Special Issue "Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability of Culture and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. César Camisón
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Administration, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Interests: Development of new theoretical models to explain the competitiveness of companies, nations, regions and industrial / tourist districts, based on the complementarity of internal and external sources, but above all in the learning and innovation capacities, practices and forms of organization and knowledge management, and management structures and corporate governance. Intangible assets. Firm as a knowledge, learning and innovation organization. Dynamic / innovation capabilities. Strategy, competitiveness, sustainability and quality in tourism enterprises and destinations. Regional prospective. Cooperation and enviromental adaptation. Teams and governace structures. The case of family firm. The interplay between family ownership and competitive / sustainable strategies and practices. ets, as well as in techniques of structural analysis and economic and regional prospective.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tourism is a major activity in the global economy, not only because of its economic impact but also because of its social and environmental implications. The management practices and processes adopted by tourist companies and destinations are very heterogeneous and have variable impacts on the sustainability of the ecosystem in its triple aspect. However, the available knowledge about the value of different practices in order to promote both sustainable development and a greater competitiveness is still limited. Although the dominant thesis is that the contribution to sustainability should help the long-term competitive improvement, we still need comprehensive studies and cases that support it and that serve as scientific support for public-private strategies undertaken by tourism organizations with desires to be socially responsible and environmentally efficient institutions

This Special Issue aims to stimulate studies of the interrelationships between competitiveness and sustainability in tourism that help identify the best practices for their convergence. Therefore, the aim of this Special Issue is to include papers that contribute to this knowledge with conceptual or empirical studies that present new ideas, theories, advancements, experiences, evidences or methodologies that support the convergence of economic, social and environmental competitiveness, the factors that help to its alignment and the resistances that can break their complementarity. We welcome research papers and case studies with a focus on a broad range of thematic topics addressing the principles and practices of sustainability, responsibility and competitiveness in tourism industry. Potential submissions can address the following questions, but are not limited to those:

  • Sustainability practices are guided by ethical considerations and therefore are influenced by the culture prevailing in the territory and society in which the company is inserted, by the political vision of the development of the ecosystem, by the organization and social pressure, by the location and its exposure to problems of degradation or preservation, by the carrying capacity in terms of tourist flows and residential settlements, and by the positioning of the destination in the markets. What are the pressures and forces at the destination level that condition the adoption of competitive strategies that include sustainability as one of its arguments?
  • Sustainability practices at the level of corporate governance (affecting the definition of mission and its implications in social and environmental responsibility).
  • Sustainability practices in the workplace (health and safety at work, demand for sustainability in the supply chain).
  • Environmental protection practices (conservation of resources, minimization of emissions, recycling, renewable energies, innovations in clean technologies, ecotourism).
  • Community engagement practices (social innovation).
  • Stakeholder engagement practices (cooperative relations with stakeholders with environmental interests).
  • Factors that determine the adoption of these practices in tourism businesses, among others, the structure of ownership (family and non-family, national and international capital, local roots), the availability of capital, the commitment and style of management, strategic focus of the firm, institutional pressure, etc.
  • The relative weight for adopting sustainable practices of mandatory regulation versus self-adaptation and self-regulation. Experiences of companies and tourist destinations.

