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The impact of cultural values and economic constraints on tourism businesses’ ethical practices

Skinner, Heather (2019) The impact of cultural values and economic constraints on tourism businesses’ ethical practices. International Journal of Tourism Cities, 5 (2). pp. 169-187. ISSN 2056-5607

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Abstract

Anecdotal evidence suggests that in times of economic constraints particularly in countries such as Greece that have long been stereotyped as corrupt, business practices amongst small and medium sized organisations that make up the majority of these nations’ tourism operators may become less than ethical or legal. The aim of this paper is to explore these issues empirically in order to understand the impact of both cultural values and economic constraints on tourism businesses’ practices. An exploratory case study using mixed methods has been adopted. Quantitative data were gathered from tourism business owners, managers and employees via questionnaires to establish the nature and scope of various unethical, illegal or immoral practices. Qualitative data were gathered to explore the ways these issues are considered and enacted. Results show that there are many unethical and illegal practices that have been witnessed first-hand. Businesses’ attempts at acting in an ethical and socially responsible manner tend to be affected by not only cultural issues, but also economic constraints, yet there remains a desire to act in a way that does not impact negatively on tourists or on the local society and environment. This research fills a gap in the literature relating to the ethical stance and practices of tourism entrepreneurs. It also presents an original conceptualisation of these issues in light of their location within the extant literature on ethics, corporate social responsibility and both sustainable and responsible tourism.

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