Responsible Tourism Essay Example
Responsible Tourism Essay Example

Responsible Tourism Essay Example

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  • Pages: 11 (2811 words)
  • Published: December 30, 2016
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While responsible tourism is fast becoming a global trend nowadays, some may wonder if it makes better business sense than traditional mass tourism. By defining the words “business sense” from Cambridge dictionary, it means an understanding of the ways in which business works successfully and/or if something makes good business sense, it will help a business to succeed. Tourism is a huge business. In the last twenty to thirty years, tourism both as an activity and an industry has a sustained growth, estimated to comprise US $5890 billion or 9. % of total world GDP, and employing more than 22 million people in 2008 (UNWTO 2008).

Therefore, it is worth to pay a high attention to analyse whether the implementation of responsible tourism really makes the industry flourish. First of all, it is important to understand what mass tourism and


responsible tourism are. Mass tourism cannot be simply defined even not any from The World Tourism Organization. The conceptual of it is the act of visiting a popular tourist destination such as the London Eye, Eiffel Tower, and Great Pyramids and so on with large amounts of people at one time.

From a paper of the South Pacific Tourism Organization (2003), Mass Tourism tends to have the following characteristics including a concentration on high volume sales with high throughputs and turnarounds, full utilization of packaged holiday components offered as single product at an all inclusive price, often with a short term time frame and development of large scale transport system, infrastructure, accommodation, supporting facilities and attractions within destination, usually at a fast pace and often supply led.

Mintel (2003) describe

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the mass tourism industry as being ‘like most profit seeking industries [in relying] heavily on short-term gains, often disregarding long term effects’. Yet, mass tourists do not consider ethical or responsible issues like the well being of local citizens or environmental friendliness when choosing their travel destination. Instead, they consider attractive and popular destinations. It is obvious that if there are more tourists go to the destination, much money would be earned and not only the scenic spot itself but also other things that surround the sight like hotels, restaurants and etc.

However, because of mass tourism involves an overwhelming amount of tourists, excluding the benefits it brings, many negative effects will occur as well. For example, the environment can be hurt when millions of people rush to a country and begin using its natural resources, some rich business owners or groups from other countries enter to the country building up beautiful resorts, theme parks and so on that attract tourists, resulting damages to their original living habits.

Moreover, very limited share of money spent in holidays actually get to the local community and their traditional cultures would also be detrimental. Those the negative impacts of tourism (and tourists) which are well documented in the literature (Young 1973; Turner and Ash 1975; de Kadt 1979; Mathieson and Wall 1982; Krippendorf 1984; Pearce 1989; Sharpley 1994; Burton 1995; France 1997; Theobald 1998).

Different from mass tourism, according to Responsible Tourism Handbook (2003), responsible tourism is a tourism management strategy embracing planning, management, product development and marketing to bring about positive economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts and which matched the concept of the

Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, responsible tourism is an approach to the management of tourism, aimed at maximising economic, social and environmental benefits and minimising costs to destinations.

Simply put, Responsible tourism is tourism ‘that creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit’. Besides, responsible tourism is a broad movement but at its heart is the commitment to respecting the places we visit as tourists and the importance of putting the interests of those communities and their environments, natural and cultural. Correspondingly, Responsible tourism and sustainable tourism have an identical goal; it is about taking responsibility individually and collectively for balancing economic, social and environmental in order to achieve sustainable development.

Although responsible tourism seems to have more advantages over mass tourism and most important is it will drive to sustainability, how can we see it as a business sense? Would it make the tourism much succeeds? Business is talking about opportunity, if there is a chance, we should grasp it. Nevertheless, we have to keep our eyes on to the market in order to notice what the consumers need. When there are demands, fulfilment is needed. Thus and so, what does the tourism trend tell us? Market Intelligence International in 2007 reported that “Responsible travel is an merging sector and is at a stage where many consumers are aware that they need to do something but few are currently translating this into actions.

This may be due to consumer apathy or because of confusion around the plethora of green accreditations that exist. What is important, however, is how the travel sector embraces this

trend and moves it forward. ” Market research also shows that customers are demanding much responsible from the business they consume (Cleverdon and Kalisch 2000; Miller 2001; Weeden 2001; Chafe 2004).

According to a recent report from Tearfund, it indicates that tourists are also accepting more responsibility for their role in sustainable tourism and that almost 50% of the tourists they surveyed wanted to receive more information about appropriate behaviour at their destination (Tearfund 2002). A similar survey done by Stanford (2002) also shows a same result. From a Pro-Poor Tourism Report (2008), it stated that the “growth rate of international travel to developing countries is growing disproportionately compared to arrivals in OECD or EU countries where are developed countries.

