Long-Term Sustainable Development of Tourism in South Tyrol: An Analysis of Tourists’ Perception
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Although sustainable tourism concepts are gaining in importance everywhere, related research is quite fragmented with many studies concentrating on environmental sustainability. Seeking to contribute to the general discussion, we first examine the perceptions of sustainability among tourists using a best–worst scaling method applied to important aspects of sustainable tourism. Our results show that experiencing nature in an intense and profound way is considered the most important aspect of sustainable tourism whereas grappling with the culture of the host region is perceived as the least important aspect of sustainable tourism in our sample. Second, we analyze if socio-demographic and/or other factors have significant implications for the propensity to increase expenditures for sustainable holiday offers. Applying a simple regression model, we can show that age has a significant and positive impact on the propensity to spend more on a sustainable holiday offer such as overnight stays in an accommodation that is carbon-neutral. Other socio-demographic variables such as gender, education, and income are not significant. Moreover, hotel stars and average expenditures per person per night are significant and have a positive effect on the propensity to spend more on carbon-neutral housing. Two simple policy implications can be drawn: (1) sustainable tourism experiences should prioritize landscape and natural beauty; and (2) sustainable tourism offers are best suited for higher-priced and/or higher starred hotels.
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