Abstracts for Session 16

Sustainable behaviour in tourism and hospitality 



Title: Responsibility Beyond the Board Room – A Systematic Review of Responsible Leadership: Operationalisations, Antecedents and Outcomes

Authors: Sylvelin Foldøy, Trude Furunes, Åse Helene Bakkevig Dagsland, and Anne Iren Haver

Affiliation: University of Stavanger


Conceptualisations of responsible leadership are closely knit to stakeholder theory, and the discussion of the responsibility of businesses in society. For more than two decades, researchers have aimed to measure responsible leadership. This has resulted in several operationalisations and parallel streams of research, making it difficult to carve out the core: What is a responsible leader and who are they responsible for? 

We systematically reviewed 28 studies measuring responsible leadership in private sector businesses. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to identify the core aspects across survey instruments, as well as synthesizing the evidence, mapping antecedents and outcomes of responsible leadership.

Our findings suggest four core aspects of responsible leadership. The empirical evidence indicates positive relationships between responsible leadership and employees’ responsible conduct (e.g. pro-environmental behaviour, organisational citizenship behaviour for the environment (OCBE)), as well as organisational outcomes (e.g. environmental, social and financial performance). However, responsible leadership’s influence on external stakeholders (e.g. customers, suppliers in the supply chain, and local governments) remain largely unexplored and represents an opportunity for research.

In addition to providing a systematically account of the evidence and point out research gaps, our analysis provides a basis for a critical discussion and reflection on the role of nature as a stakeholder. Generalisability across industries and implications for tourism and hospitality businesses are discussed. Avenues for future research are outlined.


Keywords: Responsible leadership, systematic literature review, pro-environmental behaviour, triple bottom line performance



Title: How is COVID-19 reshaping responsible tourism behaviour? The necessity for change towards sustainability

Authors: Sarah Eichelbergera and Birgit Pikkemaata 

Affiliation: University of Innsbruck


The COVID-19 pandemic not only causes short-term tourist cancellations, but is also assumed to have long-term effects on tourist behaviour. Recent studies identify safety-seeking motivations, extremity aversion or the threat of COVID-19 infection as determinants of tourist decision-making and consumption choices. In addition, the potential for behavioural change towards more responsible behaviour is highlighted. Responsible tourist behaviour emphasizes the contribution tourists can make to minimize negative tourism impacts through for instance sustainable holiday choices and behaving in a sustainable way during their stay at a destination. Thus, responsible tourism behaviour entails actions which benefit sustainable tourism. Although recent studies highlight the COVID-19 pandemic as a trigger for responsible tourism behaviour, the Gen Z has not yet been studied in this regard, even though their potential for responsible tourist behaviour is considered immense. 

Therefore, this study focuses on understanding the responsible behaviour of Gen Z tourists through a qualitative research design. The particularities of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate qualitative studies that help in understanding the intentions of the studied individuals in depth. Hence, 3 focus groups with members of the Gen Z in order to learn about their responsible behaviour as well as their intentions towards responsible tourism were conducted. The findings reveal the determinants of tourists' decision-making as well as their considerations to spend their holidays responsibly. This study thus provides information for theory and practice. First, this study contributes to a better understanding of tourists' responsible behaviour. Secondly, recommendations for practice can be derived that show how tourists’ preferences change.  



Title: Scientific tourism as a tool for more sustainable Arctic tourism: insights from the SCITOUR project

Author: Alix Varnajot

Affiliation: University of Lapland


There is something about the Arctic in tourism. In collective imaginaries, Arctic tourism seems to relate to products and experiences engaging with snow and ice in a pristine wilderness, overlooking the seasonal dynamic of the Arctic, as well as its myriad of cultures, landscapes and climates. Arctic tourism practices and experiences are grounded in non-fully representative imaginaries that are forged by outsiders, and for outsiders. In addition, the process of Arctification has been reinforcing these biased representations of the Arctic, particularly in northern Europe. In the context of climate change and shrinking cryosphere, it is therefore critical to reconsider the Arctic outside of winter-based imaginaries.

In this context, scientific tourism appears to be an innovative tool to mitigate these negative Arctification effects in tourism. It is believed that learning experiences in tourism could participate in making Arctic tourism more sustainable, responsible and ethical, as it creates awareness and educates people about Arctic place-specific issues, outside of romanticized imaginaries made by outsiders. By learning about the reality of the Arctic, scientific tourism can have positive implications on tourists’ representations of the Arctic region. The concept of ‘ambassadorship’ has often been raised as a positive outcome in Polar travels, although its actual effects have often been questioned. It is therefore argued that scientific tourism can promote more sustainable behaviors, as well as pro-environmental and ethical values among participants, not just immediately after their trip, but also in the longer-term. Thus, scientific tourism can play a greater role in turning tourists into long-term ambassadors, contrary to other tourism products such as cruises.

In collaboration with tourism actors of the European Arctic, the SCITOUR project aims to develop and market scientific tourism products that offer tourists a transformative and learning experience. This will benefit tourists who will get the opportunity to enhance their knowledge about the reality of the Arctic, as well as to engage in more sustainable behaviors on a long-term perspective. The aim of this presentation is thus to introduce the SCITOUR project initiative and to show how scientific tourism can have positive implications on tourists’ sustainable behaviors through learning tourism experiences and products.