Prof. Dr. César Camisón
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Competitiveness of tourism firms
  • Competitiveness in tourism destinations
  • Sustainability in tourism
  • Environmental management and competitive advantage in tourism
  • Natural resources and competitiveness in tourism
  • New responsible business models in tourism
  • Sustainable development and tourism growth
  • Responsible innovation in tourism
  • Drivers of sustainable innovation in tourism
  • Green supply chain in tourism
  • Quality service, destination image and ecotourism
  • Sustainability management practices of tourism firms
  • Socially responsible tourism firms
  • Regulation versus auto-regulation in tourism

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Diversification in Tourism-Related Activities and Social Sustainability in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6429; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226429 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
The objective of this paper is to explore the empirical relationships between the economic diversification of tourism-specific products (TSPs) and human development (as a key piece of social sustainability) at the sub-state level using the scenario of the State of Hidalgo in the [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper is to explore the empirical relationships between the economic diversification of tourism-specific products (TSPs) and human development (as a key piece of social sustainability) at the sub-state level using the scenario of the State of Hidalgo in the year 2014 (the most recent period available) as the context for the study. The first step was to develop an algebraic analysis using the reflection method (RM) to map, for the first time, the diversity and ubiquity of the municipalities of Hidalgo in relation to tourism-related activities in the region. Secondly, additional diversity proxy measures were calculated, namely Shannon’s entropy and the Hirshman–Herfindalhl index, using employment data derived from the TSPs. This allowed us to run a series of regressions that show the explanatory power of the diversification of tourism-related activities on human development. In conclusion, it was demonstrated that the diversification of tourism activities within the analyzed context is essential for social sustainability, which frames the relevance of tourism to promote the development of the region. Finally, it is noted that one of the greatest contributions of this research is the provision of empirical evidence regarding the diversity of the TSPs in a specific context, because given the peculiar structure of tourism, it is not easy to quantify the diversification of the tourism sector in an economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability and Competitiveness in the Tourism Industry and Tourist Destinations: A Bibliometric Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6351; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226351 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
This article presents an analysis of the state of the art on the relationship between tourism, sustainability and competitiveness (TSC); moreover, the analysis also includes a focus on tourism destination (TSCD). To that end, information on the publications in these fields from recent [...] Read more.
This article presents an analysis of the state of the art on the relationship between tourism, sustainability and competitiveness (TSC); moreover, the analysis also includes a focus on tourism destination (TSCD). To that end, information on the publications in these fields from recent years was sourced from the Web of Science database. In addition, the VOSviewer software program was used to enable a more in-depth bibliometric study, allowing the results to be clustered by authors, institutions, countries, and journals. The study carried out revealed that 808 articles have been published on aspects relating to TCS and 409 regarding TSCD. The results obtained underscore the greater scientific output on aspects related to sustainability than on aspects related to competitiveness and also that there has been a significant and exponential increase in both cases in recent years. These three fields of study (tourism, sustainability and competitiveness) are rarely combined in the literature, highlighting the lack of a comprehensive overview of this trinity. The evidence reported here suggest that the trend identified represents a future line of work for the coming years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Beyond Gathering the ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ of Green Technology for Improved Environmental Performance: an Empirical Examination of the Moderating Effects of Proactive Environmental Management and Business Strategies
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226299 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
This study draws on the natural resource-based view and the dynamic capabilities theory to analyse the effects of green technology, proactive environmental management and business strategy on environmental performance. This paper offers a novel analysis of the direct effect of the integrated use [...] Read more.
This study draws on the natural resource-based view and the dynamic capabilities theory to analyse the effects of green technology, proactive environmental management and business strategy on environmental performance. This paper offers a novel analysis of the direct effect of the integrated use of green technology on environmental performance, considering a non-linear relationship between them, and how this impact can be leveraged through a formal proactive environmental planning, coordination and control system, and a defined business strategy. In order to test the research hypotheses, multiple linear regression was used on a sample of 446 Spanish tourism firms. The results confirm a non-linear relationship between green technology and environmental performance. They also indicate the importance of defining a clear, proactive environmental management and prospector strategy to achieve more efficient products/services, processes and technologies, with minimal environmental impact. This research also provides some insights into the moderating effect exerted by proactive environmental management in terms of strengthening the relationship between green technology and environmental performance. In addition, the analysis confirms that whereas defender strategies reduce the impact of green technology on environmental performance, analyser and prospector strategies enhance its influence. These results can be used to offer a series of guidelines for both private and public agents in the tourism sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Willingness to Pay for More Sustainable Tourism Destinations in World Heritage Cities: The Case of Caceres, Spain
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5880; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215880 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
Sustainable tourism management is becoming an increasingly important factor in the image of tourist destinations. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider the possibility of charging a premium price on certain tourism products or services in exchange for making them more sustainable. Generally, eco-friendly [...] Read more.
