The sustainability–profitability trade-off in tourism: can it be overcome?

Teresa Moeller, Sara Dolnicar, Friedrich Leisch
  • Journal of Sustainable Tourism, February 2011, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2010.518762

What is it about?

Being environmentally friendly is typically associated with sacrifice, including. sacrifice of comfort (e.g. walking rather than driving), sacrifice of time (e.g. recycling garbage) or sacrifice of money (e.g. buying more expensive locally grown vegetables). This paper explores a perceived trade-off between minimizing environmental damage and maximizing revenue, by finding market segments that are environmentally friendly and have high expenditures. Two market segments, containing 40% of the total market, were found that leave small environmental footprints whilst maintaining high expenditure, indicating that market segmentation when coupled to marketing / demarketing policies can be used as a complementary strategy to the development of destination-based initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of tourism.

Why is it important?

Environmental sustainability is one of the challenges of humanity. Tourism contributes significantly to environmental damage. Tourism is the 5th largest polluting industry, generating 5% of global CO2 emissions and 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions (UNWTO 2009). New ways of reducing the negative environmental impact of tourism are critically important in view of making this industry more sustainable.

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Sara Dolnicar