TOURISME’s research and survey on the adoption of Circular Economy and environmental certifications among tourism SMEs shine a light on a slow transition

The recent research and survey led by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and the accompanying results, now available in form of a scientific paper, contribute to the debate on the adoption of green or CE practices in the tourism industry.

Being one of the most important industries in the world especially in certain parts of it for what they provide to many national economies, tourism activities also severely impact the environment. As the stakeholders and creators of what tourism would look like in a certain city, region or country in general tourism SMEs should lead the way in transforming certain activities and practices from a linear economy to a circular one.

However, the tourism industry has not yet shown a clear and decisive transition towards it. As there is no or very little academic discussion on why the tourism industry has not yet done so, the TOURISME project partners, led by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies analysed a sample of 256 tourism SMEs (hotels and accommodations, travel agencies, tour operators, and reservation service activities) based in Cyprus, France, Italy, and Spain.

The survey reveals a ruthless situation regarding the adoption of environmental certifications. Not only that the adoption of circular economy solutions is lagging behind some other sectors and industries but there is also a rather low demand for their adoption in general. The research highlights the lack of financial resources, the lack of information about potential partners and the lack of qualified staff as main hindering factors. On the positive note, though, many tourism SMEs see the adoption of circular economy principles as a gateway to new opportunities and various positive outcomes.

This particular paper contributes to the debate on the adoption of green practices in the tourism industry. The survey conducted among hotels, accommodations, travel agencies, and tour operators, allowed the researchers to approach the issue from both managerial and technical perspectives. Although based on  a limited sample, certain recommendations could be identified. As the results are a qualitative study rather than a quantitative one, they can still provide the basis for a deeper and wider analysis of the whole sector.

The paper can be accessed and downloaded here.