In 2006, international tourist arrivals in the developing countries accounted for 39 per cent of the world total. And in 2007 alone, international tourist arrivals to the developing countries grew by 8 per cent, according to the UNWTO. The demand of responsible tourism has already come up since twenty years ago. In 1999, Tearfund released a survey of consumer attitudes towards ethical issues in tourism amongst a nationally and regionally representative sample of adults.

According to the survey result, it shows 63% of respondents reported that they wanted information about at least one ethical issue, and nearly half wanted information about local customs and appropriate dress and behaviour for tourists. Also, when Tearfund asked questions about the willingness of travellers to pay more money for holidays which had the ethical characteristics they aspired to, there were almost 60% of them said they would be willing to pay more for it and preserve

the environment and reverse some negative environmental impacts or directly to a local charity.

Tearfund did the same survey in 2001, the percentage of willingness to pay more for ethical holiday increased by 7%. Those results can support that the demand of responsible tourism keep increasing. On the other hand, the changes of tourist’s lifestyle trends also favour responsible tourism. In the light of UNWTO, modern consumers seek for experience as part of their habitual buying patterns, and this is helping the growth of experiential tourism that include responsible tourism products which tend to stress experiences over amenities and UNWTO ranks it among other tourism sectors expected to grow most quickly over next twenty years.

A journal from King (2002), he points out that travel is increasingly ‘about experiences, fulfilment and rejuvenation’ rather than ‘place and things’ and he also argues that tourism and travel are more about lifestyle. In addition, the demand for authenticity increasing drives the trend of responsible tourism. As tourists nowadays seek for the sense of authenticity, they want to see the real thing like traditional cultures instead of shopping and other manufactured or mass products such as souvenirs.

For example, tourists want to have interactions with local community by visiting, joining their authentic ceremonies rather than watch a ‘show’ for the sake of authentic experience. People are going green is another reason why there will be a chance for responsible tourism. The famous tourism author McLaren (2005) highlights that there is a growing number of consumers want their travel be less invasive, and emerging fair-trade tourism, anti-poverty tourism, and responsible tourism are changing the face of travel.

style="text-align: justify">The concept of ‘natural’ comes into people’s mind and it also tie with a range of ‘green products’. ‘Organic’, ‘Environmental friendly’, ‘fair trade’, or other green words imply care of environment become demanding. Messages from not only green groups, NGOs or government but also advertising and media, green has changed into a trend. The needs of tourists are changed. These numbers of change allow responsible tourism makes business sense. Consumers demand for a deeper engagement with destinations and local people. They originate markets like fair trade and local sourced.

They want a ‘guilt free holidays. As responsible tourism is demanding, it is a good opportunity to develop it and let it become a business isn’t it? Goodwin (2009) said: ‘“However, I am pleased to say that many successful companies, large and small, are clearly demonstrating that responsible tourism can and is an important part of a successful sales and marketing strategy. ” For businesses too, responsible tourism makes sense as there is no contradiction between business and responsibility which the principles of responsible tourism in which balance economic, social and environmental.

He also points out moving to responsible models offers cost savings, helps motivate staff and helps meet customer expectations. Besides, adopting responsible tourism makes sense for tourism businesses as it may allow them the licence to operate in destinations, he added. Once again, according to, Mr Hiran Cooray, Deputy Chairman of the Sri Lanka-based Jetwing Hotels Ltd, said: “In the future, if you are not involved in responsible tourism you may not be in business. The chairman of World Travel Market, Jeffery (2008) also states that ‘if tourism businesses want to

continue to operate, then responsible tourism is the way to go. ’ Apart from the point of views of professors, authors or writers, it is not hard to see that when companies doing their business in a much responsible or ethical way, consumers are much willing to buy their products or services and have a positive feeling of the company as well. Developing responsible tourism becomes a kind of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company's actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities and all other stakeholders. This understanding of CSR encourages a framework that allows businesses to have the smallest degree of negative impact in their operations, and the largest degree of positive impact. By doing CSR, many benefits will be brought, not only the tangible but also the intangible especially reputation.

Firstly, CSR can be seen as a reputation management. It offers a means by which companies manage and influence the attitudes and perceptions of their stakeholders. . Consumers are more likely to invest in and buy from companies which they trust, and there is evidence that engaging in CSR can help build a positive brand image in the mind of consumers and by enhancing the relationship with its stakeholders, it can have an added-value effect.

