Sustainable affordances of information systems for cultural tourism: An organisational aesthetics perspective

WY Du, M Ghorbani, ZB Ni, SL Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal


Although information systems (IS) are increasingly used to provide sustainable solutions for tourism, our understanding of the social mechanisms whereby IS contribute to a sustainable visitor economy is limited. This paper fills the gap by investigating how organisations enact the affordances of IS in preserving intangible cultural heritage (ICH) to contribute to a sustainable visitor economy. Using an organisational aesthetics perspective, we explore the mechanisms through an in-depth case study of an ICH-based company in Jingdezhen, a famous historical porcelain city in China. Through the effective use of IS tools, the case organisation has successfully transformed from a ceramic manufacturing plant to a popular tourist attraction. Our study unveils six sustainable affordances of IS in three dimensions, wherein ICH aesthetics act as direct stimuli, knowledge tools and experiences. Affordances emerge from the processes of both creating and managing aesthetics. By enacting these affordances, the case organisation builds a more profound engagement with online audiences, attracts more ICH visitors and transfers ICH knowledge to potential inheritors of the tradition, creating a sustainable visitor economy. Our findings, summarised into a sustainable affordances model, contribute to the IS for sustainable tourism literature by shedding light on the black box of the social mechanisms of IS-enabled ICH preservation. The sustainable affordances model can also help ICH-based organisations reflect on how to build a sustainable visitor economy using IS.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Early online date23 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Case study
  • Intangible cultural heritage
  • Organisational aesthetics
  • Sustainable affordances
  • Sustainable visitor economy

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A*
  • SSCI


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