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Environmental Issues and Sustainability in the Tourism Industry

Environmental issues and sustainability are now a ‘mainstream’ to the tourism industry.  Chapter 3 in the 4th and 3rd edition (and Chapter 4 in the 2nd edition) of the Stipanuk text provides a good discussion of the current issues and practices related to sustainable management in the tourism industry and with specific reference to the hotel sector.  You will notice that much of what is being proposed is based on Agenda 21.  This voluntary code provides a substantial amount of guidance to operators in the tourism industry – and to you - about environmentally sustainable management practices relating to property management.

In addition, you will find that there is an enormous amount of material about environmentally sustainable management in the tourism industry and the hotel sector specifically on the web.  This information can be found in websites for:

  • Hotel companies
  • Transportation companies
  • Destination management companies (tours, attractions, etc)
  • Specific companies operating in the tourism industry
  • Hotel and tourism associations
  • Regional tourism bodies such as the Pacific Asia Tourism Association
  • International tourism bodies such as the World Travel and Tourism Council
  • Public organizations such as the World Tourism Organization
  • Organizations specifically focusing on sustainability such as the Green Hotel Association
  • Conservancy groups such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Governments at all levels from local to national
  • Companies which are active in the development of new technologies aimed at improving sustainable management practices
  • Universities and colleges which are active in researching environmentally sustainable practices
  • Research organizations such as the Travel and Tourism Research Association

You will find that the information available relates to a range of issues, from educating operators about the need for environmentally sound management through to public policy debates about the impact of tourism on our world.

The Assignment

This is an individual assignment and is designed to allow you to examine the issue of environmentally sound and sustainable management from a perspective you find interesting.  Keep in mind that this is a major secondary research paper worth 30% of the final grade in an upper level elective course in a business degree program so approach it with the rigor such an assignment requires.

My recommendation is:

  • Undertake preliminary research to determine the range of topics in this area
  • Select an issue related to environmentally sound and sustainable management in the tourism industry…either directly related to hotels or more widely, to the tourism industry
  • Make sure there is sufficient information readily available on your chosen topic to support your research and to provide enough substance to allow you write your report consistent with its status as an assessment element in a senior elective course

You are then required to:

  • Research the topic using information from relevant sources
  • Prepare a report of approximately 4,000 words (this is a suggested word length only – there is no penalty for going over or under the limit)
  • Submit your report by 23:59 on the date listed in the Schedule of Assignments
  • Make sure you cite and reference material that you quote or use (if in doubt, use APA)
  • Ensure that your report is appropriately professional in appearance and language
  • Feel free to use graphics or tables and appendices in your report but don’t count them as part of the suggested 4,000-word length
  • Submit the report electronically as a Word document in the Assignment 1 Turn It In drop-box on this site. Do not submit PDFs or other formats.  If you have difficulty submitting your assignment to the drop box, make sure you email it to me no later than the assignment deadline.  If you do not, you will receive a grade of ‘0’ on the assignment.

This assignment is worth 30 final marks in the course.  Your report will be graded both on content (75%) and formatting (25%).  I will be looking for:

  1. evidence of substantive secondary research into the area of sustainability as it applies to property management;
  2. the selection of an interesting topic including but not limited to new technologies, company policies and practices, educational programs and other topics with a sustainable focus (not simply a regurgitation of some topic in the text, eg, don’t simply describe what Agenda 21 is); and
  3. a discussion which elaborates on the topic (eg, a comparison of policies or practices within industry niches such as comparative hotel company policies relating to sustainability) and doesn’t simply describe your topic.

The phrase “appropriately professional in appearance and language” does not refer to any particular model of business report style.  Rather, it should be interpreted as a general guideline which allows you to use any style you consider to be appropriate for a business report.  For me, the test is whether the report is free of technical errors (spelling, grammar, etc), professional in appearance and uses appropriate writing styles, eg, no colloquialisms, etc.

Note that submissions will be scanned for plagiarism using Turn-It-In software.  Any evidence of plagiarism or other academic violations will result in a minimum of ‘0’ being awarded for this assignment and reference to the School’s Associate Dean for further possible sanctions.

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