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Sustainable tourism standards in the global economy

Font, X (2011) Sustainable tourism standards in the global economy In: Global Tourism. Routledge, pp. 213-229. ISBN 978-0750677899

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Standards are documents that establish a basis, example, or principle for firms to conform to, linked to uniform units of measurement. Compulsory standards are enforced through national legislation and industry membership requirements and tend to cover health and safety, competence standards, occupational safety, land-use planning, licensing of businesses, and consumer protection. Voluntary standards go beyond these to suggest best practice and are usually coupled with training manuals for companies to make the necessary improvements to meet the requirements. Although certification of quality in hotels has a long tradition, it has focussed on environmental concerns only fairly recently, and is now starting to consider sociocultural issues. Most programmes have developed as bottom-up initiatives with little knowledge of each other and generally operate as specific responses to manage the key negative impacts or challenges of a particular subsector in a particular location. In the last 10 years, they have moved on dramatically to become one of the buzzwords of sustainable tourism and ecotourism, considered as a potential mechanism to combat greenwashing but not without a fair share of skeptics (Morris, 1997). This chapter will discuss the development of sustainability standards from local efforts to make business improvements to becoming part of the suite of governance and regulatory tools of the global tourism industry. The key propositions of this discussion are that standard setting and certification are valuable tools to bring stakeholders together in their sustainability efforts, and they can be part of a suite of tools to encourage improvement. At the same time it is necessary to proceed with caution and not take certification as the answer to greening the industry. This chapter outlines current developments in the sector to create a basis to critically understand and analyse key issues in the application of sustainability standards. This leads to the discussion of efforts to globalise standards, and the challenges encountered. Finally the chapter considers the range of stakeholders that can have an impact on developing standards, and hypothesises how the tourism industry could change through sustainability standard enforcement, considering both its feasibility and desirability.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects : Sustainability
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Editors :
Theobald, WF
Date : 29 July 2011
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2005 – Routledge
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:37
Last Modified : 23 Jan 2020 15:08

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