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Original scientific paper

Responsible tourism in the Western Cape, South Africa: An innovation perspective

Irma Booyens ; School of Tourism & Hospitality, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Christian M. Rogerson ; School of Tourism & Hospitality, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Full text: english pdf 128 Kb


page 385-396

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Responsible tourism incorporates economic, environmental and social imperatives in keeping with sustainable tourism notions. It can be argued that tourism entities, private, public and non-profit alike, need to innovate in order to be competitive from an economic perspective as well as implement environmentally and socially responsible practices, and impact on environmental and social change. This article proposes that responsible tourism can provide a framework for conceptualising and cultivating tourism innovation in the light of sustainability debates. Based on a broader study of tourism innovation in the Western Cape, South Africa, innovation relating to economic, environmental and social practices is examined. The findings point to the widespread implementation of both innovation and environmental practices by tourism enterprises. In addition, social and structural innovations are identified as innovation types which have a particular bearing on responsible tourism. It is argued that local policy initiatives are needed to strengthen innovation for responsible business practices in tourism and thereby to enhance environmental and social change on a larger scale. Overall, the results of this cross-sectoral investigation contribute to discourses on environmental innovation in tourism by identifying it as a prevalent type of tourism innovation which comprises multiple environmentally-friendly practices.


tourism innovation; responsible tourism; environmentally-friendly practices; social innovation; South Africa

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