Tourism and hospitality small and medium enterprises and environmental sustainability
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
While environmental sustainability is increasingly gaining relevance, it appears to have been ignored in certain areas, such as in research on water usage of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the hospitality and tourism industries. The purpose of this paper is to examine this dimension from the perspective of the operators. Semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with ten managers/operators in the Swan Valley region of Western Australia. Strong manager/operator awareness of the impact of their actions on the environment was demonstrated. Also salient was the factors impinging on implementation of environmental initiatives. Business demands or added costs also present challenges in fully materializing an operator’s environmentally sustainable practices, particularly concerning water consumption in service areas, such as in toilets, which represents a large proportion of total water usage. The limited number of participants does not allow for making generalizations of environmentally sustainable practices among SMEs in the hospitality and tourism sector. However, this exploratory study provides insights into an area that has received very limited attention in academic research. As environmental issues may increasingly become more serious, the engagement of managers, operators, the wider business community and other bodies at different levels is critical. In this regard, the study provides several implications for these stakeholders. Very few studies have attempted to investigate environmental issues among small hospitality and tourism enterprises. This paper not only seeks to close knowledge gaps in an under-researched area but also to open the door for future studies in the area.