This paper demonstrates how the tour operating industry must take responsibility of the sustainability of its suppliers as part of the quality expected by tourists, in order to remain competitive.
Case studies resulting from telephone surveys, interviews and document searches. The theoretical approach is that of using sustainable supply chain management both as a method of corporate social responsibility and a strategy for industry survival.
Price wars have forced mass tourism operators to small margins, while ignoring the growing special interest market. Sustainability is now part of quality expectations and the industry as a whole has to reinvent itself to meet changing demands, while also embedding corporate social responsibility in a way that makes business sense.
The challenge is transferring experience to less sophisticated and mature markets, where at present there is little evidence of demand for sustainable products.
Industry wide standards are necessary as the lever for change in those industries where short return on investment eco‐savings will not be possible, and where the future of a whole industry relies on joint action.
The paper makes a contribution to the limited knowledge of sustainable supply chain management in the service sector. Most research emphasizes environmental issues in manufacturing.
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