Perceptions of Tourism Related Responsibility of the Stakeholders in a Tourist Destination: Empirical Evidences

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Perceptions of Tourism related Responsibility of the Stakeholders in a Tourist Destination: Empirical Evidences

Edgar D’ Souza* Nandakumar Mekoth*

Abstract

There are multiple stakeholders who have varied interests in relation to tourism industry namely the host community, business organizations, tourists and the government. Responsible tourism aims not only to minimize the negative impacts but to maximize the positive impacts of tourism on these stake holders. While doing so, responsible tourism, as opposed to sustainable tourism, tries to fix responsibility for the achievement of defined objectives through specific measures on these stakeholders. It is quite possible that specific stakeholders view responsible tourism measures as more or less the responsibility of particular stakeholders. This paper is an attempt to identify responsible tourism measures and their relation with specific stakeholder groups as perceived by the stakeholders themselves and subgroups within each category of stakeholders. The study has been carried out by analyzing primary data collected using a questionnaire from various stakeholders in a tourist destination. The findings show that highest responsibility is placed on government followed by business, host community and tourist in that order. The order in which responsibility is placed on different stakeholders is unanimous by all the stakeholder groups. There are no significant differences in responsibility placed on a particular stake holder either by stakeholder groups themselves or demographic subgroups. The findings are of theoretical, managerial and policy implications.

*Edgar D’ Souza is Assistant Professor and Nandakumar Mekoth is Professor at the Department of Management Studies, Goa University, Goa, India.

Introduction

Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. UNWTO forecasts international tourism to continue growing in 2012 although at a slower rate. Arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 4%, reaching the historic one billion mark by the end of the year. Emerging economies will regain the lead with stronger growth in Asia and the Pacific and Africa (4% to 6%), followed by the Americas and Europe (2% to 4%) (UNWTO, 2011). The industry is credited with sizable contribution to employment generation. It is also one of the least polluting industries. Tourism has been characterized by the involvement of multiple businesses such as hotels, restaurants, transport operators, tour operators, travel agents and so on. Although tourism provides economic and social benefits to the participants it is not without any negative impacts (Bojanic David, 2011).

The impact of tourism, be it positive or negative, is experienced by all the elements in the society. Rising prices in destinations is one of the economic impacts which negatively affect the residents of the destination. Similarly degradation of physical environment and degeneration of local culture are also the negative impacts of tourism. It is also not necessary that the spending by tourists benefit the local community so also it may not lead to the reduction in economic and social disparity. Preservation of local culture and heritage is an important concern for tourism. Tourism should be developed in a way so that it benefits the local communities, strengthens the local economy, employs local workforce and wherever ecologically sustainable, uses local materials, local agricultural products and traditional skills. Mechanisms, including policies and legislation should be introduced to ensure the flow of benefits to local communities (Hwansuk Chris Choi & Murray Iain 2010).

Tourists themselves are an integral part of tourism and they need to have an enjoyable experience. The safety of tourists is of paramount importance and they need to be protected against economic, social, physical and emotional exploitation. Responsible...
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