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Green to Gold: Beneficial Impacts of Sustainability Certification and Practice on Tour Enterprise Performance

Author

Listed:
  • André Hellmeister

    () (International Online Marketer, RED Online Marketing, 3433 EP Nieuwegein, The Netherlands)

  • Harold Richins

    () (Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism, Thompson Rivers University, 805 TRU Way, Kamloops, BC V2C 0C8, Canada)

Abstract

A growing number of managers in tourism recognize the importance of sustainability to their business success. However, as the majority of tourism enterprises consist of small and medium-sized enterprises that are generally less likely to invest in sustainability practices due to a lack of financial resources, time, and perceived cost-saving opportunities, an industry-wide dissemination of sustainability practices is hampered. This paper explores the benefits of adapting sustainability practices and provides evidence for making the case for incorporating sustainability practices to benefit business success. This study examined sustainability-certified tour enterprises, focusing on the perceived impact that the commitment to sustainable practices through certification has had on tangible financial aspects (potential benefits of increased revenue and decreased operational costs) and intangible benefits (customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction). Also explored were the influence of strategic choices related to sustainable practices (extent of commitment, product range, facilities and equipment, and the application of relevant marketing practices). Study findings were encouraging, identifying cost-savings, increased revenue, enhanced reputation, and customer and employee satisfaction. Energy-savings as well as a greater connection to the community were found to be beneficial outcomes of sustainable practices. Despite its acknowledged dependency on the natural environment as well as cultural assets nature and culture, the tourism industry is perhaps still in its infancy in moving towards industry-wide sustainability success. While academic literature has attributed this to the lack of awareness and low dedication to take action, this study found an indication of a positive relationship between sustainability commitment and financial and non-financial firm performance. The findings extend previous research that focused on larger and more facility-dependent enterprises and suggest that sustainability is a beneficial path to follow regardless of company size and budget.

Suggested Citation

  • André Hellmeister & Harold Richins, 2019. "Green to Gold: Beneficial Impacts of Sustainability Certification and Practice on Tour Enterprise Performance," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-17, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:3:p:709-:d:201767
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sustainability certification; tour enterprise performance; business case of sustainability; sustainable tourism;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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