From the information of Annual CSR study, MORI, (2002), there is 44% of the British public believed that buying a company’s product that the company showed a high degree of social responsibility is very important and near 90% of consumers would have a more positive image of a

company which doing good things to the world and a company’s responsibilities to society, environmental and labour practices are all seen by the public across 20 countries as more important than its economic contribution ( Global CSR Monitor, 2001).

While doing activities such as involvement with local community, charity or education can let the company has a great opportunity to generate positive press coverage. Consumers are more likely to invest in and buy from companies which they trust, and there is evidence that engaging in CSR can help build a positive brand image in the mind of consumers. CSR can also be a non-price competition that makes you more competitive and reduces the risk of sudden damage to the reputation. In this rationale, CSR activities are a way to defensively shield a company from PR disasters.

And in this sense, CSR can be a form of risk management and a manner to gain the trust of consumers and cause public motives. CSR can also lead to direct improvements on the bottom line. By anticipating can reduce future costs of compliance, understanding how your company uses materials, manages energy and waste can reduce operational costs and integrating environmental specifications into new assets can reduce lifecycle costs and improve efficiency. It opens opportunities to reduce present and future costs to the business at the same time.

When practicing CSR in the environment way, reducing resource use as an example, it doesn’t just help the environment because of less wastage and emission; it also saves the company’s money. So, how does CSR can be matched with the principles of responsible tourism? Going back to the

responsible tourism principles, it is more than a form of tourism as it represents an approach to engaging with tourism, be that as a tourist, a business, and locals at a destination or any other tourism stakeholder which aim to maintain economy, society and environment equally.

Responsible Tourism is an aspiration that can be realised in different ways in different originating markets and in the diverse destinations of the world (Goodwin, 2002). According to Cape Town Declaration (2002), it has defined responsible tourism clearly. By CSR, as it is an ethical and responsible action, it can achieve this principle. For example, company reduces their use of resources, run some environmental friendly scheme in order to minimize the pollution; it is a way to protect the environment. It is not only benefit the environmental part but also economic.

From the social aspect, when company doing their CSR that involve community like building schools, donating money and so on, it generates economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities. By holding fair trade, improving worker’s working safety; it can improve working conditions and access to the industry. As CSR can be done in different categories, sections or forms, it can involve different parts of the destination, from economy to society, from environment to culture.

Importantly, CSR always benefit the company itself and the advantages it brings is not countable since intangible benefits are come together. Also, when there is a balance of society, economy and environment, it can help running a much sustainable development that everyone is hoping for. Although mass tourism still got a great proportion of the whole

tourism industry and it has been seen as a faster way to make money, it brings too many negative impacts. The most important is mass tourism cannot run as sustainable as responsible tourism.

It is because when the consuming is overloaded; the destination will be ruined since damages of environment, culture, society and so on which are the important assets of it. On the other hand, responsible tourism makes business sense because it facilitates the development of better experiences which encourage repeat bookings and referrals. It is also enables companies to engage in non-price competition which enables them to maintain margins and avoid squeezing their suppliers; to provide a better experience, a higher value experience increasing the spend in the local economy.

This can also contribute to encouraging repeat business and extending length of stay. Moreover, when responsible tourism is now demanding, why shouldn’t we make it a big business? And even though responsible tourism is not a new thing or a blueprint since it has been started for decades, responsible tourism is becoming a trend. There is a quote from Virginia Hadsell, founder of the Centre for Responsible Tourism: “You must know the dark side of tourism! It grows. But there are encouraging pockets of responsible opportunities for travel that benefit both host and guest. And now, responsible tourism is a great opportunity for developing which is advantageous to both host and guest.

Practicing responsible tourism can gain competitive advantages over their competitors by applying CSR. It also achieves cordial relations with external stakeholders by clinging to the broadly accepted values, norms and regulations. Therefore, the implementation of responsible tourism principles

makes business sense than traditional mass tourism from the time being. However, it is important to noted that even though responsible tourism make better business sense, can it be successful really depends on how it runs uch as the company’s marketing strategy , business plan and so on.

If there is nothing or poor support by other elements, responsible tourism will be failed either. As Goodwin (2009) said: ‘Many businesses are working towards incorporating sustainability into the core of their products. Quite often these products are the result of a well-thought sustainability concept, and yet the entrepreneurs behind it fail to reach the marketplace, because they lack marketing expertise and knowledge of the tourism industry’s distribution channels. ’ Last but not least, business sense would only be a sense and become useless without a good planning.

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