Sustainable tourism management is becoming an increasingly important factor in the image of tourist destinations. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider the possibility of charging a premium price on certain tourism products or services in exchange for making them more sustainable. Generally, eco-friendly management of cultural heritage sites, and particularly World Heritage sites, along with protected natural areas, is essential for the image enhancement of tourist destinations. In line with these considerations, this paper aims to quantify the willingness to pay (WTP) an extra amount in order for certain tourism products and services to become more sustainable in a World Heritage city such as Caceres, Spain. By using the contingent valuation method, the average price increase that tourists visiting the city would be willing to pay for a double room in a hotel, a restaurant, entrance to a museum, or a taxi ride, all of which would become more sustainable services, has been estimated. In addition to the aggregate analysis, diverse average-comparison statistical techniques have been used in order to determine the possible influence of sociodemographic factors on the WTP for more sustainable products and services. Specifically, factors including the effect resulting from a tourist’s place of origin, gender, the year when the survey was conducted (through t-tests), and the effect of age and educational levels (through ANOVA tests) on the WTP for sustainability, have been analyzed. When considering all of the sociodemographic factors involved, notable statistical differences have been found. This implies that when a hypothetical increase in tourism prices for the purpose of financing public or private sustainability actions is considered, different segments of the tourism market should be taken into account, since it would not be appropriate to apply the same policy of price increases to all tourists equally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
The Research on Sustainable Tourism in the Light of Its Paradigms
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5821; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205821 - 20 Oct 2019
Abstract
This study investigates the nature and specificity of the concept of sustainable tourism against the background of the paradigm of sustainable development (with regard to the conditions for the implementation of its practices in Polish conditions). The study assumes the hypothesis that researching [...] Read more.
This study investigates the nature and specificity of the concept of sustainable tourism against the background of the paradigm of sustainable development (with regard to the conditions for the implementation of its practices in Polish conditions). The study assumes the hypothesis that researching sustainable tourism as a category within a new scientific concept—i.e., an emerging paradigm of sustainable development—requires the use of an appropriate scientific methodology. This study, in its essential part, has an overview and theoretical character. A critical analysis of the literature on the subject from books and journals, as well as Internet sources, is used in the study. Documentary and observation methods are applied, and the results of qualitative research based on case study research methodology are presented; thus, the empirical part of the paper has an exploratory nature. Research on sustainable tourism as a category within an emerging paradigm of sustainable development shows that researchers use an appropriate scientific methodology, which is compatible with the interpretive paradigm in the highest degree. In case studies, the research is often limited to the analysis of one example. Due to the prevalence of studies applying qualitative methods, an interpretivist approach is prevalent, while a functionalist approach, associated with quantitative research and model testing, is less frequent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Ambidexterity, Alliances and Environmental Management System Adoption in Spanish Hotels
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5815; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205815 - 20 Oct 2019
Abstract
Competitiveness in the hotel sector and its effect on the environment involves integrating environmental issues in hotel management. Current environmental challenges often require firms to cope with contradictory processes. Ambidexterity is a firm’s capability to deal with conflicting demands and could be helpful [...] Read more.
Competitiveness in the hotel sector and its effect on the environment involves integrating environmental issues in hotel management. Current environmental challenges often require firms to cope with contradictory processes. Ambidexterity is a firm’s capability to deal with conflicting demands and could be helpful in increasing a firm’s environmental management system (EMS) adoption. Furthermore, given the complexity of technological advances, environmental requirements demand inter-firm collaboration. The aim of this study is to further an understanding of how hotels can increase EMS adoption by providing a framework of the contributing effect of alliances and ambidexterity. Results from tests using logistic regression and bootstrapping techniques on a sample of 306 Spanish hotels confirm the importance of ambidexterity because of its positive and direct effect on EMS adoption, and because of the mediating effect, which helps transform the benefits of firms’ participation in strategic alliances into their adoption of EMS. This study contributes to the literature on ambidexterity by highlighting the importance for firms to develop this capability. It also contributes to a better understanding of the drivers of EMS adoption, introducing the integrated effect of hotel participation in alliances and ambidexterity. Hotel managers should endeavor to develop ambidexterity capability to facilitate EMS adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
The Circular Economy Strategy in Hospitality: A Multicase Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205665 - 14 Oct 2019
Abstract
The circular economy (CE) is considered a possible solution to problems, such as the increasing global demand for resources, climate change and worldwide pollution. CE can help to transform the hospitality industry from its current linear model of production to a circular one. [...] Read more.
