs) involved in tourism that coevolve with local authorities in developing African countries. This paper delves into the co-evolutionary process in order to identify the main challenges and key factors that condition the reciprocal interactions that give rise to co-evolution between local authorities and foreign MNCs in Africa. We apply a qualitative methodology based on a single and in-depth case study to examine the relationship between a Spanish hotel chain and local authorities in an African country. We find that a co-evolutionary approach based on cooperative interactions between tourism MNCs and local authorities may contribute towards guaranteeing sustainable tourism. Our findings also show how differences in negotiating methods can be one of the strongest challenges that co-evolution faces in Africa. Also, as co-evolution is a time-consuming and complex process in these countries, some qualities of the actors involved such as learning capabilities, patience and readiness to deal with unforeseen conditions are of high relevance for the successful culmination of the process.


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Keywords: co-evolution, MNCs, multinational firms, developing economies, sustainable tourism
Citation: García-Cabrera, ?., S. Suárez-Ortega and J. Durán-Herrera (2016) Multinational corporations, co-evolution, and sustainable tourism in Africa. European Journal of Tourism Research 13, pp. 23-42