Title: Travel Intermediaries and Sustainable Tourism

Authors: Jarmo Ritalahti,  

Affiliation: Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Sheffield Hallam University


This research examines travel intermediaries understanding of sustainable tourism and, how they are embedding this into their practices. Tour operators can play an important role in changing tourist behaviours and, encouraging more sustainable forms of tourism as they have the potential to influence the sustainable development of tourism through the way they market, promote, sell and form relationship with suppliers. Three online surveys were conducted in Finland in spring 2018, autumn 2019 and spring 2021. The samples of the surveys were collected among the customers of the members of Association of Finnish Travel Industry (SMAL). The sizes of the two first samples were 187 and 241. The third survey is at the moment unpublished. The first survey focused on the purchasing behaviour of Finnish customers and the second and third on their behaviours as tourists at destinations. The results of two first surveys show that customers of Finnish travel intermediaries are aware of sustainability and their responsibilities as tourists. 

The survey on the purchasing behaviour identifies that generational differences have an impact on sustainability.  Younger women with families do not find sustainability very important when choosing the destination and hotel whilst members of older generations found it more important. The survey of tourism behaviour declares clearly that Finnish tourists are interested in sustainability and responsibility when on holidays. Their main interests are in local people’s human rights and equality, respect of local nature, culture, waste management, and recycling. Two third of the respondents choose a travel package that indicates both sustainability and responsibility in the tourism value chain. It is clear from the findings that both sustainability and responsibility are important to Finnish tourists. However, travel intermediaries in Finland are not clearly demonstrating their actions in developing and promoting more sustainable forms of tourism in the supply chain. 



Title: On Being a Sustainable Tourist: Environmentally Motivated Consumption Reduction through the Lens of an Extended Theory of Planned Behaviour

Authors: Shiva Ghorban Nejad, Heidi Skeiseid, and Lukasz Derdowski

Affiliation: University of Stavanger


A common concern for researchers who try to explain the causes to why, or why not, tourists strive to behave in environmentally sustainable manners, is the often-found inconsistency between what people say (to express their attitudes, norms, and values) and what they, in reality, do (to translate words into actions). This inconsistency is commonly known as the attitude-behaviour, or intention-behaviour gap. To resolve such a discrepancy, it has been suggested that instead of scrutinizing the effects of behaviour-specific attitudes on a specific behaviour, researchers and practitioners should alternatively focus on more general environmental attitudes. Yet, available evidence in this strand of research offers either non-significant behavioural effects, or results that have been inconsistent. Moreover, is has been recognized that researchers may benefit from acknowledging the boundary conditions of their explanatory models, of which the inclusion of moderator effects is one possible path.

This study applies the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as a baseline model for explaining consumers’ intentions to Environmentally Motivated Consumption Reduction (EMCR). We suggest that the basic hypotheses of the TPB are moderated by two personality traits – the need for evaluation, and self-referencing. Hence, we argue that these personality traits moderate the effects of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control on consumers’ intentions to EMCR. The data come from a cross-sectional sample of 226 Norwegian consumers who completed a web-based survey. For the analysis we utilized a multiple regression approach. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, especially for the advancement of sustainable tourists’ behaviour. 


Keywords: Environmentally Motivated Consumption Reduction, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Need for Evaluation, Self-Referencing, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Consumption



Title: Last chance tourism, bucket list tourism and sustainable tourist behaviour: evidence from visitors to Greenland

Authors: Elizabeth Cooper

Affiliation: Copenhagen Business School


Greenland as a tourism destination offers numerous features which can be seen as contradictory in the context of tourist behaviour. Existing market research suggests that tourists see Greenland as both a ‘last chance’ and a ‘bucket list’ tourism destination, and that most tourists to Greenland are highly educated and place high importance on sustainable travel.

Although there are currently very few empirical studies exploring the effect of last chance tourism motivations and bucket list tourism motivations on sustainable tourist behaviour, it has been argued that bucket list motivations are primarily ego-centric, while last chance motivations are more altruistic. If ego-centric motivations have a negative effect on sustainable tourist behaviour, and altruistic motivations have a positive effect on sustainable tourist behaviour, there is a potential tension apparent among the attitudes of tourists to Greenland.

This study uses survey research among previous tourists to Greenland to investigate the extent to which they are motivated by ‘last chance’ and ‘bucket list’ motivations, and the effect of these motivations on their in-destination behaviours. The aim is to draw conclusions about the relationship between last chance motivations, bucket list motivations and sustainable tourist behaviour. At this stage, preliminary survey results will be presented.

On an academic level, this study deepens and complexifies understandings of last chance and bucket list tourism, and how they relate to each other. On an industry level, results can be used by practitioners in polar and remote destinations to inform their efforts towards encouraging more sustainable tourist behaviour.



Title: Saline food as a sustainable tourism experience in the North Sea Region

Authors: Katarzyna Negacz, Suzanne Veen, and Pier Vellinga

Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Growing salt-tolerant plants and halophytes is an important component in climate change adaptation and plays a key role in the areas where soil became salinized. Saline agriculture has long been a question of great interest for food security and food sustainability. Recent developments in saline agriculture in the North Sea region have heightened the need for exploring how saline food can contribute to sustainable tourism experiences. While multiple studies explore levels of salt tolerance of plants, there is an urgent need to analyses strategies for developing saline food as a sustainable tourism experience.

This paper analyses the potential of saline food for a culinary experience and assesses the most effective strategies for sustainable tourism experiences in the North Sea region. This study is of exploratory and interpretative in nature. First, it describes characteristics of saline food-based literature and expert interviews. Second, we apply a qualitative case study approach to investigate strategies for developing saline food as a sustainable tourism experience by building on culinary heritage, slow food trends, and willingness to pay. Third, we evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of analyzed strategies and formulate recommendations for experience providers. 

The preliminary results show that there are various definitions of saline food. A comparison of case studies from selected countries reveals diversified levels of historic cultural heritage, the influence of slow food trends, and willingness to pay which determines the most effective strategies for developing saline food as a sustainable tourism experience.