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Environmental responsibility and business regulation: the case of sustainable tourism

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This paper adds to the growing literature within geography on environmental regulation of business activities. The adoption of voluntary practices of environmental responsibility is discussed as a form of environmental regulation, and then applied to tourism using a survey of 69 companies and institutions in the UK outgoing tourism industry. Results indicate that business has adopted a wide range of practices, but considers them to be weak regulatory instruments because ultimate responsibility for change lies with host governments via legislation. However, environmental protection may enhance business performance if voluntary practices could differentiate mass-market holiday packages and allow companies to compete on more than price alone. This paper, therefore, supports research from other industries which states that environmental practices may lead to commercial advantage if adopted proactively rather than in response to market demand for ethical or 'green' products. However, change may be accelerated by labelling 'green' or 'sustainable' tourism as 'quality' tourism, and by acknowledging that populist market demand may lead to stereotypical approaches to minorities or ecotourism not helpful to equitable development. Future debate should focus on common ground between regulators and business, and on shared responsibility for excluding 'free-rider' companies not willing to adopt practices.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/4733/1/Environmental_responsibility_and_business_regulation_%28LSERO%29.pdf

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