Energy practices among small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises: a case of misdirected effort?
Journal of Cleaner Production
Discussion of sustainable tourism has become dominated by the issue of climate change. As a major source of emissions, the tourism sector has a vital role to play in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Within the current body of knowledge and among major policy discourses, the prevailing paradigm has been to encourage action: reduced emissions will follow innovations in managerial practices and the uptake of the latest, most resource-efficient technologies. This paper examines energy practices among small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs), reporting empirical research conducted as part of a five-year programme. Although energy was a significant cost of production, it did not feature prominently in the business administration of most SMTEs. A major knowledge gap was exposed regarding how energy was consumed and administered by individual businesses. The paper argues for a major shift in thinking away from the number of actions as the key success criterion. Action alone is no guarantee of emissions reductions in a sector where growth is the dominant imperative. Instead, a crucial reorientation towards stimulating higher levels of energy literacy among SMTEs is necessary in parallel to rebalancing of attention towards energy generation.
notes: Published online 18/09/2014
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Cleaner Production. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Cleaner Production. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.09.028
Volume 111, Part B, 16 January 2016, pp. 399–408