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Impact of tourism operators' environmental credentials on tourist product choices

Project Member(s): Harris, R., Small, J., Wearing, S., Veal, A.

Funding or Partner Organisation: CRC for Sustainable Tourism (Cooperative Research Centre In Sustainable Tourism)

Start year: 1999

Summary: The incentive for tourism operators to adopt sustainable environmental management practices and to seek environmental accreditation has generally been based on two points of self interest: the potential to reduce operating costs, and the belief that tourists are taking such matters into account when they are making product choices. However, there is very little evidence to support the second point. This project, then, seeks to determine whether the adoption of environmental management practices or procuring some form of environmental accreditation do produce any marketing advantages for tourism operators. The study will involve a national survey which will examine the recent behaviour of Australian tourists to determine whether the above factors have any impact on product choice, particularly with respect to other criteria. The project will also examine operators' perspectives on the issue, look specifically at the impact of particular environmental accreditation schemes, and determine the extent to which operators use their environmental credentials as a promotional device. The results may either lend weight to the case for tourism operators to adopt more environmentally sustainable practices and seek accreditation, or indicate a need to do more to raise consumer awareness of the value of considering environmental credentials when making product choices. The project will involve researchers from University of Technology, Sydney (Tony Griffin, Rob Harris and Jennie Small), University of Queensland (Tor Hundloe) and University of Canberra (Tania Crosbie), with collaboration and assistance from the national Ecotourism Accreditation Program and Green Globe.

Publications:

Deville, A, Wearing, S & McDonald, M 2016, 'Tourism and Willing Workers on Organic Farms: A collision of two spaces in sustainable agriculture', Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 111, no. B, pp. 421-429.
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