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The last half-century ago, many countries are undeveloped and developing. They need to focus on the economic indicators such as GDP but without concern about environmental issues. Over the past three decades, people are being to concern about the environmental issues because of unbalance development between economic and environmental. Recently, sustainable development was first used in the 1980’s to express concern around the world. In this report is to identify the existing strategies and practices within hotels through literature and corporate communications materials.
The report will use the in-depth interview and analyze data and discuss the findings with the method. Finally, the report will make a conclusion and recommendation for the selected topic.
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2. Literature Review
a) Definition of Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is a wider development which includes social and natural capacities. Based on the Brundtland Commission in Kirk (1997), sustainable development “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
There are two key concepts to achieve it as well as adaptations to the tourism industry in the form of sustainable tourism. i) the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and ii) the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs.
b) “Sustainable marketing”
Middleton and Hawkins’s concept of sustainable marketing was environmental and financial goals must balance because it depends on each other.
There are three “E”s to support the sustainable marketing strategy. i) Economy – it is making revenue or income; ii) Ecology – it is making environmental quality; iii) Equity – it is giving a better distribution of the benefits of tourism. Middleton and Hawkins said that a hotel’s marketing and design will decide the types of tourists, who will stay there, and what kinds of need they will have and what kind of effects they will have on the local environment.
Middleton and Hawkins also mention 10 “R”s for organizations to achieve the sustainable marketing strategy. They are: Recognize environmental problems, Refuse any damaging activities, Reduce waste and resources, Replace environmentally questionable activities, Re-use – consider of re-using potential waste, Recycle, Re-engineer organizational structures, Retrain employees in environmental issues, Reward successful attainment of environmental objectives, Reeducate employees and customers, to benefit the environment.
Agenda 21 also suggested the actions can be done by public. There are: assessment of the capacity of the destination's systems to become sustainable; training, education, and public awareness; facilitating exchange of sustainable tourism information between developed and developing countries; providing for the participation of all sectors of society; design of new tourism products; measuring progress.
c) Environmental management system (ISO 14001)
ISO 14001 is for environmental management. Its standards or guidelines to help organizations by standardizing some key environmental analysis tools. It also guides the organization to have a complete environmental management system, and meet customers, industry, and legislation limits.
Under the ISO14001, companies need to do are as follows: i) minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities; ii) to conform to applicable regulatory requirements; iii) to achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.
It is using qualitative method to make a research. There are different types of qualitative research methods including in-depth interviews, focus groups, case studies, ethnography and phenomenology. Our group is choosing in-depth interview for this report. In-depth Interview
An in-depth interview is an open-ended, discovery-oriented method that is well suited for describing both program processes and outcomes from the perspective of the target audience or key stakeholder. The goal of the interview is to explore the respondent’s point of view, feelings and perspectives deeply.
Advantages of in-depth interview
1) Learning about the respondents’ views
It is not similar with focus group which focuses on the group mainly. It makes the effective qualitative method by receiving respondents’ perspective, feelings and recommendations. It gives an opportunity of how people explain things too.
2) Precise and detailed information
There is less time delay between the interviewee and interviewer that can answer the question immediately and the process is spontaneous. The interview can be recorded by in tape with the permission of the respondents. So, the information will more precise and detailed with using this method and running smooth when having the interview.
3) Dispassionate judgment
Some people will affected by others’ view point when they answer questions. However, in-depth interview will not happen during the interview.
Disadvantages of in-depth interview
1) Slow process
An in-depth interview is a slow process because the respondents will spend much more time to explain some jargons or analyze his/her opinions. Interviewer plays an important role in in-depth interview.
2) Respondents’ view may distract the main content
Respondents will not concentrate on the main content of the interview or may not serve the purpose of the taking an interview. So interviewer need to remind the interviewees concentrate back to the main content of the topic. In order to prevent being directed to wrong direction, group also needs to sieve unwanted information from the interview.
3) Side tracking from the answer
Interviewer should use both tape recording and notes taking which decrease the possibilities of side tracking the discussion during the interview. Otherwise, the report may be directed to the wrong direction too.
b) Sampling and Data Collecting Method
To enrich our data and information, we invited interviewees who are hotels’ managers in Hong Kong. They are: i) Leanne Chan – Communications Manager at Island Shangri-La Hong Kong, ii) Karen Wong – Communications Manager at L’hotel Island South, iii) Eric Chan – Marketing Manager at Hotel Nikko Hong Kong
We sent almost 10 letters to target hotel which obtain ISO 14001 certification. After few days, we received some reply from hotels. Then we sent back an invitation letters to explain the reason in conducting this research. Finally, three successful invitations we invited with a 20 minutes in-depth interview.
The below questions are prepared by the group. The questionnaire is less structure. The in-depth interview aims to be semi-structured that can explore more during the interview.
1) Why this industry is a focus of growing environmental concern? 2) What is the role of the hotel sector in tourism development, and/or sustainable development in a region or nation? 3) Is the customer purchase behavior to stimulate tourism industry to concern about environmental protection? 4) What is the response of the hospitality and tourism industry to achieve the sustainable development?
