Are tourism impacts low on personal environmental agendas?

Robert Douglas McKercher, Bruce Prideaux

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines if tourism is an environmental priority for tourism and hospitality students. It is framed within the context of information and choice overload that may result in the need to prioritize issues and make less effective decisions. A series of openended questions identified the most important community and global environmental issues, the single greatest cause of climate change and whether students had changed their behaviour in general, or their travel behaviour in particular, to reduce their environmental impact. A total of 2968 useable surveys were returned from students at 63 institutions in 22 economies. Tourism emerged as a low priority issue, which explains why only a small proportion of students had changed their travel behaviour. Moreover, the study noted high knowledge variability, which in turn was closely associated with the type of actions undertaken. Students with specific knowledge were far more likely to adopt specific change actions than those who had less precise knowledge. They, in turn, were more likely to identify generic and less effective actions. The study concludes that the main challenge involved in changing tourism behaviour rests primarily with raising its status to a higher priority, a difficult task given the environmental issue overload that most people face.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-345
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Choice overload
  • Climate change
  • Global warming
  • Information overload
  • Priority
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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