Increasing sustainable tourism through social entrepreneurship

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between social entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism and to examine the Canadian context in this regard. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology entails a case study approach that includes a thorough review of the related literature and of any existing Canadian sources of hospitality and tourism social entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship projects to determine the state of the Canadian industry with respect to sustainability. Findings: Findings show that there are limited showcased hospitality and tourism social entrepreneurship projects in Canada. Two main assumptions related to the Canadian context can be drawn from this search: (1) There is a lack of hospitality and tourism social entrepreneurship projects and/or, (2) hospitality and tourism social entrepreneurship projects and/or businesses are not recognized and/or there is a lack of awareness of them. Research limitations/implications: This study assessed the situation in Canada and although it was comprehensive under conditions of limited data availability, it cannot speak to social entrepreneurship in sustainable hospitality and tourism globally, which is a future research opportunity. Practical implications: The design of a national incentive program would encourage industry sustainability through tax breaks. This voluntary system would require that firms provide standardized annual reports with their tax filings so that reliable industry data could be collected for analysis and understanding of the sustainability of the industry. Participating firms would be distinguished on a public list. Originality/value: This research has theorized on the connection of social entrepreneurship to sustainable hospitality and tourism such that social entrepreneurship drives sustainable industry growth. This is also the first study of its kind to explore social entrepreneurship’s potential contribution to the sustainability of this industry.

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