Those questions are open-ended questions in order to get a range of answers from the interviewees. Interviewees will not affect by others’ point of views during the in-depth interview, thus, open-ended questions is suitable for it. Interviewer will collect a range of data for analysis and discussion.
4. Qualitative Data Analysis and Discussion
Government concern about environmental protection
The tourism industry was originally focused on the industries such as heavy industry, whereas all people are concern about environmental effects. The tourism industry is the one of the focus industry, directly creating 218,000 jobs in Hong Kong and accounting for 9.5% of the Hong Kong's GPD. Tourism is increasingly considered a power for economic development. This is importance to concern about environmental protection because Hong Kong government has to regulate and enforce legislation for environmental protection as tourism develops. Air transport, as part of the industry, contributes significantly to tertiary environmental problems caused by various factors. Air transport generates the most carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer of all travel methods, and is held responsible for 3.5% of global warming, likely to rise to 15% by 2050 (Friends of the Earth, 2000).
Hotel plays key role in sustainable development
The tourism industry development is rapid increasing, especially hotel industry play a key role in the development with a shape in GDP. However, tourism industry brings some conflicts to Hong Kong such as noise, space, welfare, inflation and so forth.
The impact of the hotel sector depends to a great degree on the types of tourists that are targeted. At one extreme the “explorers”, “wilderness lover/anthropologist”, and “experiential” tourists make few demands on natural resources, expect less amenities and cultural facilities, also do not require arrive to the destination easily. At the other extreme, psychocentric tourists demand resources of the type, quality, and quantity they enjoy at home. Depending on which segments targeted by hotels, therefore, environmental, economic, and socio-cultural impacts can be evaluated. Hotels have a considerable potential role in the development of the local economy.
This potential remains, however, mainly unrealized with the exception of some exceptionally modern companies and those of the eco-tourism or sustainable tourism bent. Three environmentally-friendly hotels and related businesses that claim to use elements of sustainable development or environmental friendliness will now be examined such as establish an environmental policy, design an environmental planning, training staffs to enhance the awareness of environmental protection, operation control and so on. “Green tourists” stimulate hotels to “change”
“Green tourists” means people are concern about environmental issues including wildlife, transport, conservation, use of resources, pollution, construction and planning, sports activities, and practices of tourism firm themselves.
Recently, customers’ purchase behavior tend to purchase environmentally friendly products. But there are some limitation to produce environmentally friendly products by hotels which are cost, persuasion, and competitiveness. However, hotels need to “change” their strategy for their products, otherwise, customer will not purchase those products without concern about environmental. There are some sources of effect on undecided consumer: i) pressure group such as Friends of the Earth, ii) personal organic experiences from friends, family and travelers, iii) media such as newspaper, internet, iv) the tourism itself, and iv) government in destination country.
The response of the hospitality and tourism industry for sustainable products There are two basic methods to achieve green marketing. The first is "business as usual, colored green" where lip service and green marketing are added so the environment becomes another marketing tool. The second is a "fundamental change in attitude regarding the role of firms in relation to the environment". A "fundamental" method may be termed sustainable business, incorporating concepts like "eco-efficiency". It also obtains benefit from three aspects of sustainable development which are economy, environment, and social factors.
Another response is ecotourism. There are lots of definitions of the ecotourism. The Ecotourism Society, for instance, defines ecotourism as: "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people" (Ecotourism Society, 2000). The same concepts within the ecotourism are including carrying capacity, conservation, education and/or interpretation, environmental impact assessments, limits of acceptable change, and visitor impact management.
5. Conclusion and Recommendations
The main conclusion is mention that the agreement on the sustainable development within tourism industry and much more significantly in the future. Hotels play a key role on the sustainable development; “green tourists” lead to “change” hotel attitude on environmental friendly; and hotel industry response positively with the sustainable development. The in-depth interview method is small number of interviewees; some interviewees may not provide information deeply because of privacy or confidential information.
Prepare the interview
The team is less prepare for the interview. The team should make appointments with interviewees and without giving too much detail on the topic. And then read again the interview grid and memories it. The team also needs to prepare the recorder, wear the casual dress.
To work the study immediately after finishes the interview
First impressions after the interview are to be written right after interview as well as the same day. Also the transcription should be done as soon as possible after the interview. Other recommendation
• Interviews are too short and do not able to get enough information expected; a good interview must hold at least one hour or even more, and result in a hand writing around thousand lines, which was far from the case for the majority of partners; • Lack of using follow up questions allowing a real conversation and a search in depth for useful explanations; • Not enough questions allowing understanding clearly what the interviewees told to the interviewer; • Probably not enough learning about the question before the interviews; • Some of the above difficulties may be due to the lack of former experience by the persons who involved the interview, as well as to the limited time allowed per interview in the study.
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Ecotourism Society (2000). Frequently asked questions. [On-line]. Available: http://www.ecotourism.org/faq.html. Accessed 15/08/00.
Friends of the Earth (2000). Plane crazy: Airport growth in the UK. [On-line]. Available: http://www.foe.co.uk/camps/attran/pubs/plane_intro.htm. Accessed 20/01/00.
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