TOURISM - An International Interdisciplinary Journal

Volume 57 / 2009 / Number 3 ISSN 1332-7461 


A critical review of voluntary environmental initiatives in tourism: Policy implications for rejuvenation


Environmental policy is one of the key management dimensions of rejuvenation strategies in mature tourism destinations. Among these, voluntary environmental initiatives are increasingly becoming a relevant theoretical possibility and are an empirical reality. Voluntary environmental initiatives are primarily undertaken in developed countries, mostly in Europe, that is on itself a mature tourism destination. This paper critically reviews the literature on voluntary environmental initiatives in tourism and extract policy implications for rejuvenation strategies. The main argument is that environmental management at tourism destinations can become a social dilemma for stakeholders at the destination, though these dilemmas are not inevitable. This paper shows that there are economic and non-economic incentives for different stakeholders to undertake voluntary environmental initiatives, and that many successful examples exist where voluntary action has fostered rejuvenation of degraded destinations. Voluntary initiatives should not be taken as a new panacea solution for tourism rejuvenation, but rather one strategy that can contribute in conjunction with others, to a better management of natural resources at destinations, improving environmental quality to guarantee the long-run competitiveness of tourism destinations.