Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism – Conclusion

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism - ConclusionSustainable tourism can help overcome many of the negative impacts associated with tourism development. Based on the interviews conducted, it is clear that guidelines alone are not strong enough to overcome the short-term profit motive of many operators, governments and destinations. At the same time, national certification programs are too numerous, with too many varying criteria, and not enough accredited product to be effective at this point in time.
The conclusion of this research is fourfold. First, there is little overt demand for sustainable tourism in Ho Chi Minh City therefore more research is needed to determine how product can be shifted to include sustainability. If the consumer and the industry are driven by price then there is a need to re-think the strategy of how to include sustainability within current cost structures. Second, there is low awareness and success of certification programs to date.

There is a need to further develop the concept of an international certification label for the travel and tourism industry that is inclusive (environmental, social, cultural etc.), affordable, monitored, and reported. As there are already a number of recognised and internationally accepted schemes, these should be promoted to extend their reach rather than developing new schemes which add to the confusion of both the industry and the consumer. Third, in order to achieve more sustainable forms of tourism, it needs to move away from voluntary measures towards reporting where progress can be measured and buyers and suppliers held accountable for their actions. Fourth, CSR could help with a number of issues facing tourism with regard to promoting sustainable tourism practices, however, industry must see government involvement and support if they are to increase their own involvements in CSR. There is a need for governments to step up to the challenge of ensuring more sustainable forms of tourism will be supported and to reassure investors and players in the tourism sector that government will support and encourage sustainable tourism management and development. Practical implication can be recapitulated as follows:
• Governments should focus their capacity-building efforts on suppliers, using such methods as legislated compliance (e.g., environmental, reputation and business probity), ensuring that resources are available for training and learning by suppliers and, where needed, fill resource gaps.
• Increase public-private partnerships of training for environmental and social awareness and mitigation strategies.
• Offer incentives and reporting guidelines to the tourism sector distributed through industry associations. Support training and sharing of best practices.
• Encourage industry associations to make adherence to sustainable or responsible tourism policies a condition of membership and to report on progress.
• Encourage CSR reporting from tour operators, airlines, cruises, hotels and destinations themselves so that they can understand the impact they themselves are having. Reporting will also provide measurable criteria by which companies and destinations can be compared.