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BESR in the Hotel Sector: A Look at Tourists’ Propensity Towards Environmentally and Socially Friendly Hotel Attributes in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Kasim, Azilah (2004) BESR in the Hotel Sector: A Look at Tourists’ Propensity Towards Environmentally and Socially Friendly Hotel Attributes in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 5 (2). pp. 61-83. ISSN 1525-6480

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his paper looks at tourist support for business environmental and social responsibility (BESR) in the context of tourism.Traditionally perceived as a smokeless industry, tourism has been slow to address its negative impacts until the late 1980s, when ecotourism became a buzzword.However, the flaws of ecotourism entail a shift of focus towards the role of key tourism players including hotels in sustainable tourism.Documented evidence on the incorporation of environmental and social measures in big hotel corporations, indicate an awareness of this role in the sector.Nevertheless, the dissemination of such awareness is in question due to the potentially big investment and organizational change involved.The difficulty may be even more so if not appreciated and supported by the market. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to show if tourists are prioritizing “responsible” hotels. In other words, do tourists have the propensity to choose hotel attributes based on environmental and social criteria? This paper provides an outlook on the demand of tourists for responsible hotels in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. Specifically, it looks at main criteria used when choosing a hotel, tourists' preference as well as their attitude, interest and opinion relating to green and socially responsible hotel. The research found that most tourists still choose a hotel based on price, service quality and a hotel's physical attractiveness rather than environmental and social attributes. Most tourists also prefer non-environmentally friendly options in hotel rooms such as individual soap cakes, fresh towels and air conditioning compared to the alternatives given. The propensity towards responsible attributes (local culture, local cuisine, happy, friendly and knowledgeable staff) seems to depend on how relevant the attributes are to the quality of their holiday experience. Those that have indirect effects (conservation effort, employment of local, certification, environmental image) are not perceived as important.In addition, the findings do not support the general (local) idea that foreign tourists are more “caring” about environmental and social issues compared to the regional/domestic tourists.Overall, the results imply that suggestion about the rising number of environmentally conscious tourists cannot be substantiated.Therefore, there is a need to re-examine the contention that tourists are a major driver of sustainable tourism.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hotel business, environmental issues, social issues, business environmental and social responsibility, tourist demand
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions: School of Tourism, Hospitality & Environmental Management
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 08:01
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2018 08:01

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