Excerpt from: Camilleri M.A. (2015) Responsible tourism that creates shared value among stakeholders. Tourism Planning and Development. 13 (2) 219-235. Taylor and Francis. DOI: 10.1080/21568316.2015.1074100 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21568316.2015.1074100
The sustainable and responsible environmental practices leverage the tourism enterprises’ performance as innovations can help them improve their bottom-line. This research indicated that the investigated organisations were increasingly pledging their commitment for discretionary investments in environmental sustainability, including; energy and water
conservation, alternative energy generation, waste minimisation, reducing, reusing and recycling policies, pollution prevention, environmental protection, carbon offsetting programmes and the like.
Some of the interviewees have proved that they were truly capable of reducing their operational costs through better efficiencies. Nevertheless, there may be still room for improvement as tourism enterprises can increase their investments in the latest technological innovations. This study indicates that there are small tourism enterprises that still need to realise the business case for responsible tourism (Camilleri, 2015). Their organisational culture and business ethos will have to become attuned to embrace responsible behavioural practices.
The governments may also have an important role to play in this regard. The governments can take an active leading role in triggering responsible behaviours. Greater efforts are required by governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to translate responsible tourism principles into policies, strategies and regulations (Camilleri, 2014).
Governments may give incentives (through financial resources in the form of grants or tax relief) and enforce regulation in certain areas where responsible behaviour is required. The regulatory changes may possibly involve the use of eco-labels and certifications. Alternatively, the government may encourage efficient and timely reporting and audits of sustainability (and social) practices.
The governments may provide structured compliance procedures to tourism enterprises. Responsible tourism practices and their measurement, reporting and accreditation should be as clear and understandable as possible. The governments’ reporting standards and guidelines may possibly be drawn from the international reporting instruments (e.g. ISO, SA, AA and GRI).
Nevertheless, it must be recognised that the tourism industry is made up of various ownership structures, sizes and clienteles. In addition, there are many stakeholder influences, which affect the firms’ level of social and environmental responsibility. Perhaps, there is scope in sharing best practices, even with rival firms. It is necessary for responsible businesses to realise that they need to work in tandem with other organisations in order to create shared value and to move the responsible tourism agenda forward. Therefore, this study’s findings encourage inter-firm collaboration and networking across different sectors of the tourism industry.
There are competitive advantages that may arise from creating and measuring shared value. Evidently, there is more to responsible tourism than, “doing good by doing well”. As firms reap profits and grow, they can generate virtuous circles of positive multiplier effects. This paper has indicated that the tourism enterprises, who engage themselves in responsible and sustainable practices, are creating value for themselves and for society. In conclusion, this research puts forward the following key recommendations for the responsible tourism agenda:
- Promotion of laudable business processes that bring economic, social and environmental
- Encouragement of innovative and creative approaches, which foster the right environment
for further development and application of sustainable and responsible practices;
- Enhancement of collaborations and partnership agreements with governments, trade
unions and society in general, including the marketplace stakeholders;
- Ensuring that there are adequate levels of performance in areas such as health and
safety, suitable working conditions and sustainable environmental practices;
- Increased awareness, constructive communication, dialogue and trust;
- National governments may create a regulatory framework which encourages and
enables the implementation of sustainable and responsible behavioural practices by