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CSR among Canadian mass tour operators: good awareness but little action

Rachel Dodds (Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Jacqueline Kuehnel (JK Consulting Enterprises, Toronto, Canada)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 9 March 2010

6381

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploratory case study of mass mainstream tour operators in the Canadian market and evaluate their awareness level of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The research aims to address the structure and ownership of mass Canadian tour operators, how it may influence the adoption of CSR practices, key issues and concerns and awareness level and participation of CSR practices. Although the Canadian outbound leisure mass market is relatively small compared with that of the UK, Canadian travelers are a significant source of tourism to Mexico and the Caribbean islands such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Design/methodology/approach

Canadian mass tour operators were contacted through interviews and questionnaires to assess the structure and ownership of mass Canadian tour operators, how it may influence the adoption of CSR practices, key issues and concerns and awareness level and participation of CSR practices. Existing responsible tourism practices in the destinations they operate were also gauged.

Findings

CSR is gaining momentum worldwide as companies begin to realize that their stakeholders are demanding accountability that goes beyond shareholders' interests. Subsequently, reporting levels are increasingly being regulated and corporate strategic initiatives focusing on improving their social and environmental responsibility are on the rise. In the case of tour operators, however, initiatives of this nature are preliminary and there is little implementation of CSR practices.

Research limitations/implications

The study examines Canadian mass tourism package tour operators and further research is needed to assess all tour operators (inbound and outbound) to determine whether the level of participation in responsible travel is higher or whether size is an implicating factor. As issues such as climate change and responsible tourism have only started to influence consumer demand in the past few years, the study's findings may be changing. Therefore a further follow‐up study would be beneficial in order to determine any barriers to action.

Originality/value

To date, little research has been done on the tourism industry, and that mainly on hotels. There is a need to understand the structure and contribution of tour operators to the industry and their level of CSR practices and movement towards more responsible tourism.

Keywords

Citation

Dodds, R. and Kuehnel, J. (2010), "CSR among Canadian mass tour operators: good awareness but little action", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 221-244. https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111011018205

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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