Sustainable tourism certification: A case study of Noosa Biosphere Reserve
thesisposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Cathie WithymanCathie Withyman
Tourism is the world’s largest and fastest growing industry (UNWTO, 2012). It is a global phenomenon with widespread impacts that are both positive and negative. In this context, there is increasing pressure on tourism providers and destination managers to demonstrate sustainable practices and efforts to protect and conserve the natural environment upon which most tourism depends. Eco or sustainable certification has been highlighted as a key tool in sustainable tourism management (Bien, 2007; Font, 2009; Honey, 2008), but after nearly 30 years in the marketplace, uptake of certification remains low (Dodds & Joppe, 2009b). The aim of this research is to gain an insight into how sustainable tourism certification is currently viewed, implemented and promoted as a tourism management tool in a biosphere reserve setting. The case study setting of this research is Noosa Biosphere Reserve in Australia. One hundred tourism firms were surveyed and in-depth interviews were conducted to gain a comprehensive insight into the activity system of sustainable tourism certification. Cultural Historical Activity Theory was used as a methodological analysis framework to assist in the identification of expansive learning opportunities from the surfacing ‘tensions’ and ‘contradictions’. The study found that certification uptake is limited by internal and external constraints faced by the tourism operator. As well, the voluntary nature of certification coupled with an absence of leadership from destination management organisations and government, has compounded operator perception that certification is not a particularly valued sustainable development management tool. It emerged that the development and expansion of motivational drivers would be useful to encourage uptake of certification by tourism operators.
LocationCentral Queensland University
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SupervisorProfessor Michael William Horsley ; Dr Susan Davis ; Dr Scott Richardson ; Dr Matt Eliot
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