Responsible tourism management: the missing link between business owners' attitudes and behaviour in the Cape Town tourism industry

Nicole Frey, Richard George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)


The global threat of climate change, diminishing natural resources and significant socio-economic inequalities is forcing companies and individuals to evaluate the impact they are having on the natural, social and economic environments. This trend has led to an increased availability and demand for socially, environmentally and economically responsible products. The tourism industry relies heavily on the sustained beauty and hospitality of the places and communities it operates in and has come under pressure to manage its negative and positive impacts. Change in the industry has, however, been limited. This paper investigates the current attitudes and perceptions of tourism business owners in Cape Town towards responsible tourism management (RTM) practices. Cape Town as an internationally acclaimed top tourism destination needs to urgently address its low levels of responsible tourism evidence. Survey data of 244 tourism businesses were used to statistically test what factors are causing the low levels of RTM practices in the Cape Town tourism industry. Findings suggest that despite general positive attitudes towards RTM, businesses are not investing time and money into changing management practices. This is a common emerging market phenomenon where resource constraints negatively impact the relationship between what businesses would like to do and what actually gets done. Factors such as the perceived cost of RTM, a highly competitive environment and a perceived lack of government support are further negatively influencing this relationship. Recommendations are made as to how the costs of implementing RTM can be reduced and what channels should be implemented to facilitate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-628
Number of pages8
JournalTourism Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • responsible tourism
  • corporate social responsibility
  • responsible management intention
  • RMI
  • emerging markets
  • Cape Town


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