The circular economy (CE) is considered a possible solution to problems, such as the increasing global demand for resources, climate change and worldwide pollution. CE can help to transform the hospitality industry from its current linear model of production to a circular one. However, there is a lack of research on circular tourism, therefore, this paper’s main purpose is to shed light on CE strategies—reduction, reuse, recycle, redesign, replace and rethink—developed in the tourism sector, as well as the tourism sector’s CE initiatives by means of a business case analysis method. This qualitative multicase analysis allows us to comprehend the CE practices deployed by large hotel chains, thus identifying the CE strategies and best practices. The results show that the main strategies adopted are the reduction, recycle and reuse, in this order. Nevertheless, the remaining strategies have yet to be adopted in the mainstream. This research emphasises the need to promote the CE in the hospitality industry, especially among independent hotels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Green Practices in Hospitality: A Contingency Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3737; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133737 - 09 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study focuses on discovering sustainable practices and possible innovative practices according to factors of Contingency Theory. In order to achieve this, a qualitative approach has been conducted. The study analyses 24 independent hotels. Semi-structured interviews were used in this study and conducted [...] Read more.
This study focuses on discovering sustainable practices and possible innovative practices according to factors of Contingency Theory. In order to achieve this, a qualitative approach has been conducted. The study analyses 24 independent hotels. Semi-structured interviews were used in this study and conducted in person with the top managers at each hotel. The results show that, in accordance with Contingency Theory, the organizational behaviour is determined by the environment in which the hotel operates, the size of the establishment, where large- and medium-sized hotels are more committed to sustainable development, the environmental technology adopted and implemented by the hotel, and the main type of clientele, with hotels aimed at business travellers who show greater attention to the environment than those aimed at leisure travellers, mainly associated with socio-cultural values. The factors that were not completely decisive in the results analysed were the age of the hotel and the sex of the hotel owner. Considering the achieved results, this study may also contribute to identifying the most sustainable hotels and can help hotel businesses understand and reap the benefits of following a sustainable path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Preliminary Research on Planning of Decentralizing Ancient Towns in Small-Scale Famous Historic and Cultural Cities with a Case Study of Tingchow County, Fujian Province
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2911; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102911 - 22 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The urban planning industry has always been concerned about conserving and developing historic cities in a sustainable and balanced way. However, unreasonable planning and accumulative effects brought by rapid urbanization prevent the conservation of small-scale famous historic and cultural cities. Taking Tingchow county [...] Read more.
The urban planning industry has always been concerned about conserving and developing historic cities in a sustainable and balanced way. However, unreasonable planning and accumulative effects brought by rapid urbanization prevent the conservation of small-scale famous historic and cultural cities. Taking Tingchow county as an example, this paper focused on sustainable development and the Historic Urban Landscape Approach, and determined the urban functions and specific tasks of various planning of its ancient town with the help of public opinions. This paper mainly aimed at providing guidance on urban decentralization from two perspectives. Firstly, it compared the types of land use and its ratio among famous cities of similar scales, and results showed that it is advisable to reduce three-class residential land use and unnecessary administrative functions. Secondly, it estimated the moderate resident population in different degrees of development, and calculated the upper limit of resource space bearing capacity (REBC) of scenic spots under the guidance of sustainable tourism. Results showed that it is recommended to decentralize and resettle 20%~30% of the resident population, and to control the tourist population below 12,000 per day. As the preliminary work of planning, this paper focused on the scientific planning and availability of decentralization, and reflected an expectation for the mode of public participation and quantitative planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitiveness, Sustainability and Tourism)
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