Sustainable Tourism: A Marketing Perspective

Meiko Murayama (University of Surrey)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



Murayama, M. (2000), "Sustainable Tourism: A Marketing Perspective", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 218-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This is another book on sustainable tourism, a subject that is rapidly growing in popularity in the tourism literature. However, what distinguishes it from others is its focus on sustainability from a marketing perspective. It provides a pro‐active approach to sustainable tourism development rather than analytical one.

Middleton and Hawkins intend the book to be for students in tourism, hospitality and leisure management courses and practitioners in the public and private sectors who are interested in sustainable tourism development. The authors assume that readers are familiar with a basic broad knowledge of tourism and marketing. The text is written in a clear style with figures and tables so that the information is easily accessible to readers.

The book is divided into five sections in order to give readers an understanding of current environmental problems and challenges, as well as a clear way to place sustainable tourism and travel development in a global context. Different recent case and examples are used to present good environmental practices to readers, and to support the authors’ argument that these concepts are applicable to real world development and management. They also provide future scenarios in the content. It is, however, unfortunate that the authors introduce the argument without a detailed consideration of the nature of sustainable tourism.

Part One consists of six chapters, and is entitled The Context; The Issues; A Global Overview, with a summary and short further reading list at the end of each chapter. There is a brief introduction to key environmental issues and features of tourism, travel and marketing that are applied in later chapters. The authors establish their standpoint chapter by chapter through this section by adapting internationally agreed concepts and they conclude that sustainability must be approached from two dimensions; tourism management at local destination level and the management of business operations by commercial and other enterprises. The authors clarify their marketing perspective as a “particular set of corporate attitude toward the conduct of operations involving the public as targeted customers or users – the way in which an organization is conducted by its owners and managers”. This provides the foundation of the entire book.

The second section, Managing Tourism for Sustainability at Specific Destinations is divided into four chapters. It emphasizes the significance of sustainable development at a local level rather than national or regional levels. The authors identify five primary management tools in both the public and private sectors and they highlight the importance of collaboration and a new form of partnership for sustainable tourism management. They argue that this means tourism planning and management for destination as a collaborative process. They insist that this is possible through a marketing perspective which “provides the optimum management process for achieving sustainability at tourism destinations into the next century”.

Part Three The Issues and Cases of Good Management Practice in the Main Sectors of Travel and Tourism shows how the private sector can make progress to reduce the negative side of their operation and be more responsible in their development and operations towards sustainability. The first chapter introduces general environmentally friendly procedures including ten instead of three “R’s”, which are watchwords for good environmental practice. This is followed by four chapters on different tourism sectors, (the accommodation, visitor attractions, transport and tour operator sectors), describing how each sector can achieve sustainability, with illustrations of some examples of good practice.

The next section International Cases of Good Management Practice for Sustainability, uses five international cases to show how destinations and the private sector practice the principles emphasized in the previous sections of the book and remain environmentally sustainable. The five cases include a national park in South Africa, a marine day‐tour operator in Australia, Edinburgh’s old town, a privatized water services company in Rutland, and a group of industrial museums; the last three cases being from the UK.

The last section of the book portrays a future scenario based on AGENDA 21 and offers seven positive visions. Readers may be convinced by the enthusiasm of the authors’ strong belief in the marketing perspective, which they are convinced is the only method of delivering and maintaining sustainable development.

The authors close the work with two appendices, a selective glossary of environmental, tourism and marketing terms, and environmental regulations, market mechanisms and self‐regulatory codes influencing the tourism industry, along with a select bibliography and index.

Middleton and Hawkins try to cover a wide range of sustainable topics, perhaps somewhat at the expense of depth of argument; however, they do give a broad picture of this critical theme in tourism research. In summary, the book may be regarded as rather academically lightweight, but it is of value as a textbook for a great number of students and practitioners who are interested in the issue, and it deserves to be on a shelf in all tourism libraries.

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